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Insider guide: 8 Black Friday shopping tips to help you get more for your money

Stylist Courtney Smith shares her expertise.

Image: Shutterstock

CONSIDERING THAT BLACK Friday was only widely introduced to Ireland just a few years ago, Irish shoppers have grabbed onto the American retail tradition with gusto. 

Taking place on November 29 this year, whispers of Black Friday offers have been heard since early this month. It was estimated that the average Irish consumer would spend €300 on Black Friday in 2018, making it one of the biggest shopping days of the year. 

With that in mind, how do you avoid being sucked into the influx of offers, deals and sales, and stop all sense going out the window? Stylist and avid online shopper Courtney Smith shared with us her tips for shopping responsibly among the chaos -  from how to ensure that you get the best bargain, to how to avoid impulse buys.

“I actually prefer online shopping because, as a stylist, I’m constantly in the shops,” says Courtney. “If I go to the shops, it doesn’t feel like a treat because it’s my job. I much prefer to be comfortable and shop online at home.”

Below are eight of fashion expert Courtney’s top pieces of advice…

1. New coat or new smartphone? Know exactly what you want

It’s easy to wait and see what’s on offer on the day and make purchases based on that, but Courtney says it’s best to be prepared. “On Black Friday, I specifically know what I’m going to get,” she says.

I wouldn’t buy something just because it’s on sale.

“Because we’re renovating at the moment, I’m looking to buy a fridge and smart gadgets for our home. I think that’s the smartest way to shop, because otherwise you end up spending money on things you don’t need.”

2. Set a budget for every single item you plan to buy

shutterstock_1067312402 Source: Shutterstock

While you may have a set amount to spend in the sales, Courtney recommends dividing it up and setting a budget for each item you want to buy. “It’s easy to get lost with an overall budget because you might spend most of it on just one item. If you stick to a budget for each item, you can get a lot more for what you have.”

3. Don’t be swayed by glitzy discount signs 

Any frequent shopper will know that it’s best to use a list – whether you’re doing the weekly food shop or looking for Christmas presents – but Courtney says the trick lies in following it strictly. 

Stick to a list and don’t be swayed by pretty discount signs, because you’ll likely end up with things you don’t need or use.

“When you’re shopping online, you need to be more ruthless and strict with yourself because if you’re in a shop, you have to carry the item around and queue to pay for it, so you’ll think about it more – whereas online you don’t have to do that.”

4. Sign up to newsletters in advance

shutterstock_314921831 Source: Shutterstock

Rather than seeing retailers’ newsletters as a burden on your inbox, use them to your advantage to nab a bargain. 

“To seek out the best deals, sign up to individual websites that sell the item you’re looking for. That way, you’ll get pre-sale emails, discount codes and private sales, sometimes 24 hours before they’re released to the public on Black Friday.”

5. Have your eye on something? Let a comparison site do the hard work

If you’re serious about investing in an item and want to get the best deal available, Courtney swears by using a price comparison website to see what the market has to offer. 

Type in the exact name of the product you want and you’ll get an email as soon as its price drops on any website it’s stocked on.

“It does all of the hard work for you. If there’s something specific you really want, type in the make and model, or you can look for general things too.” 

6. Stick to sites you know and trust

shutterstock_727632541 Source: Shutterstock

Among the influx of offers and deals circulating on the day, remember: If something is too good to be true – it probably is. “Using reputable sites is a given,” says Courtney. “A price comparison website can show you the history of the price of the item to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Not everything is as it’s painted to be.”

7. Avoid trends – and choose key pieces instead

As a top stylist, you might presume that Courtney follows trends as they come and go. However, the reality is very different. “Since my late twenties and now that I’m in my thirties, I definitely buy things I know I’m going to love and wear forever,” she says.

Even as a stylist, I don’t fall for trends. I’d rather invest in something will will last.

“One of my top tips is to avoid trends and buy key pieces instead. They don’t have to be plain, but buy things you’ll know will work and that have longevity. For example, you could buy a mosaic bowl that will only suit one room, or a classic, well-made bowl that could work in a few rooms.”

8. And finally… ask yourself, ‘do I need this?’

shutterstock_414434071 Source: Shutterstock

When shopping smartly, Courtney says it ultimately goes back to the basic thought process of: “Do I really need this?” 

“During sales, people tend to buy lots of little cheap things for €10 here or there and they’re often things that don’t get used. Try to think about quality over quantity and ask yourself ‘do I need this?’” 

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