How to shop smarter this festive season

This year, Black Friday falls on 23rd November and Cyber Monday on 26th November.

With many shops offering eye-catching discounts on their best-selling product lines, it’s a good time to tick a few names off your festive shopping list. To give you a head start on the crowds, here are five strategies used by seasoned shoppers to locate the best presents at the best prices.

1. Team up

Shopping as a group allows you to cover more ground and find more potential gifts hiding among the shelves and rails. It also means you’ll always have a second opinion on potential presents you’re undecided about.

2. Make a plan

Before you head to the shops it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for, which retailers to prioritise, and the best route to avoid retracing your steps. If there’s a gift you know someone will like, do a little online research beforehand to compare prices and pinpoint the ideal size, colour or specification. If you decide to buy online, remember to check the last postal dates, especially if an item’s coming from abroad. Another small help is from our online budgeting tool, so you know where you stand from the off.

3. Ask for help

Don’t forget shop assistants are there to help you with your decisions. They know their products and can help you pick out a gift that’ll be remembered for years to come. Even if you’re shopping on the high street, it’s also a good idea to read some online reviews to make sure you know what you’re getting.

4. Beat the crowds

It always pays to be the early bird, especially on sale days like Black Friday when stock levels are sometimes limited. Search online to find out the opening times of your priority shops and aim to get there before the doors open. Most retailers also now have specific Black Friday discount areas on their website so you can take advantage of the sales from the comfort of your home. If you would like to learn more about how to stay safe online, visit our online security centre.

5. Use your credit card

By using your credit card, you can easily keep all your seasonal spending in one place. It will also mean many of your gifts are covered by an extra layer of purchase protection. This can be very useful if you later discover something you’ve bought isn’t up to the standard you expect. Find out about purchase protection.