Christmas sale shopping survival

Christmas has descended, the turkey has been eaten, and you’re about to pack up the tree for another year. That can only mean one thing: the post-Christmas sales are about to begin.

It can be so overwhelming, the amount of deals and opportunities thrown at you. What is it that you’re actually being offered? Is it even something you want?!

Here are a few financial tips I follow to get through the sale season. Safe and happy shopping!

  1. Would you buy it if it was full price? We’re so tempted and drawn in by big, bright red SALE signs, that often people can just buy things because they’re cheap. When you’re buying something in the sale, have a think about how much you like it. The dopamine hit you get from making that initial purchase will wear off pretty quickly after cash has changed hands, so make sure what you’re buying is really something you want, and will use again and again. 
  2. Know what it is you want to buy, or at least a rough idea and don’t buy more. Do you really need the upgraded version of a kettle, even though your old one works fine, just because it’s 30% cheaper than regular price? No. When heading to the shops, have an idea of what you’re after and where you want to go – i.e you need new bedding so you’re just going to go to two specific shops that you have bought bedding from before. Don’t just head into town and travel through the shops. You will absolutely waste your money, when you didn’t need to buy anything anyway. 
  3. Keep an eye on the items before the sales hit. If you put together a wish list or basket of things you’re looking at, you’ll notice if and when you can make a saving on the things you want. It’s also a really good way to spot if you’re actually getting a good deal, and if the discount is as high as claimed.
  4. Linking to the above, it’s also good to make purchases online. It’s much more overwhelming when surrounded by lots of people, the shops are always heaving and what you actually want may stock out pretty quickly. I find that if I’m in store, I tend to just give up and not buy anything at all – which can making sale shopping deflating. 
  5. Consider the trends of your purchase. If the item you’re looking at is 70% discounted it’s likely to be because there’s a new or better version about to come out. More often, the less discount available means that at item is going to stick around – be it a new toaster or a new coat. Think wisely, if you prefer classic, long lasting pieces, maybe buying outside the sales is good for you.
  6. Don’t put things on the never-never, just because they seem cheap. Lots of little, less expensive things mount up to a large sum. Only buy what you can really afford. There’s no harm in putting something you’ve really wanted on your credit card, if you have a timeline and the ability to pay it off without additional stress. If you need to buy on credit, take advantage of 0% and low finance deals if they’re available (compare to your credit card or other borrowings rate). Be strict with yourself – no one needs something so much they have to bankrupt themselves for it. 
  7. Donate to charity, or buy second hand. If you love getting a bargain all year round, head to vintage and second hand shops. The rush of buying something new, without having to make something new. I also recommend donating your old goods to charity – if they’re still in an acceptable, working condition – to avoid putting decent goods into landfill (check with local charity or Oxfam). If you want the hit of spending money but also don’t have any desire to buy, I recommend making a donation to charities financially. There’s plenty of places that need support, but a couple of charities where you can help change lives are Crisis and BEAM.

The post Christmas sales should be a time that is enjoyed, a ‘bargain’ scored, and if so inclined, a time to treat yourself. Enjoy browsing and don’t force yourself into spending even more money after the most expensive time of the year!

All opinions are my own. Quoted and relevant links credited. All figures are based on my own calculations for the UK. Information correct at the time of publication. For entertainment only – this is not intended for advice.