Finance Round-up: Black Friday & beyond

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Photo Credit: Denis Vrublevski, Shutterstock

We can’t ignore it now. Christmas is just over a month away. Wherever you go it seems there is a festival of shopping going on and of course that means spending! Black Friday this year is 24th November when temptation comes along to get us to part with our cash. Should we ignore it completely or use it to our advantage? This month our bloggers will guide you through the whole crazy weekend of retail madness. 

Once Black Friday has been and gone Christmas is only a month away. We got tips and tricks for everyone to get ahead with the best things to buy and those you should avoid. For the big day itself we have some sneaky cheats so you can present the best looking dinner table at a fraction of the cost.

Helen of The Complaining Cow knows a thing or two about how retailers work. When it comes to Black Friday the ‘special offer’ they are advertising may not be such a good deal after all. As Helen states, a Which? investigation after last year’s Black Friday found that only 8% of offers were the lowest prices that those retailers had offered. Don’t be put off by Black Friday completely but be sure you know what you are doing by going through Helen’s checklist.

If there is someone who knows about money and special deals it’s Andy from Be Clever With Your Cash. He knows that in the coming weeks there will be Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday. He’s been putting together some special videos to explain how and when you should be spending your cash in the coming weeks.

If you’re worried about the amount of money you have to spend on Christmas presents then Nicola from The Frugal Cottage suggests sitting down working out a budget for each person. This narrows down the present choices available and helps you not overspend. If you need to earn some extra money for Christmas think about options such as selling unused items around your house and taking some fee-paying surveys.

There are various methods you can use to save for Christmas. Sara of Debt Camel has written a guest post for Paula at Mummy vs Work about ways you can get your savings in place to pay for Christmas. You’ll find the pros and cons of using Christmas clubs, supermarket saving schemes and accounts at banks, building societies and credit unions.

The pressure to spend when it comes to Christmas grows each year. In recent years one of the growing trends is that of Advent calendars for adults. From beauty products to gin samples there’s an Advent calendar for everybody but are they for every budget? Eileen at Your Money Sorted goes through some of the expensive Advent calendars available this year explains why you should think twice about buying one.

We could all do with some tips to help our money go further at this time of year and we’ve got plenty of advice for you. Charli at One Wage Family suggests first of all writing down all of your Christmas expenses from presents to food and any days out. Over at A Journey to a lifetime… Carol has lots of ideas including a cost effective way to deal with buying presents if you have a large family.

What’s the worst thing about buying presents – the cost or finding ideas what to buy? To your rescue comes Sara at Debt Camel. For all ages Sara has a useful and thrifty gift idea. She also covers food and decorations to help you enter 2018 debt free.

At this time of year there’s usually at least one toy catalogue hanging around our house. Having a quick flick through it’s not hard to spot that the most expensive of the toys are rounded up. It’s hard to say no to your kids when they really want something but then not everyone has the finances to be able to go out buy such items. Michelle at Time and Pence shares her favourite places to grab a toy bargain. From online clearance shops to sharing offers with friends and family there’s lots of ways to get those must have toys at knock down prices. If you are looking for general voucher codes then The Money Whisperer Emma has been trialling Pouch. It’s a browser extension that informs you if there are voucher codes available for the site you are visiting. Sometimes I think I spend more time looking for discount codes than I do presents! 

When it comes to shopping it’s not all about high street stores and online retailers. I love a charity shop and rarely walk past one. Also singing the praises of the charity shop is Kelly from Reduced Grub. If you’re looking for stylish, unique and most importantly cheap presents then see what you can find in the charity shop.

For many people what makes Christmas special is the food. It can be quite an expensive time for most people but even more so if you are needing to buy specialist items. For the past Savvy Dad Ollie has been needing to adapt meals for a dairy and gluten free budget. Instead of buying pricey supermarket ready Yorkshire Pudding Ollie shares his recipe for a  wheat, dairy and gluten free version. No Christmas dinner is complete without them!

How are getting along with your Christmas plans? At you worried about your finances at this time of year?

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About Ness Charles

Ness is a former qualified independent financial adviser with many years of experience in pensions. Since having her two children she has gone back to her first love of writing. Ness now writes the blog JibberJabberuk focusing not only on personal finance but also her love of cake baking, gardening and taking photographs on her travels around the UK.