We all know how expensive Christmas can be, so it's no wonder the ever-increasing number of sales on offer in November and December are so popular.
Another annual tradition that is often overlooked by shoppers still counting the cost of Christmas is the January sale. Deciding to hit the sales again so soon after the last round may seem excessive but, with plenty of discounts on offer on a wide range of products, braving the January sales can actually be an extremely worthwhile move.
With many retailers' sales beginning on December 30th, it's a good idea to start preparing now to give yourself the best chance of picking up a bargain. Here's our best advice on getting yourself ready.
We're all aware of the ongoing coronavirus situation so we won't dwell on that side of things too much here, but suffice to say it's probably better to err on the side of caution and only go into crowded environments if you really have to at the moment.
Regardless of the pandemic, hitting the shops in person during any national sales event is usually something of a scrum, with the best deals often only available in very limited quantities and likely to be snapped up by hardcore shoppers who are prepared to start queuing outside in the middle of the night.
To increase your chances of getting your hands on the best deals and reduce your chances of making costly impulse buys you later regret, do your shopping online.
Currently, the best way to shop is online and the best way to keep abreast of the best online offers is to sign up to your favourite retailers' newsletters. This will enable you to get a better handle on what discounts are being offered and which specific items are going cheap.
Knowing exactly what's available, when, at what price and from which vendors before the sales officially launch will give you an advantage over other shoppers and help you get the things you want in your basket before they sell out.
A common mistake when shopping the sales is buying something you don't need just because it's got 70% off. This may sound obvious but it's easy to get suckered in, regardless of how sensible a shopper you think you are.
Unless it's a product you actually need at a price within your budget, walk away. Remember, an item reduced to £300 still costs £300, so the golden rule is: look at the price, not the reduction!
Yes, shopping is supposed to be fun but making a budget before you start is the most effective way of ensuring you don't overspend and find yourself going into your overdraft or maxing out your credit cards.
Once you've established how much you're willing to spend and able to afford, it's important to be strict with yourself and stick to your budget. Making one then ignoring it isn't going to help anybody except the retailer.
As well as adhering to the points above, make a list of things you want and don't stray from it - this will stop you browsing other websites and being tempted by products you don't actually need.
And remember: exercising self-control is critical if you're going to make a success of your January sales shopping.
If you approach the sales sensibly, you can usually find things you need at bargain prices, saving yourself significant amounts of money. So, as long as you can trust yourself not to get carried away - happy shopping!
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