24 Nov 2020 • 4mins • Gemma Fisher

How to figure out if a Black Friday deal’s really a deal

Man double checks to make sure the deal's real before paying with his card
Spend smart this Black Friday, with your Yolt Card

Now Black Friday’s nearly here, the countdown to Christmas has officially begun (even if you have to wait a few more days to tuck into your advent calendar). With retailers starting their sales earlier, and keeping them going for longer, it can be easy to get swept up in the bonanza of deals. But are Black Friday discounts the bargains retailers would have us believe?

According to Which?, probably not.

For the six months before and after Black Friday, the “consumer champions” tracked the prices of 83 sale products. Want to know what they found? That 95% of offers were available at the same price, or cheaper, for the six months after the sales.

Deal or no deal (…sorry)

How do you know if you’re actually getting a deal? We’ve pulled together some tips to help you out, and because it’s Black Friday, thrown in a few extra pointers to boot.

Shop around

That retro-chic toaster’s "sale" price may seem tasty, but it’s worth making sure you’re really getting a deal as good as the toaster looks. Pop it in your basket but take a breath before checking out. Visit a couple of other retailers and compare offers to find the best price.

Bonus tip: Some brands will offer to match or even beat any (real) offers you find. This could help you get an item you’ve had your eye on with added perks, like an extended guarantee period.

Do a bit of research

Deep discounts can often be found on top tech at this time of year. Or on items that seem to be top tech. An 8K TV for £500? Sounds like a deal too good to be true – that’s probably because it is.

Before checking out any big-ticket gadgets, do a spot of brand research. Why Scam Tech’s foldable mobile is so unbelievably affordable may suddenly make sense.

Track prices

Looking for an easy way to check price histories? Services like CamelCamelCamel, PriceSpy and Price Runner have your back.

They can’t track every item, but it’s worth running anything you’re thinking of picking up through these nifty sites to see if you’re actually getting a bargain.

3 bonus tips to help you spend smarter this Black Friday

1. Create your account ahead of time

Websites can crash because of the amount of people trying to access them. Even mega online retailers can struggle. There’s nothing worse than finding a killer deal, just for everything to go wrong as you try to create an account to check it out.

So why not open one a day or two before the sales start? It’ll at least eliminate one hurdle between you and that perfect Christmas gift for your uncle.

2. Know your returns rights

Lots of us get our festive shopping nailed during the Black Friday sales. But with Christmas still weeks away, if something goes wrong with an item, you want to make sure it’s eligible for return. Bone up on the site’s policy before checking out. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with that slow cooker your sister hated…

3. Save while you spend

Is there anything sweeter than finding a great deal? What about getting cold, hard cashback on it too?

In the Yolt app, you’ll find loads of offers from lots of great merchants. And as it’s Black Friday, we’re boosting the cashback rates you can earn. So you can save even more while you spend.

Black Friday’s getting bigger every year, with retailers offering more deals than ever. But don’t be suckered in. Make sure you do your homework to sort the wheat from the chaff. And remember, you only ever save money on things you were already going to buy. If you’re getting a new telly just because it’s discounted, you’re not really saving anything at all.

Looking to sleigh your Christmas shopping budgets?