It’s easy to get caught up in the annual sales shopping frenzy, but are Black Friday deals really worth it?

As the holiday season fast approaches, bargain hunters and shopaholics are readying their wallets in preparation for the retail event of the year: Black Friday. While it traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US, the post-Thanksgiving sale frenzy has become popular in the UK in recent years, too.

Anyone familiar with Black Friday will know that bagging decent deals isn’t easy. It’s something that requires a bit of groundwork and plenty of persistence. Even then that doesn’t always guarantee you a genuine bargain.

Black Friday has become synonymous with stressful sales, too-good-to-be-true discounts and, on rare occasions, mass brawls in shipping malls. So many shoppers now find themselves asking if the best Black Friday deals are really good enough to warrant the hassle. So let’s see if they are.

Is Black Friday worth the hype?

The hype surrounding Black Friday is impossible to ignore. With retailers advertising huge discounts and limited-time offers, it’s easy to become ensnared in the bargain bonanza. However, while there are undoubtedly savings to be had, it’s worth exercising caution. Diana Howard, personal finance deals expert at CouponBirds, says it’s important to approach the event with a discerning eye.

“The pressure to find the best [Black Friday] deals in a limited timeframe can create a sense of urgency and impulsivity,” Howard explains. “This can result in overspending and potentially buying items that weren’t originally on your shopping list. 

“Also, the crowds and competitive nature of Black Friday can lead to a less enjoyable shopping experience. It can be emotionally and physically draining.”

So are the deals actually worth the effort you need to make to get them? Well, that all depends on your individual circumstances. As Howard says, if there are specific items you’ve been planning to buy and you’ve done your research, Black Friday can be an opportune time to make those purchases at a discounted price. 

“However, if the process of navigating crowded stores or staying glued to a screen for online deals is too stressful or time-consuming, it might be better to look for deals at other times of the year,” she adds.

Are Black Friday deals really deals?

While Black Friday can offer some pretty impressive bargains, are they actually as good as they seem? Shoppers should be aware of those retailers who inflate ‘before’ prices to dupe shoppers into thinking they’re getting great deals. This is something known as ‘price anchoring’, one of a number of tactics often employed by unscrupulous outlets during Black Friday. There are also numerous Black Friday scams it’s worth being aware of.

According to Howard, price anchoring is a pretty common psychological tactic used by retailers to make discounts seem more significant. “They might artificially inflate the original price to create a perception of a larger discount,” she warns. 

To ensure you’re getting a genuinely good deal, Howard recommends checking current and historical prices of items you’re interested in across multiple retailers, using price comparison tools and reading reviews from reputable sources.

“Remember, the key to successful shopping, especially during events like Black Friday, is to plan ahead. Do your research and stick to your budget,” she says. “Don’t be swayed solely by the excitement of the sale. Make sure the purchases align with your long-term financial goals.”