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Getting ready for the Black Friday sales...

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Last year, I kicked off a thread with some tips for Black Friday that seemed quite popular. So I thought I would revise and update it for this year's big sales day.

NOTE: Black Friday is on Friday 25th November this year, but some retailers will be running weekend or even long weekend sales (if the pattern from last year holds, a lot of them may kick off their sales the day before to get a jump on the competition and in the hope of grabbing a few headlines). And Amazon are going to have a full 12 days of Black Friday deals, starting this coming Monday 14th November.

Here's a link to the Amazon information page (which itself has links to other Black Friday pages that should go live when their sale kicks off)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Friday-Deals/b/ref=as_li_ss_tl?node=161428031

A WORD ABOUT PAYMENT
A bargain is less of a bargain if you can't really afford it. So if you're going to be putting the purchase on a credit card, consider whether you will be able to pay off the balance in full because the usual high APR on a credit card will quickly eat up any saving. If your credit history is good, you might be eligible for one of the 0% credit cards listed at MoneySavingExpert, some of which give you up to 30 months to pay off the balance interest-free: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/best-0-credit-cards

Equally, you may also be able to mitigate your current credit card balance by transferring it to a new credit card with a 0% rate (note that there's always a one-time penalty for doing the transfer, but it can still work out cheaper) Here is the MoneySavingExpert list of top balance transfer credit cards: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/balance-transfer-credit-cards

AMAZON-SPECIFIC TIPS

1. If you've got your eye on an Amazon bargain, use Camel Camel Camel to check if the price is really a long-term bargain, or if it's just a lower-than-recent price. Camel Camel Camel will give you the price history of most items (though not Kindle ebooks)
http://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/

2. Again, for Amazon (which is, after all, by far the largest retailer) don't assume they always have the best price - shop around!

3. If you're an Amazon Prime member, make sure you're logged in when you're browsing as you'll be able to access some lightning deals before they're opened up to all-comers

GENERAL

1. If you're not yet a member, join Top Cashback.
http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/gk001 (my referral link - thanks in advance if you do decide to use it!)
http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ (direct link)

They have over 4,000 merchant-partners that they offer cashback on, and the amounts can be substantial (the offers vary over time). For example, Laterooms and Lastminute frequently offer 10%+ cashback.

What this means is that as long as you start your shopping from the relevant Top Cashback merchant via the "Get Cashback" link, and don't leave the etailer, your purchase should get tracked and you'll earn cashback on it.

This costs you nothing at all. Basically, Top Cashback are acting like a super affiliate - they kick back some of the commish they would otherwise have made on the sale.

You can get cash back on just about everything, from physical goods (Currys/PC World, AO.com, Very, Next etc.) through to services (even new domain registrations, and hosting packages) and stuff like utilities, broadband, insurance etc.

When it comes to being paid (which can take several months) you can either get paid through BACS or in some cases as Amazon vouchers, or vouchers for other retailers (there's often a small bonus on vouchers vs cash payouts)

Since I joined TopCashback a couple of years ago, I've acumulated over £500 by shopping just as I always have - but always starting the shopping sessions over on their site.

To ensure that cashback tracks properly, use different browsers for browsing and shopping (and make sure the "shopping browser" doesn't have any Adblocker running - in other words, it has to accept all cookies)

That way, you will be sure that the "last click" of any shopping session gets recorded as originating from the cashback site rather than say from a search engine or from your browser address bar.

I use Firefox for browsing, IE for shopping. Doesn't matter which pair of browsers you choose as long as you consistently use one only for actual shopping transactions. Do ALL your product comparison searches, price checks etc. in a completely different browser first!

2. Once you've joined Top Cashback, join Quidco
http://www.quidco.com/

They've got a very similar setup, and a few merchants offer better cashback deals via Quidco than Top Cashback (though most are the same or lower)

3. Keep a very close eye on HotUkDeals for some of the best bargains. Black Friday deals go "hot" on the site very quickly, and the best offers have hotness levels in the 1,000+ range. It's a double-edged sword, because once the deals make it onto HotUkDeals and other similar sites the stock can be exhausted in minutes.
http://www.hotukdeals.com/

4. Keep an eye on MoneySavingExpert and their Black Friday Deals section
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/black-friday-and-cyber-monday-alert-service

5. Watch John Lewis's website like a hawk. They price match a lot of retailers (there are some exceptions for online-only retailers) so when a great deal comes up somewhere like Currys then John Lewis should price match it, and then you'll usually be able to buy the same item but with a free extended warranty. This is particularly good for electronics, computers and TVs, and that kind of thing. You can also proactively request a price match from them here https://www.johnlewis.com/never-knowingly-undersold - and in some cases you can even get them to refund the difference up to 28 days after you bought the item, as long as you have the necessary proof.

