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Black Friday Survival Guide: Gifts You Do/Don’t Need

Black Friday is approaching, and we are preparing our wallets (read: credit cards) to suffer one of the biggest spending sprees this year.

Readers in the U.S. are probably savvier than their European counterparts, as this shopping extravaganza arrived here relatively recently.

I can’t guarantee my own card’s safety this weekend, when my urge to overindulge will be stronger than my willpower. What I can do is attempt to put some order into this chaos of undoubtedly amazing discounts.

Browsing in advance is always a good idea – big stores started promoting their offers days ago. Spend some time picking your favourites, save the links in a separate ‘Black Friday 2014’ folder and establish a maximum amount you are willing to spend in total. This way, you won’t experience the rage of a latecomer, when you try to snap up every item, thinking that everyone else in the entire world wants the exact same pair of headphones!

I will leave it up to you to decide which items you need personally, but in terms of gifts, I’d always be considerate of how useful/creative/thoughtful your choices are.

My top picks (aka ‘safe choices’):

  1. Tech gadgets (that you are definitely sure that person needs)

Yes, there might be an amazing camera with 70% off RRP, but does the receiver really need an SLR that requires significant further investments? Maybe it’s better to go for a simple (and likely less discounted) model to make sure your gift is actually used and not re-gifted.

  1. Toys

Kids just love toys, so receiving two big colourful toys is definitely better than one (and three better than two, you get the idea…).  As soon as you know the main theme for the toys (kids generally go through phases: aliens, Lego, fluffy animals, board games etc.), you should be safe. Make sure you also pick up some discount wrapping paper and use it generously.

  1. Stocking fillers (a tenner and under)

Every online store will have a “10 and under” section, which is a dream come true for office gifts and stocking fillers. Feel free to go crazy here and choose something you wouldn’t normally go for. It won’t be considered a serious gift, so showing your personality won’t be held against you (in case you do get it wrong).

Avoid (aka ‘money wasters’):

  1. Beauty and perfume

There will be better deals closer to Christmas, so wait it out. Retailers will try to get rid of last year’s stock, so you won’t see the trendiest smells or colours on sale anyway.

  1. Personal grooming items

These gifts are already awkward enough (you are almost implying a person needs a better toothbrush or a hairdryer), so any rushed decisions may be detrimental. Think carefully, if the person really needs this “super-sonic-ultra-whitening-and-extra-buzzing” toothbrush, just because it’s hugely discounted.

  1. Jewellery

Selection of accessories and jewellery requires a bit more thought that a simple click on the biggest deal. Speak to the person in advance, identify what he or she might desire and act accordingly. If it happens to be discounted, well done on getting a good deal (that’s where planning comes handy)!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share my picks with you (my family and friends are likely to be reading this post right now for some clues – hey guys!), but good luck on Friday!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted in: Useful Tricks

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Currently living and working in London, I dedicate a few hours every week to share my gifting knowledge, accumulated over the years of epic gift fails and unexpected triumphs. I'm much better at giving personal recommendations than trying to be generic, so feel free to drop me a line.

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