As we near the end of another year, we edge closer toward the season of ridiculously tempting, bank-destroying online sales. For those that like to live on the edge and leave gift-purchasing duties to the last minute, this will suit you well as retailers race to offer the lowest prices on great gift ideas in the name of questionable holidays, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here's what's coming up.
Singles Day (11 November)
First up is Singles Day, which like the name suggests, was initially aimed at single people in China but has since expanded into another excuse to grab your hard-earned cash. It's celebrated on 11 November every year and typically, Chinese sites, like AliBaba, offer huge sales on a range of products. Other sites, like eBay and ShopBack, have started to join in too and offer a range of discounts.
AliExpress by AliBaba is offering up to 90 per cent on select deals so get in while you can.
Click Frenzy (12 November)
The next big sale after Singles Day, exactly one day later, is Click Frenzy. If you still have money left over or didn't find what you really needed on Singles Day, Click Frenzy offers you ridiculous deals if you're a fast clicker. Once it goes live on Tuesday 12 November, you'll get access to some one-off deals with up to 99 per cent off from major retailers. How crazy can the deals truly be, I hear you say? Think like $12 iPhones and $10 TVs.
Of course, none of the sales can be publicly seen at this moment but last year's sales included storewide discounts on clothing stores such as ASOS, The Iconic and Rebel Sports as well as flights, travel tours, tech, kitchenware, liquor and video games. So, basically everything you need in life.
To make sure you have a chance to score yourself a bargain, sign up for a Click Frenzy account and wait for all the email alerts to roll in. But maybe make yourself a new email for the saga because it's going to fill 'er up very quickly.
Black Friday (29 November) & Cyber Monday (2 December)
What started out as a US tradition after Thanksgiving has turned into a worldwide phenomenon conveniently placed within a month of Christmas. Black Friday is another excuse for online retailers to force you into a fugue shopping state leading into the weekend. Prices are slashed and deals you didn't know you needed (and probably don't actually need) are offered in abundance.
Similarly, Cyber Monday which falls on the following Monday turns the weekend into an expensive four-day stretch with many sites smooshing the two once-separate sale occasions into one. So, what sort of sales do you see of the online shopping world's version of a long weekend? Sites like Amazon, eBay and Catch naturally offer huge sitewide discounts while most other sites advertise handy deals. You can expect Aussie retailers such as Kogan, Harvey Norman and Big W to join in on the fun too. If you need to understand what sort of deals we're taking, Microsoft slashed more than $2000 off Surface Studio desktops last year. Yeah.
To make sure you're in the running for the bargains on hand, make sure you're signed up to the usual suspects like Amazon, eBay, Catch and you're checking back on Lifehacker to see if anything's announced.
To get the most out of the major upcoming sales, it's a good idea to prepare. Think about what you've actually been meaning to buy, what you're needing and what you'd like and write down a list. It's also a good idea to figure out who you're buying gifts this year and put down some ideas for what they might like to receive.
When the sales start up, consult your list and methodically tick off what you need. Does it sound really amazing and it's super cheap but you don't actually need it? Then, don't add it to the cart. It's best to weigh what you'll actually use because no matter how cheap it is, it's a waste of money if you're just going to inevitably throw it out.
Also important to note is that these sorts of sales are designed to overwhelm you with moving, colourful and distracting adverts and images so keeping a clear head will make you a professional and efficient bargain hunter. So, while there's a urge to purchase items immediately before they run out, a good tip is to add it to your cart, tally it up with shipping and then wait a second.
Give it a quick Google and see if you're actually really saving any money on the regular price or if a site is artificially inflating the price to make it look a good deal. There are some regular culprits that exploit loopholes in the rules around displaying prices and will deliberately make it tough to figure out whether it's a good deal but if you keep your head cool, you'll prevail past their bullshit.
In a few short weeks, the world's biggest shopping event is set to return for another year. Over 96 bargain-filled hours, hundreds of retailers will be slashing their prices by up to 90% with some big-ticket items going for a fraction of their RRP. Here's everything you need to know, including the best sites to bookmark, online shopping tips and the dates to mark in your calendar.