6. If you have a specific retailer in mind, sign up for their newsletter a few days in advance of Black Friday, and watch their Twitter/Facebook feeds intently. Some retailers post coupons that "stack" on top of the already large discounts, so that you can save even more. They tend to pump them out a few days in advance of Black Friday itself to drive more interest in their upcoming sale.

7. If possible, Google NOW to establish the baseline price of the product if you have a specific make/model of something in mind. Retailers may jack up the price just before Black Friday, only to drop it again on B.F. itself.

BONUS TIP #1 - Money is money is money - don't be mesmerised by the % discount
What I mean by that is that you should be thinking about your savings in terms of how many actual £ stay in your wallet. So if one product costs £100 and is discounted 40% then you're saving £40 by buying it on Black Friday. If another product costs £1,500 and is discounted 15% then you're saving £225 on it! So as long as you need/want a number of products, consider what you'll actually be saving by buying during the discount period.

Similarly, you might be willing to drive across town to save 30% on a coat but not to save 10% on a large 4K TV. But that's because you're being tricked by the psychology of the discount - the actual £ amount you'll save on the TV might be much, much more than the £ amount you'll save on the coat!

BONUS TIP #2 - Free up more cash
This isn't directly Black Friday related, but one way to be ready for the bargain bonanza is to free up more cashflow. There are a few very easy things you can do:
A) Check you're not overpaying for utilities by joining the MoneySavingExpert Cheap Energy Club - as long as you have information about your past consumption to hand, you can instantly calculate the potential saving. We saved £400+ a year by switching electricity/gas providers. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub

If you do change, then make sure you claim back any unspent balance at your old utility provider (if you pay by Direct Debit then there may be quite a positive balance since we're just coming off the warmer months). You should be able to do that within a few weeks of the switch to the new provider being complete.

B) Consider haggling with providers for a better deal, especially if you've been with them for a long time. For example, I dropped our Virgin Media from £83 a month to £59.90 just by giving them a call, and we shaved £12/month off my wife's mobile phone bill in a similar fashion. Don't believe that companies reward loyalty - that's almost never true these days, in fact the opposite applies: they'll happily gouge you year after year so long as you don't make a fuss.

If you are going to try for a better deal, it helps to prepare a bit of ammo first. For example, find out what a similar mobile phone package would cost at a different network - if there's a big difference, well there's your lever.

C) The above applies to insurance products (car, house, life etc.) as well - you very rarely get the best deal from renewing year after year with the same company. Yes, you have an easy life (less hassle) but 99% of the time you'll be paying (often a lot) for that convenience.

Hope this helps!
 
This costs you nothing at all. Basically, Top Cashback are acting like a super affiliate - they kick back some of the commish they would otherwise have made on the sale.

This costs you nothing at all unless you were once running an affiliate business, in which case it has helped to destroy your business model. Sorry, but this had to be said.
 
@Edwin I like hotukdeals though it's easy to be tempted with some good deals. I see something, typically DIY or cycle tools, on offer somewhere and I think "ooh that's a deal and I might use that one day". And I never do use it :)
 
This costs you nothing at all unless you were once running an affiliate business, in which case it has helped to destroy your business model. Sorry, but this had to be said.
A general consumer couldn't give two hoots who they link through, providing they have been given the best information, or offered the best deal, which is why cashback sites will always be the "go to" for the masses, until something else comes along better.
 
I'm also a victim of buying stuff i see going hot on hotukdeals that i don't really need just because it's a bargain! I have picked up some great stuff though that I have put to good use.

Very comprehensive thread by the way Edwin!
 
Great thread Edwin thanks for taking the time to put it together
 
The big day's almost here. Last year, a lot of the online sales started at midnight, and stocks of some of the best deals ran out before the physical shops opened on Friday morning. So if you're really keen to snag a bargain, you'll probably want to stay up tonight :)

And don't forget to watch Twitter/Facebook for the merchants you're most interested in since as I mentioned in my opening post they sometimes post "stackable" coupons that can be used to slash Black Friday prices even further...

Best of luck getting something nice at a good price (if you're planning to shop, that is!)
 
