These are my top 6 Black Friday shopping tips to help you get the best deals

With so many Black Friday deals on offer, it’s easy to get carried away or miss the best deals but with a little planning, you can get what you want for less

Black Friday sales
(Image credit: Getty)

November is a big shopping month for many reasons. It’s when I start to do my Christmas shopping but also, thanks to the Black Friday sales, it’s when I end up doing a little self-gifting. After all, who can resist those discounts?

One thing I’ve learned though is that, with a bit of planning, I can avoid buying things I don’t need and get better deals on the things I really want. I’d say they were things I need, but that might be pushing it. 

When it comes to making purchases, I like to do my research – it comes with the job, I guess. I’ll read a range of trusted website reviews and any customer reviews to narrow down my choice. Then I’ll look at the prices and see where's offering the best deal. I then try and leave it a week or so before finally making the call to buy it, to make sure I still really want it. 

When it comes to Black Friday shopping though, there are a few tips that I’d recommend to keep you focused and get the best price. Make sure you keep an eye on our best Black Friday deals page too, as we’ll be updating this daily with the very best deals we’ve found. 

Top Black Friday buying tips

1. Create a list

Going into Black Friday it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you’re looking for. This will help to focus your thoughts on just a few products. You can do this on paper or on a Google doc but I like to use the wishlist functions on some of the big retailers. Amazon’s Wishlist even lets you pull in products from other sites, using its Chrome widget so you can keep everything in one place. 

If you want to be really organized, you can create different lists for stuff you’re looking to buy for yourself, for others and even for things you hope people will buy you – useful when family members don’t know what to get you for Christmas or birthdays. 

2. Consider alternatives

Not everything you want to buy will be discounted for Black Friday and even if the product you want is, it might not be by much. If possible, have some alternatives in your list, as that will increase your odds. Looking for a 60-inch Sony 4K TV? Consider the 55 and 65-inch versions too, or be the Samsung or LG equivalents. 

3. Check prices

It’s more common than you’d think for prices to rise in the weeks and months before Black Friday. This allows retailers to post bigger reductions, making it sound like you are getting a better deal than you are. By creating a list early, you can track the prices in advance and know the real saving. 

To make the process easy, there is a range of price checker apps that monitor the price of products over months and years. The Camelizer Chrome widget does this for Amazon products and is a quick and easy way to see the price history of anything on the site. 

4. Search for the deals

Now you have your hitlist and their original prices, you can start to search out the bargains. Check the social media pages of retailers and sign up for any newsletters or loyalty programs in advance – often members or email lists will get advanced warning of upcoming sales, and even the chance to buy before the general public. 

Here at T3, we are often the first to know about discounts, and will share them on our social channels and deals pages the second we are launched, so keep your eyes peeled. 

5. Be patient but don’t delay

This is the tricky part. Black Friday deals have been dropping for over a month and there are still weeks before the actual date. In previous years I would say hold off until the last minute to get the best deals but this year there’s an argument to starting your shopping early

This year, sales are starting earlier than ever and some of the prices aren’t likely to get better in the weeks to come. Stocks are limited and deliveries are taking longer too, so there’s a danger that waiting too long could mean missing out. 

If this item on your list is a must-have, have in mind a price at which you would buy it. Then, if it reaches that price, hit that buy now button. If you’re less invested, hold out a little longer and risk it going out of stock. 

6. Stick to your budget

It’s easy to get carried away when the offers come through thick and fast, so stick to your list. If you have a long list, set yourself a budget and don’t go over it. That way, if prices fall, you can buy more but if they don’t, you haven’t overspent. 

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Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.