B&M has confirmed it will be dropping some amazing offers for Black Friday once again this year.
Last year’s huge sale included some incredible deals on toys and tech, and we expect some more great bargains this year.
B&M’s Black Friday page hasn’t launched quite yet, but best to keep an eye for when it does launch.
Last year, the page was updated daily with all kinds of Black Friday deals and discounts.
This year’s sale is set to run from Friday 29 November until Sunday 31 November.
Our tips for finding the best deals this Black Friday
IT might be tempting to dive in and snap up LOADS of items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s how you can guarantee you’re getting a good deal.
PREPARE Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.
GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.
EARN CASHBACK Check websites like Quidco and TopCashback BEFORE you place your order. Cashback websites PAY you to shop. All you have to do is click through their links and the money is added to your online account, usually within 14 days.
CHECK FOR CODES Take a look at The Sun Vouchers, and see if you can get extra savings with discount codes.
Sadly, you can’t order online from B&M, so you’ll have to visit your nearest B&M store to get those Black Friday deals.
But, you can arrange delivery for larger items – just ask in store for details.
PREGNANT mums face a “disgusting” up to 12-week wait for maternity allowance payments as the government struggles to deal with a backlog of claims.
It’s left families without cash to cover bills and rent and worrying about how to buy things for their new babies at a time when they should be happy and excited.
Katie Heard, 30, from Hampshire told The Sun that she’s wracked up £1,000 on credit cards to pay for food and bills after struggling to manage on just her husband’s salary after she went on maternity leave from her job as a barista.
“It’s been very difficult,” she said. “My husband works but when one of you leave your job it’s very difficult to manage on one salary.
“You need the money for bills, car insurance, food – things that you normally take for granted – and then it’s taken away from you.
“I lost the plot this week as my baby is due on Monday. I was on the phone to the helpline for 12 hours in tears. How do they expect people to just manage? It’s disgusting.”
What is maternity allowance?
MATERNITY allowance is a payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to women who don't qualify for statutory maternity pay.
This is typically because they’re self-employed or they haven’t built up enough entitlement to statutory pay through working.
You can either get:
£148.68 a week or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for 39 weeks
£27 a week for 39 weeks
£27 a week for 14 weeks.
How much you get depends on how many national insurance credits you’ve built up through working.
Katie, who already has a three-year-old daughter and is now expecting a boy, says she submitted her claim to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on July 22 with a requested start date of September 1, as that’s when her maternity leave was due to start.
She couldn’t claim at 26 weeks, which is when claims open, as she had first applied to her employer for statutory maternity pay only to have to wait a few weeks for her request to be turned down.
But seven weeks on, and with her baby due to be born on Monday October 14, Katie says she’s been told her case won’t be looked into until October 16.
She’s just grateful to have been able to turn to emergency savings and been able to use credit cards in the meantime. She’s also this week been given a £300 emergency advance from the government to help her get by.
When can you claim maternity allowance?
You can claim maternity allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks and payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by mortgage broker John Charcol earlier this year revealed there were 127,400 successful maternity allowance claims filed by self-employed mums between January 1, 2013 and December 1, 2017 – although it’s thought three in ten are still missing out.
But while the DWP says it typically take up to eight weeks to process payments, it admits it’s currently taking up to 12 weeks – and some mums say it’s taking even longer.
Sarah Dee’s first baby is due in December after three year’s of trying to get pregnant with her fiancee, 36.
The 35-year-old from Newcastle works as a contractor in the finance industry, which means she’s not entitled to statutory maternity pay.
But despite submitting her maternity allowance claim on September 16 – three and a half weeks ago – she has no idea when her application will be processed.
She says she’s received mixed messages with an automated text on September 26 saying there was an eight week wait, an automated phone line advising of a 14-week wait, and an adviser saying there was a 12-week wait.
Sarah says she’s extremely worried about the delay as she’s planning on taking maternity leave sooner than planned due to ill health from the pregnancy.
What can I do if I'm waiting for cash?
THE first thing to do if you're struggling while you wait for maternity allowance is to call the Department for Work and Pensions.
The maternity allowance helpline can be reached on 0800 169 0283.
The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that it will fast-track emergency advance payments where necessary although we’re waiting on confirmation on what circumstances this will be paid in.
