The countdown to Black Friday is well underway, which means it's time to start compiling your wish list. But with several sales events in close succession – Black Friday, pre-Christmas, Boxing Day, January sales – how do you decide when to buy: early or hold off until January? Which event gives the best value for money?
Rule 1: It depends on what you're buying
Our first piece of hard won advice is to think in terms of your own needs and plans, rather than focussing on one single event. It's not a case of Black Friday vs January sales, more a question of what you are planning on buying, and why.
So, if you are buying an expensive piece of furniture because you need it by Christmas, start monitoring Black Friday prices; if you want the absolute best bargain and are willing to risk what's on your wishlist being sold out, playing the long game can give you the best discounts – you may even want to wait until after Christmas, especially given that furniture delivery in the run-up to Christmas (November and December) can be very tricky.
With smaller items (think soft furnishings, accessories), it makes little sense to wait, so you may as well grab that expensive throw you've been eyeing up as soon as the price drop in the run-up for Black Friday.
Rule 2: Snap up smart tech on Black Friday
Smart tech and appliances may well be worth getting during the Black Friday period, rather than January, especially if you are buying a Christmas gift for a tech lover.
Rule 3: Wait till January for Christmas-related items
Anything you can live without this Christmas, such as Christmas decorations and artificial Christmas trees, are well worth waiting for until January. You'll get them at cut prices – but have to be certain that you'll still want these particular Christmas decs next year.
Rule 4: Buy appliances on Black Friday
Appliances (think that expensive food processor you've considered for months) are definitely worth shopping for come Black Friday, especially if you know exactly the model you want and are happy checking (with us) for price reductions. As a rule of thumb, only watch items you've wanted for a while and have been budgeting for anyway. This way, the savings you'll make will be genuine, unlike the false economy of an impulse purchase .
Rule 5: Missed Black Friday? You haven't missed out
Having said all of this, if you do end up missing out on Black Friday on 23 November, don't worry about it too much, as many Black Friday deals will last for at least another week afterwards. And, if all else fails, you may still be able to get it in the post-Christmas sales.