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How to get ready for Black Friday

With discounts on everything from tech to fashion, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big days in the retail calendar.

Taking place on 24 November and 27 November 2023, an increasing number of retailers are offering discounts on a range of goods.

If you’re thinking of taking part in the sales this year, a little bit of prep can help you keep on top of your spending.

5 tips to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

1. Set a budget – and stick to it

Before you start spending, take some time to work out what you can comfortably afford. Make sure to factor in any upcoming costs in your budget, or any costs which may rise over the winter. Giving yourself a spending limit may also help you decide what to buy – or not buy.

Our budget planner can help you see where your money’s going, and how much you may have left over.

Explore: Managing your money through winter

If you have the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app, you can use the smart money tools to help you keep on top of your spending. For example, the Balance After Bills feature can show you how much money you could have available once your regular standing orders and Direct Debits are taken into account, which could help when planning your money. 

If you decide to use a credit cardBuy now pay later, or you're planning to take out a loan to cover any costs, remember you'll have to repay anything you spend. You may also be charged interest if you carry debt from month to month.

You should also be careful about who you borrow money from. To protect you and your money, lenders in the UK are authorised and regulated by the FCA. Before you borrow anything, you can check the lender is listed on the Financial Services Register.

Explore: What is a loan shark?

2. Decide what you need beforehand

After you’ve worked out what you can afford to spend, look at what you actually need. It’s easy to get swept up in all the offers, so deciding what you want to buy beforehand can help stop you needlessly spending.

Try setting spending limits on certain items or prioritise what you need. That way, you’ll buy the most important things before you blow your budget.

3. Look at who’s participating in the sales

Not every shop will be holding a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. If you can, research beforehand. For example, you may want to:

  • see who’s participating – many shops advertise beforehand
  • look at what discounts participating stores are likely to have
  • find out where you can get the items you need – knowing this may give you a better chance of buying them before they run out of stock
  • sign up to newsletters – they may give you a preview of sale items or offer specific discount codes
  • compare the prices of items to make sure you’re getting the best deal

4. Keep your money safe while you shop

Be aware of purchase scams this Black Friday. These are when you pay for an item or service but it doesn't arrive, and your money is lost. 

Some Black Friday scams may:

  • have limited availability or special discounts that appear too good to be true
  • put pressure on you to send payment before seeing goods, often using less secure means such as a bank transfer

Remember to: 

Paying by credit card offers greater protection than other payment methods. If you buy an item costing more than £100 and less than £30,000 on your credit card (even just part of it), your purchase may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

5. Make sure your items are protected

If you’re looking to buy specific items, you may want to consider taking out insurance. This can protect your items against a range of unforeseen events, such as theft or damage. 

If you already have insurance, it’s a good idea to review your policy when buying potentially high-value items, such as tech or jewellery, to make sure you have the cover you need.  

Confirming your online card payments

If you’re paying for items online with an HSBC debit or credit card, we may ask you to confirm the purchase by logging on to our app, or by entering a one-time passcode. This is to confirm that it’s you who is using your card to make the payment.

What to do if you don’t recognise a transaction

If you’ve bought a few items, checking your bank statement and your budget can help you make sure you’ve not overspent. But if you don’t recognise a transaction from your account, there are a few things you can do, such as: 

  • remind yourself what you were doing around the time the transaction was made – looking at any other transactions from around this time may help
  • check with any other account holders to see if they made the transaction
  • check the name the retailer trades under (retailers sometimes trade under a different name, which could be the name that appears on your statement)

If you’re still not sure about a transaction, you’ll need to wait until the payment’s been processed then get in touch with your bank. If you’re an HSBC customer, you can raise a dispute here.