The dos and don'ts of Black Friday deals: how to shop like a pro

Here’s how to bag to best Black Friday bargains (and still keep your dignity). Yes, it's possible.

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We’ve all seen the videos of manic shoppers fighting tooth and claw over flat screen TVs and Nespresso machines. It’s as if come Black Friday, all the usual shopping etiquette goes out of the window, and people lose their minds (and their money) in a crazy shopping frenzy. 

But this year is going to be different. This year, you will have a list and a guaranteed game plan, so you can really focus and bag that awesome Black Friday washing machine deal, make the most of some amazing mattress offers and finally get a load of money off the sofa you've been dreaming of lounging on all year. 

So to help you out with all your Black Friday missions, here are our dos and don'ts for making the most of Black Friday 2018. Good luck out there...

Already know everything you want to about Black Friday and just want to get on with shopping? Don't miss all our Black Friday deals, which we'll be updating regularly as, and when they come in.

Don’t: think Black Friday just happens on the Friday

This year's Black Friday will fall on Friday 23 November, with Cyber Monday on 26 November. The sales will, however, last for about a week or so, and some retailers, such as Amazon, will start cutting prices before. In other words, keep your eyes peeled (or just keep popping back here) for great deals from the beginning of November onwards.

Alternatively, you can subscribe below for the best Black Friday deals to be sent right into your inbox, no trawling necessary. 

Do: shop online for Black Friday deals

Why face the crowds when almost all Black Friday deals are available online? In fact, some retailers will be doing online-only deals. Plus, we've got loads of Black Friday deals all in one place to make it super easy for you to nab a bargain.

Don’t: leave it to last minute

A wise man once said ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and while we're sure Benjamin Franklin wasn’t planning on his mantra ever being applied to Black Friday, we think it works. 

Do your research people! Check out what we are expecting from Black Friday so you have an idea of what's going to be on sale, then make a list of what you want to get so you don’t end up panic buying. Which leads us onto our next tip...

Do: create Black Friday wish lists

Websites such as Amazon, Asos, Argos, B&Q and John Lewis let you set up a wish list where you can add all the things you want to buy. Rather than trawling through the entire site you can click on your list and immediately see if the prices have dropped. If you leave deals languishing in your basket, some retailers will even offer you further discounts on them in an attempt to get you to complete your purchase.

Do: set up online accounts ahead of Black Friday

Prepare yourself by setting up online accounts with stores you know you're going to be shopping with come the big day. This will save you precious time at the checkout so you can get onto buying the next bargain. In some cases, setting up an account with a retailer may well mean an earlier, or bigger discount.  

Do: compare multiple deals

We know it’s easy to get excited about what appears to be an amazing deal, but make sure you shop around a bit first before buying. Browse all our Black Friday deals or find out about the latest Black Friday deals to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. 

Don't: just take our word for it

Many products' prices yoyo frequently, so checking the price history of what you're planning to buy on CamelCamelCamel.com or PriceSpy will tell you whether the savings are real or illusory. These clever and handy sites show you whether a price is likely to re-occur, so you can allocate your budget to something that is more rarely discounted on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, if you prefer.

Do: check social media

Make sure you’re following all the brands you might want to shop at come Black Friday on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to hear about offers or further discounts.

Too much like hard work? Follow us, Real Homes, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram instead, as we will be updating all our social feeds with the top Black Friday deals throughout the sale. 

Do: check Black Friday returns policies

Just in case you end up regretting buying that leopard print velvet loveseat when you were deep in a Black Friday hole during the early hours of Friday morning, double-check what the retailers' returns policy are for Black Friday deals before you buy. 

Do: shop safely on Black Friday

Just as you would usually, ensure you're shopping securely. Paying by credit card should give you more protection than paying by debit card. If you pay with PayPal or another third party payment service you may not be eligible for these payment protections.

Don’t: forget about Cyber Monday 

Once upon a time, Black Friday was all about hitting the high streets and Cyber Monday was for all the online deals. Now, the two have merged, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes peeled for anything that might be going on during Monday 26 November.

Do: have a back up plan

No one knows yet what's going to be in the Black Friday sales, so it's best to always have a back up plan. So, if that Made sofa you've had your eye on since forever doesn't make it into the Black Friday sales, you can opt for a John Lewis look-alike. You'll thank yourself later, and you won't be let down. Win win!

Do: find more amazing Black Friday deals