8 tips for making the most out of Black Friday sales

What’s up friends?

It is that time of the year again! Are you excited to go loose on the Black Friday sales?

Finally you get to buy that new TV, smartphone, handbag, pile of books for this winter,…or maybe you are tired of seeing and hearing Black Friday advertisements everywhere. Anyway 2 more days and we are there!

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For us Europeans this is quite an “interesting” trend, I personally never heard of Black Fridays before let’s say 2013 or 2012. Not surprising as it is the day following Thanksgiving, an american tradition, which occurs on the 4th Thursday of November and is not celebrated over here. The term “Black Friday” first appeared from a financial crisis actually : The crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, two Wall Street financiers, bought up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping for a “pump and dump” action : Drive the price sky-high and sell it for incredible profits.  The stock market crashed and everyone went bankrupt.

Thanksgiving, an official holiday, was officially settled in 1941 as the 4th Thursday of November. The story goes that from around 1950 people started to call in sick on the Friday in order to enjoy a long week end and simply did their holiday shopping as the shops were open anyway. The name “Black Friday” became popular again in 1966 through an ad in The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine. The term was used by the police of Philadelphia to describe the massive traffic jams and the crowds in the city.

Black Friday in the US marks the start of the busiest season for retailers. In 2015 they made 30% of annual sales in the months of November and December! Although the adjective black is tainted with a negative connotation, in accounting terms for the retailers that means positive numbers (as opposed to numbers in red).

– “Yeah thanks for the story Brainy Smurf we are interested in the tips” – Impatient shopaholics.

Okay I hear you, here we go : here are my 8 tips to make the best out of this Black Friday and sales periods in general.

  1. Plan

Sales, and in particular this Black Friday, are the perfect time to plan presents for the Christmas season but as well for other occasions : Saint-Nicolas/Sinterklaas in Belgium and The Netherlands, upcoming birthdays,…

Make your list of what and where you are going to shop.

My buddy Rémy was actually good at buying presents in advance when there were sales. The only issue is that he had all gifts packed and sometimes struggled to remember which package was planned for who, so lessons learned put stickers on the gifts!

2. Compare prices

We still need to do our job folks!

  • Do not be lured wrongly by large percentage discounts. Some shops still practice price inflation before advertising so -40% is maybe actually -15%. If you know what you are after you should you have an idea of the pre-sale price.
  • Use our friend Google to find price comparators and find the best deal.

3. Do not overspend

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This one can be hard (even for me) :

  • You go to a clothing store to buy a tie for your dad and your eyes wander towards that nice shirt in display subconsciously telling you : try me, try me… The “perceived ownership” of an item increases by already simply touching it,… just saying. In the same vein, do not just walk into a store if you did not plan to buy anything from that store in the first place.
  • You have read this blog and are keen to read The Millionaire Next Door and find it on Amazon. Great you click “add to basket” and here come the suggestions, what about Rich Dad Poor Dad, I will teach you to be Rich, The Intelligent Investor,…(as I am writing this I just added The Intelligent investor to my own wishlist,…)

Have a spending plan and try to stick to it, just like when you have a groceries shopping list. That way you will be less prone to overspend on stuff you do not need. The point here is not to slap yourself in the face if you spend 560 EUR instead of the planned 500 EUR, it is to avoid a situation where you spend 840 EUR without a plan.

4. Be a loyal customer

If you are a frequent shopper at a particular store be sure to join their loyalty programme in-store, online or through their apps. You will be up to date about their sales and deals all year long. A little word of warning : This can as well be a double-edged sword for your finances so be mindful and unsubscribe if you feel tempted too often. Nevertheless being a loyal customer can make your deal even better through reward points or a larger discount.

As an example I bought this set of steak knives at the Galleries Lafayette last year, it was priced at 420 EUR. They had -30% weekend sales and since I was a registered customer I got an additional 15% off. So in total 40,5% discount or a whopping 170 eur!  Not too shabby.

4. Compare apples to apples

Should you buy let’s say a Dyson vacuum cleaner from an online retailer and you live in Norway, make sure you take into account the delivery and import taxes when you compare prices.

5. Scams

Be careful with lesser known webshops, these might just be scams. These might come with the best deals at first but you know what they say : If it is too good to be true,…

Here is an example from a clothing store in Norway : Ferner Jacobsen.

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With a quick Google search you will easily find that the fernerjacobsenoutlet store on the left is a fake. Check for customer reviews, contact details and look for spelling mistakes.

6. Cashback, Miles and other credit card benefits.

Use your credit and debit cards wisely to benefit from cashback programmes (if you live in Norway  register on Trumf.no and Kickback.no for example) or stock up on airlines miles.

7. Haggle

  • If the competition in the same neighborhood offers the same product at a lower price, do yourself a favor and mention it to the salesperson. If you can show it to him on your phone he will most likely match his price to that of the competition. I have done it before at La Fnac and it worked like a charm. (To be honest I was just lazy to go back to previous store)
  • Another tip is to ask for a “volume discount” if you purchase several items in the same place. This could be a suit with several shirts and ties, you just moved in your first apartment and you are buying many household appliances in one go,…Your chances of an additional discount or extra free item are less likely but if you do not ask you do not know.

8. Don’t shop at all

If you have no specific needs, then it is simple : Do not go shopping at all and carry on with whatever you were busy with.

“A 40% discount on a pair of shoes you do not need is not a saving, it is a 100% waste”

For my part I am just looking at a good deal on those 4 books : The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck, Tribe of Mentors/Tools of Titans (whichever is best) by Tim Ferriss and the Automatic Millionaire and I just added The Intelligent Investor. Has anyone read those?

I have also been eyeing at a second Sonos PLAY:5 speaker for a while, so if anyone has good tips on how to find a good bargain on that one let me know!

Bringing it all together

I hope this quick guide will be helpful to you and that it will help you to make great deals this Friday. I am sure many of you have other out of the box tips, so let me know in the comments below.

 

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