Ah, the Christmas Sales. We pinch our pennies and look forward to spending those vouchers we got from our aunts and uncles once the prices come down but sale shopping can be quite the challenge.
The crowds. The heat. The fights over that last pair of reduced price boots. How on EARTH are we supposed to get through it all?
Here are a few helpful hints:
Keep an eye out for early bargains
- Some shops start reducing prices before the big day so you might just be able to get a few cheaper bits and bobs before the madness begins.
- Double check the labels on Christmas Eve too. That’s when some shops start popping little price indicators on tags in pen. See 008 in black biro on that €20 jumper you had your eye on? That COULD mean it’ll only cost you €8 in 48 hours time.
Set your alarm
If you’re determined to get in early for the best bargains you’d better be prepared. Some shops open as early as 6am so you’ll need to be up and at ‘em.
Avoid the rush and the crush
- Y’know when you see that footage of shops being MOBBED on telly on St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day? Well, they don’t make that stuff up.
- If you’re going to head in super early be prepared for the madness. Some people will do ANYTHING to get their hands on cut price items, even if they don’t need them at all.
- Remember, that pair of shoes is NOT worth your right arm so, where possible, try and wait until things calm down before going bargain hunting. You wouldn’t be able to see anything with the packs of people tearing into the rails and shelves anyway.
Don’t buy it just because it’s a bargain
It’s very easy to get caught up in the sales hype and start buying things you’ll NEVER wear or use just because they’re cheaper.
Save yourself some time and money by stopping to think for a second. Do you REALLY need it? Will you EVER use it? Would you normally wear it? If the answer is yes, brilliant. You’ve landed an actual bargain.
You don’t HAVE to buy anything in the sales if you don’t want to y’know. Don’t feel pressured to make a purchase just because others are. Even the cost of bargains can mount up and if you don’t have the money you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
Double check the Terms and Conditions
Every retail outlet has a different sale policy. Some will offer refunds on sale items because they don’t open their fitting rooms when it’s very busy but others have an exchange or store credit only policy on sale items.
They are allowed to do most of these things so it’s a good idea to make sure you know your Consumer Rights inside out if you have any concerns or issues.
Be safe and savvy if you’re shopping online
You’ll need to be aware of your Consumer Rights online too, and make sure the websites you’re shopping on are secure when making payments.
You can tell if a website is secure by checking the hyperlink at the top. Is it https:// or https://? Do you see a little padlock icon?
That’s the only way to be sure that your payment is secure.
Think before you buy:
- If a deal seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Take a minute to Google the website or the seller. A little bit of research might save you a lot of trouble.
- When paying, check your options. Some websites will require a credit or debit card but others may allow you to pay using PayPal or WordPay. These facilities can give you a little bit more protection.
- Also remember to keep an eye on your bank statements to make sure you’ve been charged the correct amount. The last thing you want is an unexpectedly big bill after Christmas!
Keep your wits about you
- It’s really important to be careful when you’re out shopping too because pick pockets and thieves like to strike in busy places.
- Make sure to keep your wallet/purse and phone somewhere secure and don’t have anything valuable in your pockets.
- Keep an eye on your shopping bags too. The last thing you want is to discover that someone’s run off with your precious purchases. That said, you don’t want to leave them behind you either. If you’ve got A LOT of bags it can be easy to forget to pick one up again after you’ve paid for something else.
Bring a bottle of water
Have you felt THE HEAT in some shops during the sales? Take hundreds of bargain hunters and a store’s central heating system, throw ‘em together and you’ve got a towering inferno that’d leave anyone gasping for air.
Make sure you have a bottle of water handy and take regular breaks from the madness. Head to a café or restaurant for a bit of peace and quiet, and if you’re really not feeling good just head home.
Sure isn't it far better to be able to relax and have a good look through the bargains you've managed to bag throughout the day?
Remember, the sales will still be there tomorrow. And the next day. And probably for MONTHS after that.