It’s that time of year again when the shops are discounting everything. Sales have already started online and most will be starting in store soon. The sales are a great time to shop. You can get so much more for your money. Whether that’s some luxury cashmere at 50% or £100 of a new TV we all love finding a bargain. However, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the excitement of discounts and end up regretting your purchases. We are bombarded by messages telling us everything is a bargain and encouraging us to shop shop shop. It can be hard to step back and really think about the purchases we are making.
Remember a bargain isn’t bargain if you don’t use it!
Sales are fantastic when you shop consciously. However, you can end up with a pile of stuff you don’t need and a huge credit card bill if you don’t do it right. I’ve written about how you can adopt minimalist shopping principles and how to be a little savvier when shopping but never focused on sale shopping. It’s harder to resist when something is discounted and the shops are fill of people looking for bargains. You get caught up in the excitement of it all and before you know it you’re at the till with a full basket. These so called bargains just end up being a waste of money and create clutter in our homes. We need shop the sales as consciously as we do the rest of the year.
In case you didn’t already know I love a good shopping list. It’s so useful to think about what you actually need and write it down before you leave the house (or turn on the computer if shopping online). Once you know what you need you can plan your shopping around getting that item. So if you need a new TV you’re only going to go into shops which sell TVs. Problems start as soon as you wonder into a clothes shop, just for a look. Have a list of everything you need and stick to it!
Set yourself a budget and be really strict with yourself about sticking to it. Sit down and work out exactly how much you can afford to spend. Remember January is a very long month especially if you spend all your pay before it even begins. Most of us get paid early at Christmas which can fool you into thinking you have more money to spend. Your bills still have to be paid in January and that wage needs to last an extra week. You’re better to set a lower budget and save the money instead. Avoid using your credit card for your sales purchases. Unless you pay it off at the end of every month no discount is worth getting into debt. Try leaving the cards at home and only taking cash out with you. That way once the money’s gone, it’s gone.
Use the sales as an opportunity to shop in higher quality stores. Now is a great time to pick up some quality cashmere or leather. Look for timeless classic pieces which you will wear again and again. Use the discounts to stock up on quality basics. I don’t bother looking at the shops I normally shop in. I can afford to shop there and have probably already bought the pieces I wanted earlier in the year. Instead, I use the sales to pick up high-quality pieces from shops normally out of my price range. I might not be paying any less than normal but I’m getting better quality which should last longer. For me it isn’t about getting a £5 dress instead, it’s about finding good investments for my wardrobe. Similarly, if your buying electronics make sure you buy a high-quality item rather than the one with the biggest discount
From the big red ‘sale’ signs to the way the store is set out everything is designed to make you buy something. Everywhere is saying sales are for a limited time or discounts end in x number of days. This is all designed to make you make impulse purchases. But the reality is things will be in store (or online) until they sell out. And unless it’s an insane discount or a very popular item (both of which are unlikely) it’s not going to sell out in a day. So take your time to research your options and don’t feel pressurised into buying from the first store. Shop around for the best deal for you. Ideally, you should sleep on it before making any big purchase. Go home and come back another day or go and grab a coffee to think about it before purchasing.
The time between Christmas and New Year is one of the very few times that the majority of people are off work. Instead of spending it at the shops why not spend time with your friends and family. Obviously, the best way tp save money during the sales is not to buy anything at all. It can be difficult when everything around you is pressurising you to shop but avoiding the shops is possible. I wrote a list of alternative ways to spend Black Friday which is very relevant to the time between Christmas and New Year.