End of year sales are a great opportunity to purchase the things that you need at bargain prices.
This time is also a credit card company’s favourite time of the year.
To get the most out of the end of year sales and walk away with some great bargains without the slap-in-the-face credit card bill in February, you need to focus on the key word in the opening sentence: need.
There will be bargains aplenty and enticing offers to encourage you to part with your hard earned cash or to whip out the plastic in a shopping frenzy of merchandise that you don’t need. To get ahead in the retail game, here are a few tips.
Your end of year sales planning
1. Write a list of needs and potential needs
Going into the sales blind means that you can come out with stuff that you didn’t intend on buying. No matter what the discount was, if you don’t need it and you didn’t intend on buying it in the first place, it’s not a bargain.
So write a list of things you need and things that you will need in the coming year. This will keep you focused and ensures you don’t go home with clutter you don’t need. By planning ahead, you also avoid having to pay full price for items bought in an emergency (ok, so there will probably be another sale next week, but you get the idea). Here are a few bargain items that can be found during the end of year sales:
- White goods – End of year sales can be a great time to get substantial discounts off white goods. I’ve been hand wringing our washing lately due to a broken down machine, so we are definitely on the look out for a bargain after Christmas.
- Household goods / manchester – Have you got sheets that you can see through? Towels getting holey? Need new pots and pans? Homewares are another popular sale item at this time of the year.
- Christmas decorations – I know, who wants to buy Christmas decorations after Christmas. Except you aren’t really buying them after Christmas, your buying them before Christmas – 12 months before. Anyway, jokes aside, cards, gift wrap, decorations and trees are all cheaper in the sales after the main event. Plan ahead for next year and buy now.
- Gifts – Think about possible gifts for upcoming birthdays and keep an eye out during the sales. Small bargains that you can stash away may be a cheap alternative for kids parties, work presents and other I-don’t-know-you-very-well gifts.
2. Check out current prices
The sign may say you are getting great ‘value’ but it’s hard to determine if this is true unless you’ve done your research and you know how much the item was before the sales and how much it retails in other stores. After all, 10% off a $600 washing machine may sound great, but if you can normally get it down the road for $500 then it’s not really a bargain.
So before you hit the stores at sales time, check out the usual prices of the things on your list to ensure your are getting a great deal. And don’t forget to check online. Huge savings can be found all year when you buy over the internet.
3. Make a list for later sales
Clothing tends to go on sale at the end of the season rather than at the New Year sales and stationery usually goes on sale just before school goes back. If what you’re looking for isn’t on sale now, keep an eye out for future sales.
Just like your end of year sale, make a list of things that you need. For clothing, list items that are needed and in which size. For children, buy next season’s clothes in one or two sizes up. There can be some excellent bargains if you keep an eye out. I knew a lady who could find clothes in Myer for her grandkids for only one or two dollars a piece at the end of the season. It pays to be prepared and wait for the bargains.
For more ideas on saving money at sales time see Guerrilla tactics for the end of year sales.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.