Black Friday ready: how to take the most of the biggest sale of the year

Black Friday ready: how to take the most of the biggest sale of the year

In the world where you get bombarded with sales and promotions urging you to buy-buy-buy, it can be quite difficult to stay sane and not to overspend. I mean… I’m not trying to be “the wise one” and pretend that I’ve never fallen into the marketing trap. Especially when the world of online shopping available to you 24/7 from anywhere makes buying so easy. Come on guys – we’ve all been there and done that!

When I just moved to the Netherlands, I was actually amazed with accessibility of online shopping which was still not always the case back in Moscow (at least, not to the same extent). I was so overwhelmed.. and -boy-oh-buy did I make my dozen of mistakes buying stuff on sale that seemed like a bargain but was clearly not something I needed. When you are a student on a budget, it hits you really hard, but you also learn fast.

I think everyone by now is acquainted with a phenomena of Black Friday – at least, to an extent that it’s the day when you can get discounts for pretty much anything. Initially it originated in the United States as the fourth Friday of November that followed after Thanksgiving that also kicks off the Christmas sales season in the US. In the Digital era, we then got a Cyber Monday that added on some online bargains. Seeing the commercial success of Black Friday, companies across the world quickly picked up the trend and now you have Black Friday pretty much everywhere. This year it started to become not just a day, but more like a week or the whole month of discounts – et voila! – you’re already running around, or intensely scrolling through the websites spending your cash. However, do you want to be smart while doing that?

For that, I prepared for you 5 Tips to make Black Friday/ Cyber Monday a success.

  1. Make a list of items you actually need

Sounds a bit obvious, but… you should actually try doing it and see how many unnecessary purchases you can prevent this way. Start noting items that you need and would buy anyway, regardless of any discounts – it will keep you focused and less overwhelmed when you dive into the whole buying exercise.

2. Based on the list of necessities, create a concrete wishlist using favourite function on the websites, Pinterest, or already put the desired items in the shopping basket

Ideally you want to already know what exactly you want to buy and where rather than search for the desirable items when the discounts kick off. This will save you time, money, and stress. Plus you will be more likely to buy what you want because as it often happens in the heat of sale – things get sold out at a lightning speed.

3. For fashion purchases: focus on are high quality basics and/ or on-trend items

Black Friday is a good opportunity to get one or a few high quality basics made of natural materials – the kind of investment you are unlikely to regret. Alternatively, if you would like to expand your wardrobe with some trends – go for it! This would be a safe way to try something new with a minimum damage to your wallet, given you follow the previous points too 🙂

4. When assessing the items in your basket, ask yourself: “Would I buy it for the full price?”

This is a good way to distinguish a necessity from junk that you pick up just because it’s cheap, which not only saves money, but also space in your house. Win-win, right?!

5. Get ready with the discount codes

Do your discount code hunt well: check the accounts of your favourite bloggers, your mailbox for some promo-emails from your favourite brands, or simply use the power of Google. Having this list ready for check out instead of trying to find the promo codes last minute will once again save you some nerves and decrease the chance the your desired items will be sold out before you know it. 

Girl in an oversized blazer looking at her watch

Sounds like quite a bit of work, but trust me it will pay off with less stress and some money savings. And now… are you ready for Black Friday?!

how to master thrift shopping & stay cool

how to master thrift shopping & stay cool

I always think of vintage and secondhand shopping as treasure hunting: it takes time and energy, it can get overwhelming, you can end up digging out some garbage or leave with nothing because you were looking in the wrong place, but if you do find your treasure you will be generously rewarded. This definitely brings new shopping excitement that is gradually getting replaced by efficiency and easiness of shopping online which allows you to search items by size, trend, colour, style and whatever other parameter is necessary. And don’t get me wrong – online shopping can be also pretty challenging and overwhelming with the amount of choices we get, but it certainly lacks the charm of vintage shopping. 

vintage, shopping, retro, store, thrift shopping, Amsterdam, ootd, secondhand

Whenever I stop by a store with pre-loved items, I can totally get lost and disappear there for hours – and sometimes the result is oh so worth it!

vintage, shopping, store, thrift shopping, accessories

So, why do I love so much about vintage and secondhand when there are so many other alternatives for shopping? Let’s dig into it:

Quality & price: if you look hard enough you can find some really nice natural materials like linen, silk, real leather, suede – and for a fraction of the price at a regular store or online.

