The Christmas fever is well and truly upon us with everyone rushing out to buy gifts and get everything ready for the big day. The thing is, the best shopping you can do is in January when the sales are in full force so, this year, why not save for the sales and get more bang for your buck?
I’m not trying to be a Scrooge here, a present or two under the tree is definitely still in order, but why not have some cash as the main gift this year? I love being given money to spend on stuff I love in the sales, it means I can buy something I really like and, if I am clever, I can get far more than I would have if I had bought them in December.
Your children want one of the Dream Dozen? Or perhaps a super awesome toy? Save it for the day after Christmas. They still get their present but you get to spend quite a bit less. Most of these toys will be sitting on shelves with a discount tag on them before the 24th is done and dusted.
However, the sales can be addictive and crazy. I’ve often fallen into the trap of spending far more than I planned to because I got so swept up in the madness of it all. Before you leave, make a list. Whether it’s to stock up on food and necessities or to nab some scrummies for fun, draw up a list of the items that you want first. This way you are less likely to come home with a strange purple jumper that you will never, ever, wear.
The next step is to check out what those items cost before the sales. Yes, I know this is lots of hard work but it can be kind of fun. And one thing I hate is buying something I want and then finding it somewhere else for half the price. One way to avoid that kind of frustration is to know exactly what the cost normally so you can assess how much you’re saving.
Once you’re out there in the thick of things check out items that you will use again next year and nab them at a discount. This includes things like linen, towels, Christmas décor and wrapping, and other such banal products. They aren’t exactly “fun” purchases (although I love buying new linen) but you’ll be so pleased with yourself next year when you realise your wrapping cupboard doesn’t need stocking up.
This is also a great time to snatch up those little gifts that you can pop into your Present Cupboard for the whole of 2011. Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary presents – all these things can be bought and stocked so you don’t have unexpected expenses throughout the year. Trust me, you’ll love yourself when you need a present in a pinch.
When you are shopping for items always check that the one you buy doesn’t have any damage or look faulty. Sale rules usually mean “no returns” and if it doesn’t work, it is a waste of money. That’s really upsetting and has happened to me on more than one occasion.
Going online is another big thing. Actually, I very rarely venture into the stores nowadays. The idea of traversing a mall packed with people as frustrated and bloody minded as I am, while dragging a child and reluctant husband along with me, fills me with dread. Now I just stay at home, pour a glass of wine, and amble through the sales at my leisure.
While there are deals you can only get instore, there are also deals you can only get online. Also, you can try and sneak in some great voucher codes while you shop online for that little bit more of a discount.
If you have your lists, your prices, and your determination, you can find pretty much most things you like for substantial savings. I would also strongly suggest that you don’t go hungry, tired, or grumpy. If you are any of those things on the day, then you won’t have an ounce of fun and will probably spend money on tat you don’t want. Well, I do. You may be made of far sterner stuff than me.
Another fabulous tip I got from a shopping expert (she is quite amazing in the sales) is to set aside an amount that’s just for fun. She said, “You can plan to get certain things, sure, but always keep money for something that’s silly, crazy or unexpected. Think of it as your reward for all your hard work.”