If you don’t qualify for the advance on your maternity allowance, those on certain benefits may qualify for a budgeting loan from the government or a Universal Credit advance – although these both have to be repaid.
Alternatively, you may want to consider taking out an interest-free credit card to pay for things in the meantime, but only do this if you’re sure you can meet the minimum repayments each month.
Also use an elgibility checking tool, such as this one on MoneySavingExpert.com, to ensure you know how likely you are to qualify for a card without damaging your credit score.
When you do finally get your allowance, it will be backdated to the date that people are eligible from and paid in one lump-sum.
She told The Sun: “My partner is now putting in 12- to 14-hour shifts to try and get us enough to live on and to get through Christmas.
“I have been off work for three weeks with severe pain but need to go back next week to try and get some money together.
“This is our first Christmas with our new baby and have no idea how we will afford it. I have never felt so stressed and scared at a time I should be focusing on my baby coming and celebrating that time.”
And sadly Sarah isn’t alone, one mum called Lynsey tweeted: “I became #freelance after my daughter was born because it was the best way to financially support my family.
“Now being punished for this decision while waiting for my second child, and will have zero income for 14 weeks. #MaternityAllowance is a joke.”
Another wrote: “Find it infuriating that @HMRCgovuk is tweeting about financial support and advice for people while loads of mums are being left struggling because there is a 12 WEEK wait for maternity allowance applications. Absolute disgrace.”
Someone else called Leyla added: “My baby is four weeks old tomorrow and I’m still waiting for my #maternityallowance! #backlog”
Another wrote: “@DWP is the most incompetent department! Processing maternity allowance claims are taking 12 weeks not eight and you can’t send off a claim until 11 weeks before how does that work?
“How am I supposed to pay rent at the end of the month? Backdating doesn’t help that does it?”
Rosalind Bragg, director of charity Maternity Action says it’s had a spike in calls from worried mums who’ve been told there’s a 12-week wait for cash.
She told The Sun: “We raised the issue of these delays with DWP policy officials several weeks ago, but have not received any substantive response to date.
“Given the purpose of maternity entitlements such as maternity allowance, it is simply unacceptable that pregnant women who qualify are experiencing such prolonged delay in the processing of their claim, and that some women are giving birth and starting maternity leave without any financial support in place.
“We have therefore written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey MP, asking her to take urgent remedial action to bring decision times down to the target of just under five weeks.”
DWP says when you do finally get your allowance, it will be backdated to the date that people are eligible from and paid in one lump-sum.
It adds that people can ring the helpline on 0800 169 0283 to request fast-track emergency payments in the meantime – these will be advances of any maternity allowance you’re due to get.
The department blames the delay on under-staffing.
A spokesperson added: “We understand how important this financial support is for new parents and are sorry for the delays some are currently experiencing.
“We are putting more staff in place to speed up the process and are fast tracking emergency cases.
“You can apply 14 weeks before the week in which your baby is born, so we urge people to apply as soon as they are eligible.”
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Of its £1.1billion debt bill, £465million is due to be repaid by August 2021 and another £200million a year later.
The other £467million is a loan from the parent company that doesn’t have to be repaid.
As a result, the chain has now hired financial adviser Houlihan Lokey Inc to help it prepare for talks with creditors, reports Bloomberg.
Pizza Express has been hit by increasing rates and rents, on top of a struggling high street.
It is believed that the chain can afford it debts with no store closures on the cards, although financial adviser Langton Capital wrote on Twitter that its £1.6million debt per restaurant is “not sustainable”.
While correspondent Ed Cumming wrote: “None of Pizza Express’s recent innovations has addressed three big problems: they discounted too heavily in Groupon era, kids love Nando’s, and there is better pizza for half the price at Franco Manca, Pilgrims etc.
“Can’t run 500 sites on nostalgia alone.”
Chris Field, chairman of Retail Connections and independent retail analyst, told The Sun what was once “the darling of the casual dining scene” has struggled to keep up with the changing sector.
He said: “There are too many restaurant chains out there generally, so the market is already tough.
“Add to this the squeeze on consumer spending, declining footfall on the High Street and the spiralling cost of rates and rents and even Pizza Express isn’t immune to the challenges of the current trading conditions.
“There are also a whole bunch of new kids on the block prepared to shake things up and try something new in casual dining, which has left Pizza Express behind and it may be too late to catch up.
