How to bag the best bargains

If there’s one thing to jolt your realisation that it’s time to start your Christmas shopping it’s Black Friday. Straight after Thanksgiving for our friends in the USA come Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Relatively new to the UK, these massive discount events have gone from strength to strength since I last wrote about it here. It’s a great time to buy Christmas gifts for your loved ones – or yourself!

There are offers everywhere, but how can you be sure of getting the best deal? Here are a few handy hints:

  1. Narrow down your search. Think carefully about what you need. This will keep you from being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of special offers.
  2. Compare. Whilst retailers will be trying to match each other on price, there will be big differences here and there. If you’re desperate to bag something specific, comparison shopping is the way to go – especially if you’re an Apple enthusiast, like me!
  3. Research. If going through price comparisons site by site feels like too much work, sites like TechRadar and most national newspapers publish round-ups every year.
  4. Head for the source. Brands like Google, Amazon, and (sometimes) Apple will often set the sale price for their own tech, so use their sites as a benchmark for your bargain hunt.
  5. Check social media. Many big brands and major retailers advertise flash sales and special discount codes for customers who subscribe to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat feeds, not to mention their email newsletters.

So, what’s out there this year? The madness has already started so we’ve put together a quick list of what our online retailers are promising between now and November 27th:

  • Amazon (on now) has a huge range of special offers available on smart home products (such as lighting and thermostats), computers, games consoles and accessories, headphones and speakers, digital photography equipment, TVs, and of course its own range of e-readers, tablets and Echo devices.
  • Argos (on now) is offering deals on TVs, computers and printers, gaming accessories, tablets, smartphones, headphones and speakers, radios and hi-fi, cameras, fitness trackers, and selected smart home products.
  • Carphone Warehouse (on now) is offering reduced monthly contracts on 28 phone models, including the Samsung Galaxy 8 and the iPhone 7.
  • Curry’s PC World (starting Friday at midnight) likes to keep specific details of its Black Friday offering under wraps until the day itself, but the “black tag” deals currently listed hint that there will be something for everyone.
  • Game (starting Thursday) is also keeping a certain mystique about its sale, but the placeholder page is full of promise for gamers across the country. As well as games and consoles, it looks like there will be discounts on pre-owned mobiles and tablets.
  • John Lewis’ Black Friday page currently just explains what Black Friday is, but references to their “never knowingly undersold” policy hint that they will be quietly matching their deals to other major retailers. There will be offers across all departments, not just the technology items.
  • Maplin (on now) has deals available across its range of products, and is also offering vouchers worth £5 with a spend of £40-80, or £10 with a spend of £80 or more.
  • Richer Sounds (on now) is offering deals across its range of TVs, hi-fis, projectors, speakers, and turntables if you’re feeling retro.

Once you’ve got your goodies, remember: if you (or your families) need home tech support in Chiswick or nearby, we at Fingertips would love to help out.

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday…

BFCMApparently it’s Black Friday tomorrow and Cyber Monday on Monday….

If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry – it’s much better than the names suggest.

Those of you from across the pond will know that Black Friday originated in America – it’s the day after Thanksgiving, the day when people traditionally start to think about their Christmas shopping. So back in the 1930s and 40s some high street shops began to offer great deals to encourage customers to buy early.BLack Friday queue

According to the BBC, the term Black Friday was originally coined as a reference to a New York Stock Market crash in 1869, but came into use as a national term with its current meaning in America in the 1990s.

It’s a bit of an odd name, with its connotations of disaster, for a day that spells such opportunity for bargain hunters, but despite efforts to change it to Big Friday in the 1960s, the name has stuck. And Black Friday is undoubtedly the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.sale

Now, mainly thanks to Amazon and other online retailers, Black Friday is big in the UK too and there are some amazing deals to be had, many in the world of electricals.

Cyber MondayCyber Monday began as an online version of Black Friday, but as Black Friday is online too, the whole weekend has become a bargain bonanza.

This year, UK analysts are expecting sales on Black Friday to be the highest ever, with Visa predicting an increase in spending of 22% on last year, as customers are expected to spend £6,000 per second on their cards tomorrow.

CartoonMany offers have started online already (Amazon), others begin at 00.01am tomorrow (Apple) and many stores will open early in the morning (John Lewis, PC World, Asda all open at 8am), while others are opening at midnight tonight (Game, Argos).

It’s also worth noting that the biggest retailers will ship internationally, so with the weak dollar and deeper discounts in the US, you may find the best deals are on American sites.

So set your alarm, dust off your credit card and bag some bargains. Beware of getting carried away – there are still 4 weeks to go!Trolleys