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Save yourself some pennies by shopping on Black Friday

We Brits have a lot to thank America for; McDonalds, Facebook, The Simpsons, PCs, iPods, iPads … in fact, every Apple product that we couldn’t live without! One of the more recent traditions that’s come from across the pond is Black Friday. If you’re on a budget, Black Friday is a brilliant opportunity to buy your loved ones’ Christmas presents without breaking the bank. But you have to get in quick and be savvy with your shopping – last year Asda sold 10,000 TVs and 11,000 tablets in just one hour of trading! The Monday afterwards is known as Cyber Monday, when the sales move online, so you can spread your spending across the whole weekend to help you get the best deals.

What is Black Friday and where does it come from?

Black Friday marks the beginning of a weekend full of crazy discounts and huge sales, and every year it’s getting bigger in the UK, as more and more retailers join in.

In the US, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year for decades, with stores slashing their prices in time for Christmas. People queue up outside for hours and hours to make sure they’re at the front of the line and then storm their way into the shop, grabbing what they want as they go. There have been fights, injuries and even deaths in the US, but luckily it’s nothing like that over here! And if you don’t fancy queuing outside the shops, you can avoid the crowds altogether by shopping online – a lot of retailers will set their deals live just after midnight, so prepare for a late one!

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday happens on the first Friday after Thanksgiving (28th November in 2014) and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to stockpile Christmas presents for friends and family at low prices, whilst maybe even grabbing a few bargains for yourself! Plus, getting your shopping done early means you can sit back and relax in the run-up to December 25th.

Discounts can vary between 20-60% on some items, depending where you shop, and it’s also worth keeping an eye out for ‘lightening deals’ in the week before Black Friday. Many retailers offer limited time only bargains – sometimes they’re only on offer for an hour, so you have to be quick!

If you don’t get everything you want, don’t worry, as the following Monday (1st December in 2014) is known as Cyber Monday or Mega Monday, when the sale moves online. Plus, if a sale’s already online, new deals will usually be added. In fact, last year Amazon hit 4.1 million sales on Cyber Monday, which beat its previous record of 4 million set just 3 days previously on Black Friday!

What does the name mean?

The name itself has unknown origins – some say it’s the day that retailers move from the red into the black (meaning in profit). Others believe it came from a nickname given to it by the police in Philadelphia in reference to the bad traffic and pedestrian presence caused by shoppers crowding the streets to find the best deals.

Who’s taking part?

Some of the biggest retailers, such as Amazon, Argos, Very, Currys, Tesco and John Lewis, are in on the action.

To avoid missing out, it’s a good idea to follow retailers on Facebook or Twitter, as they’ll make any big announcements on there. You might also want to sign up to a mailing list on a retailer’s website, as they’ll send emails out to keep you informed with dates and offers.

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