Merry Christmas one and all!
I hope you’re all having a fantastic Christmas full of good food, good booze and good company. However, for me it’s time to start thinking about the Boxing Day sales!
Every year I go into town as early as I can on Boxing Day and shop for the whole day – that’s what Christmas money is for, right? Over the years I’ve learnt a few things about getting the best deals and shopping without regret, I hope you find some useful tips here!
1. Don’t get blinded by price.
This is a fundamental point to a successful shopping trip. Every year I see people frantically grabbing at the cheapest things possible, marvelling at the discounted price and exclaiming “Oh wow, that’s such a good price! What is it?” This is so not the best way to shop in the sales. Pretend like it’s a completely normal day, and browse the racks as if everything were full price. If something jumps out at you, have a good look at it, check for a good quality item and if you still like it, take advantage of the discount. Every time you find something you like, ask yourself “would I consider buying it if it was full price?”. If the answer is no, 99% of the time you’ll regret the purchase and it isn’t worth bothering. It is also worth bearing in mind that some shops buy in cheap, low-quality goods especially to sell in sales (anyone remember the cheap Polaroid televisions Asda was selling on Black Friday?) so you need to try and avoid the lure of these too-good-to-be-true deals and sniff out the real bargains. Remember: it’s only a bargain if you use it!
2. Don’t remove the tags until January.
I admit that it’s so easy to get blinded by price when it comes to the Boxing Day sales, I wish I had learnt this little trick years ago. During the sales, most shops have extended returns policies until around mid-January, so linger over your purchases. Don’t cut off any tags or bin any receipts until at least New Year’s Day. Sure, that gold lamè bodycon dress may have been reduced from £200 to £49 and be absolutely perfect for the party season, but are you going to wear it when it’s snowing outside in the middle of January? The thrill of finding amazing bargains will have worn off by January and you’ll be able to properly judge whether your purchases are justified.
3. Make sure to plan ahead.
When it comes to sales, timing is key. Before you go, make a list of your favourite shops and order them from the most expensive to the cheapest. Every year I see people rushing to Primark and The Works at 9.30am – don’t do it, kids! Focus on shops that are usually a little out of your price range and go there first, that’s where you’re more likely to find good quality items at low prices. For example, I adore River Island clothes but can very rarely justify the prices, so I always make sure to go there first in order to get the biggest range to choose from. Then, I take a tour around town in my head (you can do this on Google Earth if you want to!) and think about where the other shops I wish to visit are in comparison to River Island. I plan my route around town, saving the cheaper shops like Primark until the end, only to be visited if I have enough time. Don’t forget to plan lunch into your route! Take some reuseable canvas bags with you too, shops often have special carrier bags they only use during the sales and they tend to be much flimsier than their everyday counterparts, you don’t want your bags ripping only a couple of hours into your shop!
Speaking of planning ahead, I never just buy things for myself in the Boxing Day sales. It’s a great time to buy for the birthdays and anniversaries of the next year – I never buy main presents in case the recipient decides that they want a specific gift closer to the time, but I do buy little bits. Last year I got some lovely mug sets from Debenhams for £3, one was a Jelly Bean Factory mug with a box of beans in it, the other was a Nando’s mug with a small bottle of peri peri sauce in it. They made perfect little gifts for Mother’s and Father’s Day to go with a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine.
4. Buy for who you are, not who you want to be.
This point may seem a bit unusual, but bear with me! I have learnt this lesson from experience. During the Christmas period and New Year, there is a sense of optimism for the year ahead. People start to think about their resolutions and might buy things to help them stick. Don’t even think about doing it.
Have you ever seen how many treadmills are available on eBay at the end of January!? Even during the sales, items to help aid resolutions can be expensive, so it really isn’t worth buying something until you know that you will stick with it. If you want to lose weight, why not find a local gym that allows you to pay for entry by the session until you can decide if frequent exercise is for you? That way you won’t be wasting your money on exercise equipment or a gym membership you may never use.
One year, I found a gorgeous dress in River Island in both a 12 and a 14. They both fit, but the 12 defined my waist more and despite being on the ever-so-slightly too tight side, I went for it over the 14 as weight loss motivation. That dress is still hanging in my wardrobe, unworn, tags attached. I am however optimistic that I’ll fit into it again one day, I’ve lost 22kg (over 3 stone) in the past 6 months and I’ve still got 11.5kg to shift – the dress nearly fits now!
5. Try something new!
Don’t be afraid to try something a bit out of the ordinary. Let’s face it, if you can get a bargain and have a good think until January before you have to decide whether to keep your purchases or not, it’s worth a little risk! A few years ago I decided to buy a style of dress I thought I’d never wear in a million years – a bodycon midi dress – and to this day it’s still my absolute favourite dress. Step out of your comfort zone, you never know what you might find.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!
Peace and joy,