How would you feel about telling your family that they won’t be getting their presents on Christmas day, but sometime after Christmas when you’ve been to the sales? That’s exactly what we’re weighing up the pros and cons of waiting until the sales before you buy your Christmas presents.
The boxing day and January sales are a way for retailers to get rid of their Christmas stock so they can get in their new stock for the year. Customers can see 50-70% discounts on items which only a week before were going for full price. Is it any wonder people are keen to grab a bargain? The sales are big business.
In 2013, shoppers queued from 11.30pm on Christmas day in order to get the best bargains when the shops opened. A whopping £3 billion was spent in that one day alone and that’s only in store. Typically, the best discounts can be found on electricals, clothing and ironically exercise equipment (although you may have to explain your thinking around buying someone an exercise bike for Christmas!) Alternatively, you can use the sales to begin your Christmas shopping for Christmas next year, with items such as Christmas cards, crackers and wrapping paper now heavily discounted.
Whilst the sales can save you money on items, the disadvantage is that you’re not going to be able to spread the cost of those gifts over a few months as you’re spending it all in one month, sometimes in one day alone. Whilst you might be making some great savings, you’re not able to spread the cost as you would in the lead up to Christmas. What’s more, the sales can be a free for all with people buying items just because they have a sale sticker on and not necessarily because they need them. Factor in those sales items can’t be returned (unless they’re defective) and you could have a costly mistake on your hands.
The sales can be quite stressful, with people queuing outside stores from the early hours of the morning. Could you cope with the pressure and stress of buying all your Christmas presents in one go? No matter what the savings could be, you’ll have to push through eager savers to find the best gifts and once items have gone, they’ve gone. What if they don’t have the right colour, make or size? What if you don’t get that must have gift you promised your loved one? What then? Shopping online could help you miss the rugby scrum but you still have to wait for it to be delivered and if it’s not right there are no guarantees they’ll be any more left.
If you’re planning to buy big items in the sales with the view of saving money, here are some hints and tips. Plan what you’re going to buy first. Know how much these items cost and then you’ll know whether the sale price is a bargain or not. Knowing what you’re looking to buy first enables you to budget ahead of time and recognise when a discount is a good deal, and not just a sales sticker designed to entice you to buy!
If finding Christmas presents in the sales isn’t your thing, we have some useful tips on saving money.
Plan Ahead- find out who you need to buy for, who you need to send Christmas cards to and what you need to get for your house.
Discuss Budgets- decide how much you’re going to spend on friends and family and discuss this with them. If you can’t afford to buy for everyone, discuss just buying for the children in the family
Compare Prices Online- check out what deals are online and what you can get for your money. It may just save you a trip to the high street.
Buy ‘Token’ Gifts- If you’re tight on cash, agree to get ‘token’ gifts for friends or family. Agree to spend just £5 or even £1 on each other and see what happens. It could be a lot of fun finding something suitable and seeing what you get in return!
Spread The Cost- Try to budget a set amount each month for Christmas so you’re not spending all your money at once.
Shop Around- See which stores offer the best items for the lowest price. Your research will be worth it when you bag a bargain!