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10 top tips for making the most of Black Friday

Black Friday is just around the corner so its a great time to start thinking about the creative tools you might want to get a good deal on. The peak trading period often brings heavy discounts on creative goodies, and we are here to make sure you find what you need at the best possible price. 

We've got some top tips for grabbing a bargain during this shopper's Shangri-la, but before we get going, you'll want to bookmark our Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 (opens in new tab) page. Over there you'll find all the details of when the event kicks off, plus all the insider info on the expected deals this year. We will be adding the latest deals as soon as we find them, on products specifically for web and graphic designers, as well as traditional, digital and VFX artists too – to save you from having to spend your precious time sorting through the options. 

So, here we go with our top bargain-hunting suggestions.

01. Save the date

Black Friday traditionally falls on the Friday directly after Thanksgiving, which means this year it will fall on 29 November, and Cyber Monday on 2 December. That said, recently the entire month of November has been laced with great deals, with retailers starting to drop prices earlier each year. Amazon Black Friday, for example, always seems to kick off early, and for 2019 we expect virtually every day in the month of November to have a Black Friday flavour in the Amazon world. 

02. Use Google Alerts

These are particularly useful if you're after a specific item, like a shiny new MacBook Pro (see here for the MacBook Pro deals we expect this Black Friday (opens in new tab)). Simply head to Google Alerts (opens in new tab), enter your alert queries separated by a comma (eg Black Friday, MacBook Pro), click 'show options', choose 'As-it-happens' from the 'How often' drop-down, and click Create alert. Now you'll get an email every time your selected target appears in a new article.

03. Do your research

A pair of Wacom graphics tablets

Which Wacom to buy? Research your options in advance

It's a bad idea to sit back and twiddle your thumbs before pouncing into action on Black Friday. So you've decided you want a new graphics tablet, how will you know whether the one that has 70 per cent off in a flash sale is any good? HURRY – LIMITED STOCK LEFT!! 

Don't panic – just make sure you've done your research in advance so that you can tell your Ugees from your Huions, and your XP-Pens from your Wacoms. Read reviews from reputable sources, like 3D World (opens in new tab) and ImagineFX (opens in new tab), and ask colleagues and friends for their advice.

04. Don't just stick to Amazon

For many, the eye of the Black Friday storm is Amazon. Some will head to the online shopping behemoth during November and set up camp there, only moving to click refresh. But Amazon is not necessarily the best place to find offers on high-quality, niche items specific to the design discipline of your choice, so try manufacturers' websites like Wacom, Dell and Lenovo, and electronics specialists like Currys, Ebuyer and Overclockers.

05. Be sure it's a bargain

Though that laptop might seem to be one of the best Black Friday Microsoft deals of 2019 (opens in new tab), don't just frantically enter your card details and hit BUY because its got a BLACK FRIDAY banner above it. Is it actually a great deal? Is it even reduced? Do a quick price comparison on Google or comparison websites before you buy. Often, if you add your item to basket, it'll be reserved for a short time allowing you the chance to verify the price – but ensure that's the case before leaving the checkout procedure.

06. To bundle or not

Camera with accessories

Cameras are often offered in bundle deals with masses of accessories – decide if this is right for you

The way to make the biggest savings on electronics is to buy a bundle – but do you need all those accessories or software? If it's something you'll never use, you may not be getting the bargain you expect. And don't assume you'll be able to make money back on unwanted accessories by selling them on eBay, either – many other deal-hunters will have that idea too, driving down resale prices or making it impossible to find a buyer.

07. Decide what you want and stick to it

It is all too easy to get distracted when shopping – it's no secret to say that confusion is a deliberate tool utilised to great effect in retail – but the best way to snare a bargain is to decide what you want (or, even better, need) and stay on target until you find that exact item at exactly the price you're willing to pay. Then buy it and shut down your laptop. Easier said than done… 

08. Learn to love previous-gen tech

A MacBook Air 2017

A year-old laptop could be an upgrade on your existing computer, if the price is right

Having the latest gear is very, very cool – but if the previous-generation Wacom Cintiq (opens in new tab) or Surface Pro (opens in new tab) is an upgrade from your existing tech, it could be worth foregoing the very newest model in exchange for a recently supplanted version – at a discount. In the case of upgradeable items such as MacBooks (opens in new tab), aim for the fastest processor and biggest SSD and RAM options on the older model and you could end up with a better spec than the new model at a lower price. You can even start investigating your options early with our post detailing what you can expect from the best Black Friday Apple deals (opens in new tab). Win!

09. Think outside the box

Consumer electronics is what made Black Friday a global phenomenon, but you'll find plenty more special offers in other areas too. Keep an eye on creative software companies' websites, such as Adobe deals (opens in new tab), Ucraft, Corel, Boris FX and Reallusion; all of whom have offered Black Friday discounts in recent years. And remember to check third-party sellers, too.

10. Look into learning

Creative software is not the only area to monitor – e-learning platforms may also slash prices around the Black Friday period. Check the likes of Gnomon Workshop, EnvatoTuts+, Lynda, Pluralsight and Udemy for deals (see our round up of the best online art schools (opens in new tab)). Two years ago the wonderful Miss Led (opens in new tab) also discounted one of her fantastic video courses, so ensure you're scanning social media for #BlackFriday to find out about this kind of offer.

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Craig Stewart is a writer, SEO strategist and content marketer, and is a former editor of Creative Bloq. Craig has written about design, typography, tech and football for publications including Creative Bloq, T3, FourFourTwo and DSG, and he has written a book on motoring for Haynes. When he's not writing, you'll usually find Craig under his old car learning about DIY repairs the hard way.