How to navigate successfully through the January sales

Christmas may be over but for those of you who love shopping, one of the best times of the year is now underway – the January sales.

For some of you, this might be a chance to give yourself a little treat, while for others it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up gifts for the next festive season at discount prices. Either way, if you plan on hitting the sales this January, make sure you have a strategy for getting the best prices and maximising the amount you save.

  1. Shop around before you buy

Don’t jump head first into a purchase, especially if it’s something big. Check online to see how much different retailers are asking for what you want and then choose the cheapest.

Tip: If you’re shopping online, check how much delivery is going to cost you. While the price for the item might be lower in one store, when delivery is factored in it could be cheaper elsewhere. It may also pay to see how prices vary when you use click and collect.

  1. Keep your receipts

If you panic buy when the sales come around to avoid missing out on low prices or simply to say you’ve got something, you’re not the only one. However, once the excitement wears off and you have time to think about what you’ve bought, you might start to regret it. That’s why it pays to keep all of your receipts so you have the option of returning it.

Tip: Not all shops offer a refund for sales items but may instead offer store credit. Some may not accept returns at all, so check before buying if you think you might have to send it back.

  1. Don’t be afraid to haggle

Haggling is something not all of us are comfortable doing but sometimes playing hardball can pay off. Retailers want to make a sale at the end of the day, so if you can demonstrate that you can get goods cheaper elsewhere or if you notice a small fault, it doesn’t hurt to ask about further discounts.

Tip: If you can’t get a further reduction through haggling, see if you can get something extra thrown in instead. For example, if you’re buying a laptop, question if they can offer you any deals on insurance policies.

  1. Beware artificial discounts

In November Which? revealed that 49% of goods advertised as ‘on offer’ around Black Friday were actually cheaper in the months prior to or after this now-famous shopping day[1]. The same situation could potentially happen during the January sales, so shoppers may want to make sure that they’re actually getting the deal they thought they were.

Tip: If you use the January sales to get goods you’ve had your eye on for a while and already know the pre-sale price of, you’re much less likely to fall prey to false discounts.

  1. Make sure you’re actually making a saving

If you were going to buy something when it was full price but manage to get it cheaper, then you are making a saving. However, if you buy something you had no intention of getting just because it’s a good deal, then are you really saving money? If you’re watching the pennies, this might be a question to ask yourself to make sure you’re making smart decisions. Sales are all well and good but you don’t want to add to those January blues by spending money you don’t have.

Tip: If you can’t afford to spend, try to stay clear of the sales to avoid temptation. Your finances will thank you in the long run.

If you have a strategy in place, then the January sales can be great. However, remember to only spend what you can afford and to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.