Top tips on how to grab a Black Friday bargain

Black Friday sales are in full swing before the big day, and with the cost of living still biting, many Australians are looking to save a few dollars.

A national Choice survey found more than 60 per cent of people are interested in buying something during the Black Friday sales, with just over a third finding the discounts worth waiting for.

Last year, Aussies made 40 per cent more purchases during Black Friday and Cyber Monday than during Boxing Day sales, according to ecommerce and logistics platform Shippit.

But just because products on your wish list are marked down doesn’t mean you should be spending your hard-earned cash without some consideration.

“While there are certainly some good savings to be had in the Black Friday sales, it’s important to shop smart and take the time to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible,” Choice editorial director Mark Serrels said.

“When it comes to shopping the Black Friday sales, make sure you do your research into the items you’re considering purchasing, compare prices across stores, and don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s on sale.”

With the peak of sales looming on Friday, here are Choice’s top tips to keep in mind while bargain hunting.

Compare prices

Before you run to the checkout clutching a smartwatch that’s been marked half price, take a breath – and a minute to do a quick internet search.

You just might find the same product cheaper elsewhere.

“If you’re planning to purchase a particular product, whether it’s a kettle or a washing machine, make sure you compare prices across multiple stores,” Serrels said.

“The first place you look may offer a 10 per cent discount, but there’s a good chance it could be reduced by 20 per cent elsewhere.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount

It doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount – even if the item you’re purchasing is already on sale.

Even outside of sales periods, some big brands allow staff to negotiate prices with customers.

“The best way to do this is to head in store and ask them if it’s the best price they can do,” Serrels said.

“You’ll find you can usually shave a bit off the purchase price, particularly with big items such as mattresses and whitegoods.”

Brand names aren’t everything

Whether it be a T-shirt or dishwashing liquid, an option from a more expensive brand isn’t guaranteed to be better than a cheap home-brand alternative.

“Don’t buy on brand name alone – make sure you take the time to do some research and check reviews online before you settle on a purchase.”

Avoid low-value extended warranties 

Choice research shows up to seven in 10 Australians wrongly believe that paying for an extended warranty gives them extra protections on their purchase.

Serrels said retailers often offer extended warranties for purchase of large products such as TVs or fridges.

But these warranties often aren’t worth purchasing, as they usually provide the same or weaker protections than Australian shoppers already have under consumer law.

“If someone is trying to sell you an extended warranty, ask them what rights it will give you beyond the ones you already have under the consumer law, and think carefully before saying yes to the purchase.”

Watch out for scam websites

Australians have lost more than $429 million to scams so far this year, according to Scamwatch.

Online shopping scams are the third-most reported type of scams.

“Fake websites impersonating popular retailers have become far more common and sophisticated than they used to be, so take care when shopping online,” Serrels said.

“Keep an eye out for unusual URLs, big discounts, missing information or poor formatting and spelling, which may indicate the website is not legitimate.”

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