On your marks, get set, save! A Black Friday bargain-hunting survival guide
As the big sales season gets underway, here are some tips to help you save time, money, and maybe even your sanity.
As the big pre-Yuletide sales season gets underway, here are some tips to help you save time, money, and maybe even your sanity
Inspired by the Thanksgiving sales tradition in America, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become massive shopping events in South Africa too.
And in the current tough retail environment, many retailers have already begun pushing sales and promotions, in-store and online.
Gadgets, devices, and computer products are expected to be big sellers this year. But just because something’s on sale, doesn’t mean it’s the right deal for you.
Here are a few things you need to know before you splash out.
- Don’t spend more than you can afford
It’s boring advice, but it’s important, especially in today’s economy. Money’s tight, jobs are insecure, and budgets are tighter than ever. So, be sensible when you shop, and don’t blow money on stuff you don’t need.
- Shop early
Even if you’re doing your bargain shopping online, be sure to get there ahead of the rest.
Many tech retailers are launching sales campaigns before Black Friday, but even on the day, make sure you’re up early and know what you want to buy.
- Beware of ‘promotion’ prices
It’s an old retail trick, and people fall for it every time. Just because the advertisements say an item is ‘on promotion’, doesn’t mean it’s actually on sale. (Sometimes, shamelessly, they’ll even boost the price a bit.)
Look around online to get an idea of what the usual price is, so you know you’re getting a genuine sale price.
- Budget for add-ons
It used to be that when you bought a smartphone you’d get a charger cable, earbuds, and a happy sticker in the box. Not anymore.
If your new device isn’t ready to use out of the box, remember to factor those extras into your budget before the hidden costs run away from you.
- Shop for durability
Whatever you’re buying on Black Friday, make sure it won’t fall apart before New Year’s Eve. Cheap headphones and earbuds (basically, anything with small, exposed wires) are notoriously finicky, especially if they’re bought on a clearance sale from stores that aren’t known for selling quality tech.
- Read the reviews
Do your homework, and read every review you can find, from professional tech sites to bloggers to the unboxing kids on YouTube. Pay close attention to one-star user reviews.
Most professional product reviewers will use the device for a week or so, while people who’ve actually paid good money to buy the device tend to be a lot more honest in their assessments.
7. Shop around
We get it: you, like everybody else in South Africa, will be pressing refresh on the Takealot site from 5:00 on Black Friday morning.
But the ‘Big Blue Monster’ isn’t the only show in town. Tech stores like Incredible Connection and Computer Mania, and online retailers like Raru, Loot, and Superbalist have great tech deals too.
- Wait until Monday
Not finding the deal you want? Be patient. Prices will drop steadily in the lead-up to Black Friday, with many retailers using Cyber Monday as a clearance sale.
Yes, stock might sell out on or before Black Friday, but if you’re just bargain-hunting (and not looking for anything specific), you could pick up some killer deals by waiting until after the weekend.
- Stay safe!
Christmas comes early for cybercriminals, as shoppers get careless in all the Black Friday madness. Register early for online shopping portals, and keep a close eye on any amounts that come off your credit card account in late November.
It may be wise to change your passwords before and after the weekend, just to be sure.