When shops throw open their doors for the sales it’s easy to think you’re saving money by snapping up anything on the discount rail. But a mindless spending frenzy can leave you worse off than before, with a hole in your wallet and a pile of unworn clothes.
Here’s our guide to making the sales work for you.
Before you shop…
- Keep a note of items you like or need, but which you can’t afford at full price. Then you know exactly where to look when the sales start.
- Some shops hold pre-sale evenings for loyalty card holders, so look around for any sneak peaks - just make sure you know what you can afford.
- Be organised and look out for when shops open on sale day. Some might open earlier to allow for early bird offers.
- Do your homework by reading consumer reviews for electronics and homeware, and by looking out for future trends. If you know a certain colour is going to be in fashion next season, for example, you can look out for it now in the sales.
- Check online as some shops offer a wider range of sale items on their websites, and may be offering free delivery. You’ll also be saving on transport fees or parking, and will be away from the temptation of browsing.
- Have a battle plan so you know where to park or get off the bus, which shop to visit first and when to have a break so you’re not tempted to shop ’til you drop.
At the shops…
- Keep focused on what you need, not what you want, and have a budget in mind which you stick to.
- Look out for last season or out-of-season items which could save you money the following year e.g. Christmas cards and wrapping paper, beach wear or outdoor games.
- Think ahead to any forthcoming events such as kids’ birthdays or Valentine’s Day and see if there’s anything appropriate you can buy discounted and stash away.
- If you’re buying clothes, make sure you try everything on, so you know you’re happy with it before you fork out.
- Think about whether you would want an item if it was full price. If it wouldn’t be so appealing, don’t buy it in the sale.
- Ask every shop for their sale returns policy, as certain sale items will not be returnable or refundable. This might make you think twice about buying.
- Be assertive. If an item is unavailable in one shop, ask a sales assistant to check stock at nearby branches.
- If you’ve bought clothes, make sure you try them on again once you’re at home, away from the flattering mirrors and lighting of the shop changing rooms.
- Be honest with yourself, and if there’s anything you’ve bought which you’re not going to use, make sure you take it back as soon as possible, in case it’s discounted even further and you don’t get all your money back.