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The Bargain Hunter: Black Friday advice aplenty, plus LOL Dolls and baby pensions

Set your kids up for retirement

It may be hard to imagine your child retiring, but regular contributions to their pension can secure their financial future. Knowing they have a pension in place will give them greater freedom over their money when they are younger. Under current rules, parents can pay £2,880 a year into each child’s pension, which can take the form of a self-invested personal pension (Sipp), or a stakeholder pension, among other types. The child benefits from 20 per cent tax relief on top of this, taking it to £3,600. If you did this every year until they turned 18 and then cease contributions, the fund would be worth £393,827 when they’re 55, even if they haven’t made any investments of their own in the interim.

Beat the rush: pre-fill your basket

Savvy shoppers seeking Black Friday bargains swear by pre-filling their baskets with rumoured discounts so they can push through the order as soon as deals go live. ‘Adding items to your basket beforehand gives you time to research whether they’re the right products with the right spec and check the price history, all without being pressured into an impulse buy,’ says Faith Archer of moneysaving blog muchmorewithless.co.uk

Is the price right? Study history before you buy

You can do your homework before Black Friday by studying historical prices of the items you have on your wish-list. After all, big-name retailers don’t have to make their sales prices the best they’ve ever been — just attractive enough to lure in the shoppers in significant numbers. To help you check the price history of a product and compare prices to ensure the discount is worthwhile, price-tracking websites like pricehistory.co.uk and uk.camelcamelcamel.com will show if your product has ever sold for less. While you’re playing detective, it’s also worth checking offeroftheday.co.uk, which collects together all the best discounts from UK retailers.

Clear out your closet and cash in

If your wardrobe is fit to bursting, why not have an in-depth audit of your clothes? If you don’t fancy a full-on excavation and evaluation, try this: turn all your clothing hangers backwards in your closet and then, after you wear them, hang them back the right way. After a few months, clear out the clothing items that are still hanging backwards — because you haven’t worn them — and pop them on eBay.

Beware the Black Friday fraudsters

Shop safely: Black Friday is a big day for scammers, too. On social media and newsletters, always look for the blue tick to ensure the account is legit. Lots of bogus deals will do the rounds; on Facebook, for instance, fraudsters will create a tempting offer which will be posted and ask users to ‘like’ and ‘share’ the advert to boost it to the top of news feeds and target a wider audience. Those who click through will be asked for personal details, which will be used for fraudulent activity.

It’s not just presents that have price cuts

Black Friday savings aren’t just for the stuff you pop under the tree: there are discounts on everything from sport events to home broadband bills and even moving home. Fans of the down-and-dirty Tough Mudder fun runs can save 30 per cent on 5K Sunday tickets with the code BLACKFRIDAY5K at toughmudder.co.uk/5K before November 26. Sky, BT and Virgin Media have all rolled out special deals ahead of Black Friday with competitive tariffs and hefty cashback rewards. As usual, check with a site like broadbandchoices.co.uk to ensure you’re choosing the best package for your usage. If you’re selling your property, you could get a bargain with online estate agent Doorsteps.co.uk. They’ve slashed their flat fee to a commission-free £1 — a saving of £5,718 compared to the average high street estate agent. And it’s been specially extended to today (November 21) for Metro readers: call or text 020 8012 8566 and quote the code Metro 2.

Get a heads up on Christmas deals

Wondering when retailers might drop their prices before Christmas? Take the guesswork out of the festive waiting game with moneysavingexpert’s Christmas Deals Predictor. Here you can find out when shops like Apple, Argos and Tesco are likely to run discounts, based on when they cut prices in previous years. To predict 2018’s offers, the consumer group analysed seven years of festive deals. While the forecasting tool can’t guarantee that retailers will follow the same pattern as in previous years, moneysavingexpert.com says its 2017 Deals Predictor got 83 per cent of offers right.

Save money at the salon

If you’re shocked at how much you are spending on beauty treatments, you could save serious cash by downloading the Treatwell app, which makes it easy to find nearby salons offering discounts for off-peak hair, nails and waxing appointments. Savings are not to be scoffed at either, with offers of up to 60 per cent reductions. treatwell.co.uk

Get the last laugh with LOL Dolls

Most parents let out an audible groan at the words LOL Dolls. Not only are they expensive, with prices starting at around £10 a pop, but often the kids are disappointed when they get a duplicate. But savvy parents are cashing in on this and selling the opened LOL Dolls on eBay — often for as much as double the price — to those who have their heart set on completing their collection. Similarly, you can find buying and selling groups on Facebook, where you might be able to make some of your money back — and then some — on those doubled-up dolls.