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Love it or loathe it, Black Friday has become a major event in the pre-Christmas calendar. So check out our survival guide and you’ll be fighting fit for Friday.

Black Friday – what is it?

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping period. It takes place the day after American Thanksgiving, and this year it falls on 25th November. Most retailers celebrate the event by offering massive discounts on everything from toys to technology.

Nobody’s quite sure where the term “Black Friday” came from. Some people think it refers to the day when retailers traditionally move from annual loss into profit – when their accounts go from being “in the red” to “in the black”. But anyone who works in a shop will tell you it’s called Black Friday because it’s the worst day of the year.

Experts predict that Brits will spend over £1 billion on Back Friday this year. So we can expect shoppers to hit the headlines again, as they battle each other to get their hands on the latest gadgets and gizmos.

Top Black Friday tips

If you’re heading to the high street on the big day, keep your cool! Don’t buy something just because it’s half price – because however large the discount, it’s not a bargain if you didn’t need it in the first place. Use Black Friday to save money on things you were already planning to buy.

If you’ve sensibly assigned a budget to each item on your Christmas shopping list, challenge yourself to find as many as you can at discounted prices – and see how much you can save. And stay focused – don’t be led astray by “sensational deals” on stuff that’s not on your list. Because you could end up blowing your budget by lunchtime.

Shop safely online

You’ll find plenty of deals online on Black Friday, but beware – because just like the thieves and pickpockets who prey on unwary high street shoppers, online fraudsters know Black Friday offers rich pickings. So follow these three simple steps.

1 - Secure your device

If you surf the web using a PC or tablet, make sure your anti-virus software is up to date. And if you’re using a smartphone, always accept the operating system updates. Sure, they’re annoying, but they keep you and your data safe from hackers.

2 - Secure websites

If you’re buying an item online, make sure the website is secure. Look at the url in the address bar at the top of your screen. If it begins with “https”, it’s secure. If it starts with “http” - without the “s” - it’s not secure, so don’t enter any personal or financial information.

3 - Secure payments

Even if you’re purchasing from a trusted website, using a secure payment system like PayPal can give you an extra layer of protection. PayPal is safe and simple to use, and once you’ve set up an account, you’ll never again have to share your debit or credit card details online.

 

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Representative example: £400 loan repayable over 6 months. 6 monthly payments of £126.40. Rate of interest 179% p.a. fixed. Representative 991% APR. Total amount payable is £758.40.