The pre-Christmas shopping season begins on Black Friday at the latest, with brands and stores outdoing each other with special offers and discounts. Six tips will help you to spend money in a shopping madness with a clear conscience and sustainably.

The big Christmas shopping takes place mainly online, the starting signal is Black Friday on November 25, 2022 at the latest. Criticism of the shopping event has increased significantly in recent years, the key terms here being dubious deals, fake shops, cybercrime and irresponsible consumption . Therefore, the Neobank N26 gives six tips that will help you to shop sustainably, safely and cheaply.

A simple but crucial thing to avoid impulse buying or even guilt is to make a list of items you really need. Jen Christoph, Director of Product at N26, recommends regularly questioning the wish list: “Wishes and material needs are often influenced by external factors such as advertising, opinion leaders, societal pressures, but also by the way we were raised, and the beliefs we’ve been taught. Therefore, we should try to question what makes us want certain things. In this way we can promote a healthier and more sustainable way of life.”

Especially on shopping campaign days like Black Friday, tempting offers and discounts can quickly tempt you to make a purchase. In order to keep the shopping spree under control, Christoph recommends setting a specific budget for the shopping spree in advance. Here it is important to know the monthly income as well as the fixed and variable expenses, because this is the only way you can set a monthly spending budget for shopping. You can find support in the apps of many banks and financial service providers, which sort income and expenses according to segments or with which sub-accounts (spaces) can be created for specific (savings) goals.

Once the spending budget and the selection of the desired products have been determined, it is advisable to research prices and shops at an early stage. Because some stores cheat by raising the prices a few weeks before Black Friday in order to then advertise with a significant discount. Due to the previous increase, the price is then in reality hardly below the usual offer. Another trick that is often used during the shopping event is that additional costs are added at check-out or have to be paid separately, which in turn reduces the discount. For these reasons, it pays to know the regular market prices and understand the terms. Jen Christoph knows that the average discount on Black Friday is 25 percent. As such, you should not be too easily fooled by intrusive advertisements touting a much higher discount.

High discounts can indicate fraudulent offers. The expert warns that crooks are particularly aggressive online during the sale season. “For example, fake shops usually only have an online presence in the form of a fraudulent website and they lack public ratings, interactions and information,” says Christoph. “In addition, they often only offer one payment method – usually prepayment, which makes it difficult for people to claim the money back in the event of a crime.” Continue to interact with the platform and never click on links sent via email or SMS.

If you want to be particularly sustainable, platforms like eBay offer a money and resource-saving alternative to buying new. Important: Make sure that the transaction is processed entirely via the platform. In the event of fraud, the platform operator can intervene. Also, ID documents or bank card photos should never be shared to protect your identity.

Some brands and stores have decided to use Black Friday in an alternative way to do good. For example, outdoor brand Patagonia donates profits from Black Friday sales to charity. Komrads, a sneaker brand, is taking its online store completely offline during Black Friday, referencing sustainable blogs, documentaries, and podcasts. Ikea enables its customers to return used Ikea items to the “Circular Hub” under the motto “Buy Back Friday”. In return, they receive a credit note.

Conclusion: If you start with a little planning, discipline and knowledge of fraudulent scams in shopping events like Black Friday, you can benefit from discounts and special offers and save money – and with a clear conscience.

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