The brutal truth is that it doesn’t matter how much an item is marked down by, even if the discount is 90%: sales bargains don’t save you money if you don’t actually need them!
All of us love the excitement of the sales, and get carried away by temptation now and then.
But if you’re looking approach the sales responsibly, to get genuine sales bargains and not end up weeping at the sight of your credit card bill a few weeks along the line, here’s how to shop the sales savvily without spending all your money.
How to Shop the Sales like A Pro
1. Make a List of What You Need
If you know that you have to buy a long black coat for work, or that your favourite knee-high boots are wearing out and need to be replaced, waiting to pick up a sales bargain can be a very good plan.
Write yourself a shopping list of what you need, plus a few non-essentials you’d really like if the price is right, and take that list with you to the sales.
When you’re rummaging through the sales bargains on the racks, be strict with yourself: if it’s not on the list, it’s not going in your shopping basket!
2. Do Your Homework
How much of a steal really is that sales bargain you’re looking at? It sounds like a rather odd question, but what should it actually cost?
Brands are fantastic at luring us in to their stores with irresistible sounding discounts, but sometimes the deal’s not as good as it seems.
If you’ve got an expensive purchase in mind — a designer outfit, a sofa, a handbag, or even a lawn mower or set of power tools — do your research online before you buy.
Check out the prices for comparable brands and a number of different online retailers so that you can make an informed decision about whether the sales price offers value for money or not.
3. Set Yourself a Budget
Many of us get an adrenalin kick out of treating ourselves during the sales, perhaps because it feels just a little bit naughty.
You don’t have to miss out on the fun, but set yourself a sensible budget, be that £20, £100, or £500.
Take out what you’re prepared to spend in cash, and leave your debit and credit cards at home. That should give you a line of defence in case you might get carried away! And you will be surprised how paying with cash can help you save money and harness financial self-disciplined.
4. Steer Clear of the Hype
There’s a reason that the shops on Regents Street have glittering window displays, and that brands spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on advertising their sales: they’re trying to grab your attention.
And they’re very effective at getting you to buy things you don’t really need or want. If you know that you find it hard not to get caught up in the excitement — a frenzy of sales bargain shopping — stay at home, at least at the start of the sales when they’re at their most feverish.
5. Shop Online
Shopping online reduces our natural tendency towards impulse buying as our senses aren’t being stimulated by the shopping environment, other people around us, and the texture of items we touch.
When you’re internet shopping it’s also far faster and easier to compare prices from multiple retailers, so you can check whether or not the products you’re looking at are really the sales bargains you think they are.
6. Don’t Shop on Credit
If you don’t already have the money available to pay for what you’re buying in the sales, stop.
Don’t go sales shopping on credit, regardless of whether that credit comes from your overdraft, credit card, or a store card.
At best you’re gambling on having money available in time to pay off the balance before interest payments become due; and at worst you’ll be racking up debt plus interest, swiftly eating away at any sales discount you might have benefited from.
7. Don’t Feel Pressured into Buying
No sales bargain is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you can often pick up the same item for an equivalent price, or even less, on eBay if you’ve got the patience to hunt through the listings.
Sales happen year-round, and realistically the shops aren’t going to run out of the sorts of things you want and need to buy.
Sit back, take your time, and if you want to then shop for sales bargains, go ahead unhurried and with a clear mind.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at the January sales, Black Friday sales, a mid-summer sale, or a closing down sale: the rules are still the same.
Over to you!
What do you need? What can you afford? Is it genuinely worth the sales price? Be realistic in your answers, and you’ll avoid the worst pitfalls of the sales. Share your tips on how to shop the sales with us below. We’d love to hear from you.
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