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Black Friday: how to budget for Christmas

black friday image

Have you been starting to think about Christmas shopping and Black Friday? We’re about to enter the busiest shopping period of the year, where the high street will be crammed and online shops will be raided as we get closer to the big day.

To give you a head start, we’ve put together an essential shopping guide for 2019. It includes the important shopping dates you need to know, along with shopping tactics and tips on avoiding the crowds. With a bit of wisdom, you might actually reach the pinnacle of being a Christmas consumer: the stress-free shopping experience.

When are the important UK shopping dates of late 2019?

Whilst the most important sales dates in the UK are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are also a few other important dates to consider when planning in your shopping.

They include the full winter sales period which runs from November to December, though will differ depending on the brand. You should also be aware of the dates to stick to when ordering online, such as the date for free delivery, which can differ between brands and the date for paid delivery, which can be as late as the 23rd December if next-day delivery is still available.

Super Saturday is guaranteed to be a busy day on the high street as last-minute shoppers use the final weekend before Christmas to finish buying presents, whilst the boxing day sales are also busy for those wanting to grab a bargain after the Christmas rush.

Shopping tactics

Along with knowing the important dates, you can also prepare for this busy shopping period by adopting certain tactics to get ahead of the consumer crowd. These hints and tips will not only allow you to get the items you want on your list, but also avoid busy periods and hopefully get your items cheaper as well:

  • Do your research – find out what is available this Christmas and when certain items will be available. For example, some video games will have a release date closer to Christmas so it might be worth pre-ordering
  • Make a list early – always make your Christmas list as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Divide it into big presents and small presents, with the big presents making up the most expensive and sought-after gifts. You should make this before the winter sale season starts (Nov-Dec)
  • Budget your shop – put money aside in a flexible savings account or a separate account. This will help you avoid going overboard and eating into money that you might need for bills or monthly expenses
  • Avoid peak shopping times – the shops will become busier as we get closer to Christmas, especially during the weekend. If possible, try and head to the shops on a weekday, preferably not on Christmas Eve!
  • Factor in delivery time – ordering online? Whilst companies like Amazon and Argos might have excellent delivery options, you can’t always say the same for everyone else. Check up on delivery options as early as you can and be wary of the cut off days for each company before you order anything.
  • Take advantage of sales periods – each company will have their own sales period, as well as black Friday and cyber Monday offers if they have an online shop. Make yourself aware of offers coming up and take advantage of them as early as you can
  • Track product prices online – using sites like PriceSpy or Idealo can give you a head start in looking for the best prices for products online. You can also get notifications for when they reduce in price so you pick up the items on your list as cheap as possible

Winter Sales

  • Usually occur across November and December (straight after Halloween)
  • Can be different depending on company and industry
  • Available in shops and online
  • Worth checking what promotions are available for 2019

Do you have your shopping list ready? Start looking online or even in the news regarding what items might be on offer during winter sales. There are often early announcements for electronics items whereas fashion and beauty tend to have a percentage taken off.

When is Black Friday?

  • Falls on Friday 29th November
  • Biggest offers to be had before Christmas
  • The main savings can be made in shops, but there are plenty of online retailers who take part
  • Expect shops to be at their busiest

Even though Black Friday started off as a US tradition, it has quickly transitioned to the UK where retailers offer larger discounts than usual. Whilst offers tend to focus on electronics, computing, video games and other white label goods, there is usually some form of discount ot be had at most major shops.

Top tip: try to check the price of items before the day to see if the discount is worth it or not. Some offers look tempting but could be for older models or be on the same offer they had before but with a Black Friday tag on it

When is Cyber Monday?

  • Falls on Monday 2nd December
  • Busiest online shopping day of the year
  • Main savings can be made online
  • Order early before items become out of stock

Cyber Monday is traditionally held after the Black Friday weekend, and usually allows shoppers to get large discounts online. It is usually touted as the busiest online shopping day of the year, with extra promotions from many online retailers.

Just like Black Friday, always do your research on prices to see if the offers are any good, and try and order earlier in the day to avoid items going out of stock.

Free and Paid Delivery Dates

  • Order by Monday 16th December (or earlier) to guarantee a free delivery
  • Free delivery is usually between 3 and 10 working days
  • Paid or Express delivery can be next-day, depending on the seller
  • Order as early as possible to guarantee delivery

Just because Amazon have guaranteed a certain delivery time, it doesn’t mean other retailers will have the same. If you’re keen on getting a certain item in time for Christmas, always check the delivery time and try to order as early as possible if you’re shopping online.

Also, it’s the time of year when everyone will be ordering online so you might find orders are delayed, especially during December.

Super Saturday

  • Falls on Saturday 21st December
  • Expect the shops to be incredibly busy
  • Might take longer to shop on this day because of crowds

Whilst this day is listed as an important date, it’s possibly the day you should avoid having to visit the high street, simply because it will be so busy with last-minute shoppers. Given that it’s the last Saturday before Christmas, it is likely that everyone will be hitting the shops to get the last few items off their lists.

If possible, avoid the shops and shop online instead, though you will have to pay for express delivery to get it before the big day.

Boxing Day

  • Falls on Friday 26th December
  • Sales usually start very early in the morning (think around 5-6am)
  • Massive discounts for fashion retailers especially
  • Could be boxing day promotions online too

The day after Christmas is actually another day of sales that can be had, if you’re willing to get up at the crack of dawn! Most popular with fashion retailers such as Next, you will find Boxing Day sales are a chance to mark down Christmas items that haven’t been sold. For that reason, you’re likely to get big discounts on this day.

Ways to budget for Christmas shopping

As the countdown to Christmas begins, it might be worth putting some extra savings to one side, allowing you to afford the extra expense of presents, food and everything else. Try to use one of the options below to help you put money aside or spread the cost of your Christmas expenses:

  • 0% Purchase credit card – getting a purchase credit card where you can spend without incurring any interest is ideal, especially as you can spread the cost over a few moths rather than buying it all at once. Using a credit card will also give you extra security under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, just in case you need to return items after Christmas
  • Savings pot – many current account and app-based Challenger banks have a free savings space you can use to syphon off money to use for shopping. You can also automate it so it removes a certain amount every week or month from your main account
  • Cashback credit card – if you don’t need to save money but would still like a bonus, a cashback credit card might be the way to go. If you’re planning on spending and paying off the amount in full, you will get a cashback bonus and pay no interest at the same time
Robert Bester

Updated on 18th November 2019