The shopping frenzy known as Black Friday is now only a couple of weeks away, and many people are already thinking about the things they want to buy.
This major discount day – which falls on November 23 this year – sees consumers spending huge sums both in-store and online.
The problem is, with so many deals available around this time, it can be hard to know which ones are genuinely good ones.
Here are our tips to help you prepare, to ensure your busy day of purchasing is a roaring success.
Saga's Black Friday deals guide
Do your research now
On Black Friday, it can be tempting to buy items because of the hefty savings that are being advertised.
But sometimes these savings can be exaggerated, with certain retailers offering hefty discounts on poor-quality goods or old models in a bid to shift stock.
The best approach is to do your research and check the reviews beforehand while you have the time to take things in. That way, when the discounts come up on Black Friday, you can just add to your basket.
This is particularly important when purchasing items such as TVs and washing machines, as you want to be sure the deals you are chasing are worthwhile.
Try a site such as HotUKDeals where members comment on whether a deal is value for money based on price, quality of the product and retailer.
Be ready in advance
While Black Friday doesn’t take place until the end of November – coinciding with the last payday before Christmas – it’s worth being ready before the day arrives, as some deals can start any time during the week (or weeks) before the event.
Keep an eye out for details of when and where discounts will be by signing up to retailer websites and social media pages.
Question the discount
Be aware that retailers sometimes increase the cost of an item before a sales event to make the sale look better. Check out RRPs (recommended retail prices) to ensure you know exactly what deal you are getting.
12 ways to get a discount when shopping online
Resist the urge to make purchases purely on the basis that an item is heavily discounted.
If you do, you will fall into the trap of buying goods you don’t really need.
Before you start shopping, set aside a few minutes to write a list of all the things you really want. This will avoid you making a host of impulse buys that you will later come to regret.
Don’t assume Amazon is the cheapest
When shopping from the comfort of your sofa, don’t assume that Amazon is going to be the cheapest just because it’s Black Friday – you need to shop around.
Take a moment to check out Pricerunner, as this site compares Amazon with other online retailers, plus you get access to lots of reviews.
Camelcamelcamel is another useful site where you can track prices on individual products as they fluctuate on Amazon.
6 worrying things about online shopping
Keep an eye out for hidden costs
While you may think you’ve bagged yourself a bargain on Black Friday, you need to be on your guard, as you could end up getting stung by “hidden” costs, such as shipping, which could reduce the discount.
You need to be ready to be super-quick when making purchases on the day, as some deals will sell out in seconds.
Make extra savings
See if you can get additional discounts on your Black Friday purchases by searching for codes for “free shipping” or an “extra 10 per cent off” on deal-sharing communities and forums.
Try sites such as Vouchercloud, VoucherCodes, and MyVoucherCodes.
Don't miss out on these below-the-radar bargains
Be a VIP
Some retailers release Black Friday deals to their VIP members first, so sign up to receive emails from your favourite stores and brands so that you will be put on the “VIP list.”
Check delivery times
If you’re planning on buying Christmas gifts on Black Friday, make sure you check estimated delivery times to be sure that presents will arrive in time.
Last posting dates for Christmas 2018
Ensure your payment is secure
If you’re shopping online, only use recognised sites with payment systems such as PayPal. Alternatively, opt to pay by credit card, as this gives you an extra bit of protection.
How credit cards can protect your consumer rights
And finally, make sure you know your consumer rights so you can return goods that turn out not to be right.
Your consumer rights explained