We are a gloomy bunch, aren’t we? Black Friday is a brilliant time for Christmas shopping, and a lot of people, myself included, rely on bargain shopping events to stock up on household tech, to get some early Christmas presents bought in, or maybe just to indulge ourselves.
So it’s been a bit depressing to see all the headlines popping up this week telling us how Black Friday is all a bit of a marketing con, and it’s not the cheapest time of year to buy things.
Well, I write about shopping deals for a living, and I can happily say that’s absolute rubbish. Sort of.
It’s true, some of the deals you see popping up during the Black Friday season have popped up before at other times of the year, and some of them aren’t that good at all. But with a sprinkle of research, a healthy dose of shopping around, and maybe a modicum of self-restraint, you absolutely can save a fortune.
And that’s exactly what I’ve done this year. I’ve been saving up for Black Friday deals, because I know it’s one of the best times to buy all sorts of household items, and I can’t think of a better time to get my Christmas-shopping chores out of the way.
Some things I’ve ordered are still due to arrive, some deals haven’t quite landed yet, but here’s a brief run-down of what I’ve saved money on during the Black Friday run-up so far.
Amazon Fire TV 55-inch 4-series 4K UHD smart TV – was £549.99, now £149.99
This is the one I’m most excited about. And it’s the best example of a way of shutting up even the hardest of Black Friday sceptics.
I’ve been flirting with the idea of a new TV for my living room for ages and, I’ll admit, this is a bit of an impulse buy, but I just can’t miss a deal like that.
It’s invitation only, so I guess you’ve got to be in Amazon’s good books. But if I don’t get my invitation accepted I may shed a tear. It’s the only way I’m ever going to be able to afford a 55″ TV any time soon.
Amazon Echo devices – up to 60% off
I’ve had Google smart home tech in my house for years. In pretty much every room. But in the last few months or so it’s becoming very unreliable, and I’m getting sick of it.
So I’ve started a steady programme of replacing my displays, speakers and other smart tech with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled kit. And I’m pleased I did it, Amazon’s devices are proving so much more reliable already.
Amazon does do some pretty good deals on its Echo devices from time to time, but the Black Friday sales have been amazing. I can’t afford to stock up on as many as I like, but it’s been a great opportunity to grab some of the devices I need the most.
A massive Photobox collage canvas – was £99.99, now £29.99
Here’s another deal I’ve been hanging on for. My mother loves looking at pictures of her family, so I’ve created a collage of us all and I know for a fact she’ll have it hanging up in her living room for years to come. It’s the perfect Christmas present.
Normally, there’s no way I could afford an 80cm x 80cm canvas print, but at just £29.99 on a Black Friday deal, mummy dearest really is going to get spoilt this year.
SwitchBot Outdoor Spotlight Cam – was £89.99, now £62.99
I absolutely love these little cameras, and I’ve already got a couple dotted around the house. But I really fancied another one to keep an eye on my two dogs with while I’m up in my office. One of them’s a bit of a thief, but I can set this up in my kitchen and I’ll know when he’s trying to get on the worktop.
They have a massive internal battery, which will last for weeks, and they’re even waterproof, so they can be used outdoors. It’s basically the best wireless camera I’ve ever used.
Truth be told, the 30% off Black Friday deal isn’t unheard of with SwitchBot, I have seen this sort of discount before, but the joy of Black Friday is you know when the discount will land, so you can save up for it and be ready to jump on it.
Eeambrite Multicolour Rotating Falling Snow Projector – was £32.99, now £26.39
I’ve always fancied getting a projector to light up a maple tree in my front garden over Christmas, but I knew Black Friday would be the best time to grab a decent one that would last without breaking the bank.
This one arrived a few days ago and it’s absolutely awesome. I’m thrilled with it. It has a remote control to change the rotation and colours, a long cable, and a spike to stick it in the ground, facing whichever way you want.
I can’t wait until December 1st, when we put our decorations up. This will be a great centrepiece in the display.
Hogwarts Legacy Nintendo Switch (with a free hat) – was £49.99, now £41.99
OK, so this is a deal that might crop up periodically throughout the year, but I needed to buy this game for my niece and waiting until Black Friday was definitely a smart move.
And it really was. Not only did I save nearly a tenner, but she’ll get a free sorcerer’s hat, which she’s going to absolutely love.
Click and Grow plant pods – 40% off bundles
My wife and I are a bit obsessed with our Click and Grow smart garden. We use it to give us a plentiful supply of fresh herbs for cooking, and a steady stream of fresh greens for her pet lizard.
We get through quite a few of the pods it uses to grow each plant from, and we always wait for the best discounts before we stock up.
We’ve also bought a few smart gardens for people as presents over the years, so with the Black Friday discounts we’ve been able to get a few stocking filler ideas sorted.
The deal is 40% off 10 or more plant pod packs, and each pack contains three pods. This way we can keep growing plants indoors for the best part of a year, and still have a few to give away. Saving lots of money in the process.
They’ve got some good discounts on the smart gardens themselves, too.
Traintrackr train and weather maps – 20% off for Black Friday
I will happily admit, this one’s very much a personal indulgence, but I’m a bit obsessed with weather and I absolutely adore Traintrackr’s live rain maps, which show you where the showers are over the country in real time.
It’s a fabulous little company that started out making live maps of all the world’s major rail networks, with LEDs lighting up to show you where the trains are running. That didn’t interest me much, but a live rain map? I’m obsessed. It can even be set to track snow, wind speed and cloud cover.
I know for a fact it’s rare Traintrackr does any discount deals, so I absolutely had to jump on their new large UK map with a 20% discount.
I gathered up some birthday money and raided a handful of piggy banks and now it sits in my hall, so I know if I’m going to get wet while I’m out walking the dogs. It’s honestly one of my favourite things.