There are genuine savings to be had on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it’s also very easy to get caught up in the Black Friday excitement and buy items you don’t need or that are not good value. We’ve got you covered with tips on what to buy and what to avoid from tech expert Bryan Turner, a data analyst at Worldwide Worx and writer for the website gadget.co.za.
#1 Buy what you need
Bryan’s first tip is to prioritise items you need and then think about the things you want. If your fridge is old and not so cold, or you need a new laptop for your home office, look at deals on these items before thinking about buying the new speakers and headphones.
#2 Investigate prices and discounts – a good deal isn’t always a good deal
It’s very exciting to see a 70% off tag on an item but be careful. “Don’t buy for the sake of a deal because it’s often not a deal. Never rely on how much a retailer says they’re discounting an item,” says Bryan.
He says we should investigate the price to see what the item usually costs, because some retailers artificially inflate the selling price to make the discount look bigger, especially third-party sellers on Takealot. He advises that you look at the item you are interested in at retailers who don’t have specials to see the real price - then you can see if the item is discounted by as much as the claim.
Check the year of release so you don’t pay too much for old tech
#3 Don’t pay too much for older generation items
Bryan says older generation items should cost less than a newer version. This may seem obvious, but always check which model you are buying by checking the product number. You can find the product numbers of the latest versions on the manufacturer’s website, or via their contact centres.
He also advises caution when it comes to TVs. Retailers often try to get rid of older models on Black Friday, which you aren’t advised to buy. Research the model number before you buy so you know which year it was released and if you are buying a new model at a discount price or an old model at an inflated price.
#4 Be wary of specials on accessories like Bluetooth speakers and earphones, and smartphone add-ons
Bryan says this category has notoriously small discounts, even on Black Friday specials. Again, check the price and ask yourself if you really need the item and how new or old a version the model on sale is.
#5 Keep your personal and banking details safe when you shop online
Many of us will be shopping for our Black Friday bargains online this year. When you log into shopping sites, always use hard to guess passwords. Don’t share your passwords or let your laptop, tablet or phone remember them.
Make sure you have notifications set up on your phone, so you know when your account is accessed, or your card used. If you receive a notification and you aren't shopping online or anywhere else, contact your bank immediately and report the transaction as suspicious.
Have fun and don’t spend more than you can afford
Black Friday certainly generates great excitement and there are some genuine good deals. Have fun if you are shopping, but always check the deals to make sure you are getting a good price before you buy. And don’t spend more than you have on items you don’t need! Remember, there’s life after Black Friday, and come December, you still have to pay your monthly expenses like rent, utilities, life insurance and medical aid. Stick to your budget and decide what you can spend on Black Friday specials without putting yourself under financial pressure in the months to come.