It’s unique: Even though the pieces from a vintage shop are not unique by their nature – you can obviously find similar items and maybe even same items – the chances are you will not be twinning with a colleague/ friend/ random stranger on the street.

Fashion with history: Another fun part of buying pre-loved clothes is that they have their own history. I like imagining who could have owned a certain item before and how it ended up in a store – makes it quite special to become a new owner 🙂

Brands: You may get lucky and get some branded clothes in those shops as well. If you are extremely lucky, you can get some real gems: Burberry trench coat is one of those.

It challenges your imagination and creativity: It requires some creativity to style pre-loved items  in modern looks (if that’s what you’re after). And it’s super rewarding.

Trends: Fashion repeats itself. It won’t be a surprise for you if I say that many new things are well forgotten old ones. Use this knowledge & abuse it! Vintage shops will help you find not only timeless classics but also modern trends’ predecessors.

Sustainability: By buying secondhand you can make your small contribution to the environment. I know it’s baby steps, but eventually they will have impact.

Fun: I just love the atmosphere in the thrift shops and take every secondhand shopping as a fashion adventure.  

vintage, shopping, retro, store, thrift shopping, Amsterdam, high heels, hats, colours

“So, what is the trick?” – you may ask. If vintage stores are so so amazing why doesn’t everyone just shop there? As everywhere else there are downsides: it takes energy and time, you may end up buying a lot of unnecessary junk that seemed like a good idea at the time, there’s a risk to get a too old-fashioned (not a bad thing, but not for everyone as well)… Or some people just don’t like the idea of wearing clothes that were worn by someone else before. Moral of the story: thrift shopping is not for all – and really nothing personal here! 

If you do want to give it a crack, I’m happy to share some of my tips and tricks.

Not all vintage & secondhand shops are equally good. This is something that you’ll have to find out through trial and error (or skipping trial and error by reading online reviews). 

Pre-visualise what you would like to find there. This is a rule applicable to any type of shopping: decide what you actually need/ want to buy. This will always help you to not get too overwhelmed by the amount of clothes and not to get completely lost. Think of: type of clothing, style, colour, material.

Think of current trends. This will guide you through the shelves and railings of things and allow you to pick the items that are fashionable today. Think of: floral wrap dresses, sailor caps, boucle blazers, polka dot anything, kimonos, and many many more.

Forget about trends – look for classics. It’s always a good idea to check out if the shop has some of timeless classics: LBD, trench coat, structured bags, vintage Levi’s, etc. You may be pleasantly surprised what you are able to find.

Choose natural materials over synthetics. This is one of must-do’s while secondhand shopping. That floral shirt may be super cute, but if it’s full on polyester – you take your own risk here.

Check the stitching and overall quality. A no-brainer: you don’t want to buy something that has holes or will fall apart after one day. End of story.

Take a friend with you. Treat vintage shopping as an adventure and take your friend on it. If neither of you buys anything in the end, you can always go for a coffee & a cake afterwards. 

vintage, shopping, retro, store, thrift shopping, Amsterdam, sailor hats

All the photos are taken at Penny Lane Vintage in Amsterdam – if you happen to be here, I highly recommend to check it out! This place is definitely one of my personal favourites with an amazing clothes selection, cool interior and great atmosphere. 

Address: 11C Eerste van der Helststraat, Amsterdam

vintage, shopping, retro, store, thrift shopping, Amsterdam