Black Friday – a day of shopping paradise or a frenzied wrestle to get what you want off the shelves before someone else does. It’s fair to say most of us have a love/hate relationship with the tradition brought to us by our cousins across the pond. 

Black Friday first came to the UK way back in 2010 but we didn’t really embrace it until 2013 when the American parent company of Asda (Walmart) decided to bring us Brits deals that would ‘change our lives’. Cue frantic grabbing and crying in the aisles; it was a time when lots of us probably questioned whether a 42-inch TV or a sing-along Elsa doll really was worth getting into a fracas for.

The actual term ‘Black Friday’ didn’t come about until the 1960s but the day has always been the Friday after Thanksgiving (this year, it’s the 25th November 2016). It marks the start of the hectic Christmas shopping season in the U.S. and is rounded off on the Monday after Thanksgiving by Cyber Monday (another trend that’s made its way over here that we can give thanks for). The ‘black’ in ‘Black Friday’ refers to the black ink used by stores to show that they made a profit when they came to tot up their sales (as opposed to red for a loss), or so the story goes.

But whether or not you like to brave the elements and fight your way through hordes of fellow shoppers, or prefer to shop online in your pjs and slippers from your front room; there’s no denying that there are bargains to be had on Black Friday. Last year we spent £3.3 billion and this year we’re predicted to spend £5 billion. So, what’s your strategy for getting the best bargains?

  • The Planner: planners are smart, if you are one, then you’ve probably already scoured the internet for all your loved ones’ presents. You’ve probably even put everything in your virtual basket ready to click ‘go to checkout’ on the big day – well done you, how terribly organised (but where’s the fun?)
  • The Ditherer: ditherers go to the shops but probably didn’t plan to. If you’re a ditherer you probably have a list (sort of) and wander aimlessly around shops ticking the odd thing off but can’t quite decide whether that board game is quite right for the mother-in-law. You usually come home disappointed and tired and have concluded that there’s ‘nothing to buy anyway.’
  • The Impulse Buyer: you’re a marketing department’s dream – swayed by pretty packaging and the ‘bargain of the century’. You may have a list but it’s probably in your head and gets updated as you go along. You’ll come back with masses of gifts but nothing very useful.

Of course, when it comes to buying stuff, you need the means. But unless you’ve been organised enough to stockpile funds throughout the year, Christmas shopping can sometimes be a stretch, which is why it’s a good reminder to get your finances in order.

Just in time for Black Friday, we have an exclusive deal on the MBNA Platinum credit card until 31 December 2016. If you have an existing debt that you want to pay lower interest on, why not move it to a card that charges 0% p,a. on balance transfers such as the MBNA Platinum Credit Card which offers a staggering 37 months interest free with just a 1.49%* transfer fee as long as you make the transfer within the first 60 days.

Not only that, but the card also offers 0% p.a. for up to 20 months from when you open your account on a money transfer made from your credit card within the first 60 days (just remember that a 4% money transfer fee does apply.) This could provide you with that additional cash boost that you need before Christmas to help the festive period go that little bit smoother.

You can check your eligibility before you apply for this card. You must be over 18 and hold a UK bank or building society account, as well as a good credit history, but as long as you tick all those boxes, this could be a smart offer for you. Just be sure to check the T&Cs before applying.

So, whether you’ve got a debt to move or just need a bit of credit to tide you over the festive season, check out what other credit card deals are on offer before you start splashing the cash. And without sounding like a Christmas turkey – you should always make sure you pay off your credit card in full or at the very least, the minimum amount on time. Remember, a credit card isn’t just for Christmas, used wisely you can spread the cost over time – just be a responsible credit card holder.

*Representative example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable).
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