When the sales banners are up and the shops start discounting it’s easy to get carried away. Here’s how to keep your head above the crowds, and come home with a real steal.
Buy the basics
Don’t always be on the hunt for frills and luxury items. Look for everyday toiletries, two for one special offers, bulk packs of beauty items like face creams, nail polish remover and shampoos. Essentials will always have a shelf life.
A great night’s sleep
The January sales are brilliant for cut-price bed linen, towels and duvets which you wouldn’t normally buy. Do a stock-take at home and see what’s missing in your linen chest. Stick to bright whites which never go out of fashion, and can be mixed and matched.
This year’s fad could be next year’s faux pas. Don’t make the fatal mistake of buying something that’s really current in the fashion world. If it’s on the sales rack, there’s probably a reason why. Look for timeless classics that can’t be pegged to last season.
Check out the food halls of leading department stores for creative food at knock-down prices. If you’ve got a party to cater for in the New Year, stock up on finger food, Christmas fare and piles of biscuits and puds – they’ll taste just as good once the tree’s been taken down.
Buy next year’s Christmas cards, ribbons and wrapping in the January sales. You’ll even be able to find some nice gift bags that can be used for birthdays and special occasions throughout the year.
Clothes they’ll grow into
Different rules apply for children’s shopping, and there’s no harm in snapping up winter clothing that they’ll grow into. The children’s department is great hunting ground for next autumn’s school uniform, sports activities, winter coats, shoes, and trainers.
When a bargain’s not a bargain
Don’t let the shops pull the wool over your eyes and lure you into buying something you don’t really need. Look for the staples and ask yourself: “Do I like it, will we use it/wear it, is there room in the house for it, and would I be buying it if it wasn’t in the sale?” If you answer “No” to any of these questions, walk away and save your money for something else.
Refunds and exchanges
Consumer rights on sale items are exactly the same as when you buy normal goods. So don’t worry about not being able to return a sales item unless there is a defect. It’s illegal for shops not to offer refunds on sale items, so hold onto the receipt.