The virgin bargain hunters guide to the Christmas sales

26 Dec

In my household this year Christmas has been a bit bare boned, unfortunately instead of asking for pretty frivolous things that my mind wants beyond all reason and logic, I’ve had to ask for things I need, like a hair-dryer, socks and a toothbrush. Its seems that of course when you have very little money, all the everyday necessities start to malfunction and need replacing which can end up very expensive. So for the first time in well….ever, I have gone hardcore and transformed myself into the very type of person I use to heap my scorn upon…the hardened soul-less sales junkie.

That may seem a bit of a harsh description but believe me to survive the type of sales where you actually do make a saving, you have to be hardened and open to a whole new shopping experience where manners, social etiquette and norms no longer exist. This year being my first I’m hardly a sales veteran, but I made some good savings on items that were desperately needed, and after working the Next boxing day sale today, I have a few tips and tricks for those of you who like me, need to start saving pennies but feel too overwhelmed to take on the sales.

1. Santa isn’t the only one who needs a list                                                                                                

No wonder people find sales daunting

Before you go bargain hunting write down the items your hunting for. At a sale you’ll be surrounded by pretty items with big discounts and when everyone around you is snapping them up its easy to get carried away, but remember your trying to save money and buying items just because they happen to be cheap and catch your eye, ends up costing more than you think. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll not only be quicker to find it in the store and can spend less time in the crowd and queues, but you won’t end up getting carried away and spending money you don’t have, you’ll make the savings you intended on the items you actually need.

2. The earlybird catches the bargain

Unfortunately most sales happen to be at highly unsociable hours of the morning, and you may have to queue up quite some time before the store opens to make sure you get in before the shop becomes one giant jumble sale and all the desirable items, that you and a large portion of other shoppers are most likely after, disappear. Be prepared to get up early and queue, this is one of the reasons sales have never appealed to me, who wants to get up on Boxing day and start shopping at some unholy hour? You have to weigh up how much you need to save money, how much you need the items and how much of a difference there will be between the original and sale price. Whether its worth it or not.

3. Close encounters…of the downright impolite, rude and uncivilised 

When I mentioned above that sales day shoppers were hardened I really wasn’t kidding, working the boxing day sale today I saw people shove each other aside to get to half price clothing, some people were unnecessarily abusive and snatching at items like spoilt children, blocking paths to rails so that they could have first pick and cutting ahead in lines. As someone who was raised in a house where nothing less than perfect manners was acceptable I felt like I was witnessing the decay of civilised social behaviour. I don’t wish to generalise that all shoppers behave in this manner, but the warning is there, you will encounter people who will have seemed to have lost all concept of acceptable behaviour. The best way to deal with this is to be firm but calm, stand your ground and don’t let people push you around, but don’t become aggressive.

4. Keep your cool

This may be the season for wrapping up warm but in this case wear something light, shops crowded with people get extremely hot and standing in a large line arms full of items will be bad enough without wearing a thick coat in the bargain, also take a bottle of water, you wouldn’t be the first to be overcome by the heat, it’s a sensible precaution to hydrate. Another little tip I’ve learnt from today’s experience working a sale…bodyspray. Shopping all day? In and out of hot crowded shops? Can’t hurt to have a little freshen up every now and then.

5. Its worth a go

So you try a sale and its not for you? Never mind, you haven’t lost anything by trying, and its always worth trying once! Don’t forget that you can always do a bargain hunt online as well! They may not have the same savings as the stores do, but you can do some shopping from the comfort of your own home, its a good way to get use to the Christmas sales, and snap up some bargains. With today’s finances as they are, it can’t hurt to explore new ways of saving money.

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