“Food is becoming like fashion; if you don’t keep up, then you may be going down – and possibly out.”
Pizza Express was launched in London in 1965 by restaurateur Peter Boizot and in 2014 it was bought by Hony Capital, a Chinese private equity group.
Today it has over 490 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, as well as over 100 sites worldwide. Use its store locator tool to find your nearest branch.
The Sun contacted Pizza Express, which said it “doesn’t comment on speculation”.
Houlihan Lokey also declined to comment.
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IT is National Grandparents Day – a chance to thank them for all the times they take care of us.
But don’t fret if you didn’t realise. There is still plenty of time to spoil them. Here some great ideas that won’t break the bank.
Thank your grandparents for all they do with these great ideas for National Grandparents Day[/caption]
OLD FAVOURITES: Who doesn’t love a helping of Italian comfort food? Treat your grandparents for less by heading to Bella Italia, where there is two-for-one on mains for grans and gramps today. Grandparents can choose from any of their favourite dishes, including tagliatelle capra and pizza gamberoni. You get one free main when bought with a full-price adult main. For more information visit bellaitalia.co.uk.
CHOC A LOT TO GIVE: Grandmas and grandads everywhere appreciate a box of chocolates. Cadbury Roses are a sure hit — and you can grab a box for just £4 at Tesco, down from £5.If your folks prefer Thorntons, boxes of Thorntons Moments are currently £2.50 at Tesco, down from £4. SAVING: up to £1.50
WELL DESERVED DATE: Many pensioners are careful when it comes to their funds, but would love a day out without the stress of forking out. Consider giving the gift of a date or dinner for two. Groupon.co.uk has some fantastic deals across the country. I found a great offer for a champagne afternoon tea for just £49 for two, down from £98 — sure to go down a treat. SAVING: £49
NO-TROUBLE BUBBLES: Toast your grandparents with a glass (or two) of bubbles — and you don’t have to fork out a fortune for a decent drop. I love Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut, £12.49 at Aldi. The award-winning bubbly is crispy, light, super-tasty — and saves a fortune compared to bigger brands such as Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne, £39 at Tesco. SAVING: £26.51
Prices are correct at time of going to press. Deals and offers are subject to availability.
Deal of the day
KICK-START your Sunday with the new Weekend Special cafe deal at Morrisons. Get two hot or continental breakfasts and two juices for £11.99.
SAVE: up to £4.91
ENJOY a weekend fakeaway with a fish ’n’ chip supper. Head to Tesco to pick up Two Gastro Sea Salt and Black Pepper Dusted Basa Fillets for £2, down from £4.
My Sun Savers fiver
STUART ADEY, from Sheffield, says: “I’m saving my Sun Savers fivers up to buy my wife a warm winter coat.”
Tell me your Sun Saver fiver stories at sunsavers.co.uk/fivers and get 28 codes, worth £5, if we print yours here. Please include your name and where you live.
I LIKE the £139 straightening brush from GHD, above, but a similar one from George at Asda, below, is just £10.
Reader’s saving tip
JANET FRANCOIS, from Blackpool, says: “Put your favourite recipes from mags in a scrapbook. It’s much cheaper than buying expensive cookery books.”
Tell me your top money-saving tips at sunsavers.co.uk/tips and get 28 codes, worth £5, if yours is used here. Include your name and town.
Shop & save
SNAP up a box of three Halo Top Birthday Cake Ice Creams for £2.50, down from £5 at Sainsbury’s. Delicious.
Play now to win £50,000 on the Sun Savers Raffle
JOIN thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle.
Every Sun Savers code you enter will earn you a ticket for our £50k monthly Raffle. And for every ten tickets you collect in a calendar month, you get a
GOLDEN TICKET for our £80k Raffle, which takes place every three months.
There is no limit to how many tickets you can collect. So the more you enter, the better your chances.
To take part go to sunsavers.co.uk or open the Sun Savers app. Then opt in to each month’s Raffle by clicking “Yes!” when prompted and start collecting the Sun Savers codes printed daily in the paper.
Every time you scan or enter a code into Sun Savers, you get a Raffle ticket in the £50k Raffle.
Not yet a Sun Savers member? Just go to sunsavers.co.uk or find “Sun Savers” in the app store to get started.