Post-Christmas sales are here - although after weeks of Christmas shopping you might not want to think about any more trips to the high street.
But every year most of us fall under the spell of January sales, even though the sales have started in December.
It’s very easy to be dazzled by declarations by retailers of their ‘best discounts ever’ and ‘extra 20% off’ days and so on.
To make sure you get genuine bargains and, more importantly, you don’t overspend – here’s our guide:
1. Make a list of what you want in the sales - and don’t deviate
Leaving the house in your most comfortable shoes and a purse or wallet stuffed with credit cards is not preparation enough. Make a list of things you really need and want and try not to deviate. That’s when impulse buys happen and usually result in that item languishing at the bottom of the cupboard still in its box or with the tags on.
2. Take a shopping buddy to the sales
If you are prone to overspending, bring a ‘bargain buddy’ to help you stop impulse buys and be your voice of reason. When you're in the shops, this person will help you question every purchase you make. Will you really wear that tiger print raincoat or use that electric vegetable dicer?
3. Shop for sales bargains online
If you can’t find a friend who can rein in your spending and you can’t trust yourself not to come home with armfuls of cut price clobber then perhaps shopping online will be a better option where you can peruse the things on your list without getting sidetracked.
Remember, check price comparison websites to see if you’re getting the best possible discount. And don’t buy anything without searching for a voucher code, too. There are lots of them about – you just have to look on vouchercodes.co.uk
4. Buy for next Christmas in the sales
It's probably the last thing on your mind in January, but the sales are the perfect time to buy cards, wrapping paper and even presents for next Christmas.
You can also pick up items that can be used as birthday presents for friends and family throughout the year. Don’t forget this will mean choosing gift sets without Christmas packaging.
5. Check returns rules when buying in the sales
Make sure you ask what the returns policy is when buying in the sales. You might like to try something at home rather than queue for a fitting room.
But if there are no refunds on sale items – some only offer exchange - then it might be worth waiting in line. Even with exchanges, check the time limits which are often shorter than regular, full-price purchases.