All relative of course, but have to say that Amazon's offering this year has been terrible (so far). Even their own brand products are seeing huge discounts on Amazon USA and Europe but nothing here. I asked Amazon about a specific product that was £90 here and on deal at $40 in the USA and was told I might want to order from Amazon USA instead! We have been very much left out in the cold this year.
 
All relative of course, but have to say that Amazon's offering this year has been terrible (so far). Even their own brand products are seeing huge discounts on Amazon USA and Europe but nothing here. I asked Amazon about a specific product that was £90 here and on deal at $40 in the USA and was told I might want to order from Amazon USA instead! We have been very much left out in the cold this year.

They definitely make the shopping experience quite bland - the random selection of discounted products changes every hour or so, but there's no real rhyme or reason to it.

Re. their own products, if you want a basic tablet then the 7" Fire Tablet is down to £29.99 from £49.99 for the lowest spec model with the ads. But I agree they don't seem to have spread the deals very widely (only that, the Fire TV stick and the Kindle Paperwhite have meaningful discounts at the moment)

If anyone does decide to go for a Fire Tablet, then John Lewis have price matched but theirs comes with a 2 year guarantee...
http://www.johnlewis.com/amazon-fir...re-os-7-wi-fi-8gb-black/p2215428?colour=Black

Perhaps they're so dominant now that they don't have to try very hard in the UK market...
 
BTW, one more tip relating to the HotUKDeals.com deals website...

Keep an eye on this page:
http://www.hotukdeals.com/all/deals/new

That's where all the latest deals show up. Only the ones that make it to 100 degrees "hot" appear on the front page of the site, but this page has every deal - good, bad and ugly. Sometimes a really good bargain will show up on there and pick up 50 or 60 degrees in a matter of a few minutes - if you spot it at the "proto hot" stage you've a better chance at getting some of the stock, if it's limited. This is how I snagged a cheap SSD drive last year.

On Black Friday itself, I'm guessing you'll see 1,000+ deals appear on the "new" page; new posts appear every few seconds at the peak times of the day.

However:
A) Don't just trust that heat = good price, since the "wisdom of crowds" can get it wrong. Always price check the deal yourself with a quick Google, unless you already know what the product in question normally goes for
B) Don't forget to check if the merchant's on TopCashback and/or QuidCo for an extra kickback on top of the bargain price
C) Remember that HotUKDeals is a crowd-sourced site, with all content contributed by members. That means that a lot of the deals will be junk, and not bargains at all.
 
Edwin, impressed with your deal savvy, do you fancy doing some consumer journalism?

Can't pretend I don't wince at the cashback recommendations.

It is admittedly a successful model, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's essentially sellers giving up to cannibalism because they can sell more food.

My theory is that neither voucher codes nor cashback will last forever - similar to daily deals, they took over and made fortunes but their models make little sense for retailers in the long term. They aren't adding more sales, they're taking market share by cutting margins.

The cashback model involves the retailer giving you money without any of the credit, which people give to the cashback site.
Far better for the retailer to incentivize directly - or share cost/reward with affiliates to some degree.
 
Yes, Windows 7 Ultimate with a 12GB RAM disk (50% of system RAM), no PageFile. And, as you noted, an SSD as the main drive (WD Red HDDs for data and internal backup)

It's basically the machine I built in 2010 (i7 930-based) except with more memory and an SSD. I see no reason to go to Windows 10 until Microsoft forces me to in January 2020 when extended support runs out for Windows 7. But I might switch to Linux Mint instead - I'll decide much nearer the time.
 
Off thread topic - but I took the jump to Linux Mint a couple of months ago myself and not looking back at all. Recommended to anyone who might be thinking about it/anyone who is sick of trying to tell their Windows 10 installation it works for them now and not MS - Nick.
 
Off thread topic - but I took the jump to Linux Mint a couple of months ago myself and not looking back at all. Recommended to anyone who might be thinking about it/anyone who is sick of trying to tell their Windows 10 installation it works for them now and not MS - Nick.

I've got it running on a 2006 vintage laptop (Core 2 Duo) and it's a pretty nippy little thing for web browsing and playing videos. It's unbelievably less resource-hogging than Windows is!
 
I'm looking for Hitachi (HGST) Hard Drives, minimum 4tb, and also some 16gb Ram sticks if anyone see's any deals. I bought the last half dozen (HDDs) off scan at £120 a pop (off the top of my head).

Anyone recommend a dashcam and a fitness tracker (womens for my mummy) ?

Much appreciated for any suggestions :)
 

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