I shop Black Friday sales for a living and these are my top 5 tips

How to ensure you get a deal you're happy with in the Black Friday sales

Black Friday sale tips
(Image credit: AO.com)

The Black Friday sales are well and truly underway and T3 is hard at work digging out the best Black Friday deals from our locations in the US, the UK and Australia.

I've been covering sales events at T3 for four years now and I covered them in previous roles, too. As well as writing about Black Friday deals I cover Amazon Prime Day, and in the UK, you'll also find me online on Boxing Day to help you discover the best Boxing Day sales and deals.

I don't just write about the sales, I shop them, too. And like most of us, what I plan to buy isn't always what I end up buying, but I've never got so swept up in the moment that I've bought something I regret. Last year's Black Friday gave me the opportunity to save money on a new sofa from MADE.com (the MADE.com Black Friday sale is now on), while Prime Day netted me a pair of Bose headphones (which was a bit of an impulse buy) and a Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish (which I had wanted for ages) with big savings. This Black Friday, I'm looking at Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals and Black Friday espresso machine deals as well as the ASOS Black Friday sale, which is offering savings of up top 80% plus an additional 15%. In fact, I've just bought a winter jacket at ASOS for 40% off stacked with that additional 15% off – I've had my eye on it for three months at ASOS and elsewhere so I know that I just got an amazing deal.

If you're looking to shop the Black Friday sales this year then here are my five dos and don'ts to ensure a stress-free sales shopping experience and that – most of all – you get to this time next week with no shopping regrets.

1. Do buy the thing you really want – even if it's not discounted

It sounds counter-intuitive but sometimes you might want to pay full price in the Black Friday sales – that's if the item you've set your heart on doesn't get a price cut. For example, there's a particular coffee machine that I really want and the company that makes it says that it will not be discounting it over Black Friday. They also don't sell through resellers. I'm not going to swap to another machine simply because it's being discounted right now at Amazon, because that other coffee machine is not the one I want. Buying the discounted one would be a sure-fire way to end up with buyer's regret just to save a bit of money. By committing to buy the machine I want at its full price I also no longer need to rush the purchase as it'll still be the same price on 1st December as it will be on Black Friday.

2. Don't stress about price-matching

A lot of Black Friday shopping tips on the web stress that you should check on a retailer's price match promise in case you find a product cheaper elsewhere. That's time and stress I don't need. My approach is to simply find the cheapest price I can at a retailer I trust and buy it from them. If, for example, a product is 10% cheaper at Amazon than it is at John Lewis or Walmart, do I take time contacting those stores and asking them to price-match Amazon? No, I simply buy it from Amazon and move onto the next deal.

3. Don't bother signing up to retailer newsletters or following them on social for deals

This just feels like a major hassle to me. Going to all that effort to sign up to a bunch of newsletters and follow retailers on Twitter and Facebook only to discover that a) any incredible deals will have gone by the time you see them and b) once Black Friday is over you have a load of unsubscribing and unfollowing to do does not sound like a happy Black Friday experience to me. You'll find the retailer's best deals on their homepages because they'll want to shout about them. Or if you know the exact product you want, simply visit a few of your favourite retailer websites and search for it. Or check out T3.com as it's our job to dig out the best deals and we've been doing it for years.  More on that below.

4. Do let T3 save you time and money in the sales

Digging out deals is what we do here at T3, whether it's on sports equipment, mattresses, 4K TVs, Apple MacBooks or pretty much anything else. We have a team of experts across three continents who spend their time reviewing equipment and writing our T3 Best Ofs – and when the sales roll around they turn their attention to deal hunting. If we say that a product is worth buying and the price is good, then we mean it. If we've reviewed the product we'll link to the review so you can read about it in more depth before you buy it. You can search and browse our reviews here and you'll find a huge selection of deals here.

5. Don't forget Cyber Monday – and the Boxing Day and After Christmas Sales

As Black Friday approaches and comes to an end, it can feel like a mad rush to get those deals before everything rockets back up in price. But in fact, many of the deals will continue over the weekend and through the following Monday with the Cyber Monday deals. T3 will be on hand throughout that period so stay tuned and we'll keep bringing you the deals. There's a risk that some items will sell out, so do bear that in mind if you're shopping the sales for Christmas gifts. If you miss those Cyber Monday deals, then in the UK there are Boxing Day Sales which often start on Christmas day, while the US also has After Christmas Sales. We'll be covering those, too.

Paul Douglas
Global Digital Editorial Strategy Director, Future

Paul Douglas is Global Digital Editorial Strategy Director at Future and has worked in publishing for over 25 years. He worked in print for over 10 years on various computing titles including .net magazine and the Official Windows Magazine before moving to TechRadar.com in 2008, eventually becoming Global Editor-in-Chief for the brand, overseeing teams in the US, UK and Australia. Following that, Paul has been Global Editor-in-Chief of BikeRadar and T3 (not at the same time) and later Content Director working on T3, TechRadar and Tom's Guide. In 2021, Paul also worked on the launches of FitandWell.com and PetsRadar.