At RIFT, we know a thing or two about helping people make the most of their money. That’s exactly what we do when we claim your tax refunds back from HMRC each year. Of course, once you’ve got your refund cash, there’s still the little matter of spending it to consider.

The Black Friday sales are an amazing way to grab top-quality treasures at bargain-basement prices. Of course, if you dive in without a plan of attack, they’re also a pretty good way of dumping all your Christmas savings into a load of unwanted tat. It’s worth putting the thought in ahead of the November 27th kick-off date, so the Black Friday feeding frenzy doesn’t bleed your refund dry for nothing.

How to find the best deals

There are actually quite a few pretty good ways of doing your Black Friday homework online. Websites like PriceSpy or the ridiculously named CamelCamelCamel can give you comparisons for a huge range of products, for instance. You can even use sites like these to look back in time and check what the items you’re interested in were going for in previous years.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got specific shops you trust and keep coming back to, you can follow them on social media to get an early heads-up on deals.

Picking the right bargains in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday free-for-alls can often feel like a bit of a gamble. As with any kind of bet, though, it pays to check the form of the runners and riders before slapping your money down.

How much can you save?

Last year, for instance, we saw some of the best bargains in the high-tech entertainment arena. 75-inch 4K smart TVs like the Philips Ambilight were selling at about £600 off their standard price in the 2019 sales. For gaming fans, an Xbox One X with Forza Horizon 4 and Lego Speed Champions would’ve run you just £299 at John Lewis. That’s a whopping 32% off right there!

If you preferred your tech a little more portable back in 2019, you could’ve scored an Apple Watch Series 3 for £189, down from £279 in the Black Friday sales.

Most anticipated bargains in 2020

With the world teetering on the brink of another generation of console launches before the end of the year, the smart money says current-gen gear could be worth keeping an eye on. There’s still years of life left in the humble PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X. Both have amazing libraries of games to explore, with developers using the full weight of experience to squeeze every last drop of power out of the hardware.

Of course, Black Friday’s not all about electronics, and not every household’s packed with tech-heads and pro-level gamers. Judging from recent history, you could well be spotting major bargains in every product line from home appliances to fashion and beauty.

How to avoid wasting money

Black Friday research is as much about people as presents, and a great deal on an unwanted gift is still a waste of cash. It might sound obvious, but talk to your friends and family before splashing out on cut-price gear.

Far too many of us are getting swept up in “limited availability” offers and even outright scams around Black Friday. Again, a little research can save you a lot of wasted money – and not just your own. If you spot a scam your mates might fall for, run up the red flag to warn them off. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are full of dodgy dealings, from inflated discount claims to flat-out fake sellers. They’re counting on you to panic-buy without thinking first, so don’t open your wallet until you’ve checked it’s both worthwhile and safe.

Wise shoppers cover the cost with a tax refund

Most importantly, remember that the biggest waste of money is to leave it on the taxman’s table at Christmas. Talk to RIFT to get your refund claim rolling the right way. It can take HMRC a couple of months to process a typical tax refund, so get your information to us as soon as possible because November the 27th is closer than it seems. If you're wondering 'Am I due a tax rebate?' Find out for free today with RIFT.

While you’re at it, remember that RIFT’s Refer a Friend reward scheme’s a fantastic way to help your mates get back what they’re owed. At the same time, it’s an ideal opportunity to score a little extra Christmas cash for yourself. Every time someone you’ve referred to us makes a refund claim with RIFT, you get a £50 reward. Every 5 people you refer who claim with us will score you a £150 bonus on top!

It’s more important now than ever to look after each other. Stay connected, stay healthy and stay on the look-out for more tax help and advice from RIFT.

We've been claiming tax rebates and filing tax returns since 1999, making us the UK's leading experts in tax.