Black Friday deals vs January sales: what to buy when

Black Friday or January sales: which major sales event caters better to your buying plans? Find out and come to the sales season prepared

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Black Friday is over for another year, which means it's time to start compiling your January sale wish list. But with several sales events in close succession – Black Friday (done!), Cyber Monday (done!), pre-Christmas (doing!), Boxing Day (writing that list!), January sales (still writing that list!) – how do you decide when to buy: now or hold off until January? Which gives the best value for money? 

We are here to help you decide, equipped with our knowledge of the major shopping events and what they might hold for shoppers.

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 prices now – it might well be discounted again in the next couple of weeks; 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 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 drops.  

However – a word to the wise – check delivery dates on everything you want for Christmas. 

Rule 2: Snap up smart tech NOW!

Smart tech and appliances are worth getting during the Black Friday period – and there are still deals to be had, especially if you are buying a Christmas gift for a tech lover. However, there will be more price drops again in January, as retailers off-load old stock.

Rule 3: Wait till January for bargain Christmas decorations

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. This is the perfect tip for anyone who thinks their decorating style leans on the timeless appeal of nostaligic, kitsch decorations or perhaps the ever-popular Scandi look.

Rule 4: Buy appliances NOW!

Appliances (think that KitchenAid you've been eyeing for months) are definitely worth shopping during – or just after – 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 did miss out on Black Friday on 29 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.