Every year the January sales seem to be getting earlier and earlier. It was always the case that the best deals could be found from Boxing Day onwards but now they often start in the days leading up to Christmas and some places reduce things for Black Friday and you never see them go up in price again. I’m sure we all love to bag a bargain throughout the year but do we really need the things that we’re buying? When almost every single shop online and on the highstreet has slashed their prices, offering bargains left, right and centre, the temptation to sales shop can be hard to resist and as a former shopaholic, I can definitely empathise will all of you sales shoppers out there! However now I know how to shop the sales wisely in January and I want to impart some of my savvy shopping habits onto you!
After spending hundreds or in some peoples cases, thousands, of pounds at Christmas, it is so important not to be lured in by the excitement of the sales if it means you’ll be spending more than you can afford or buying more than you need. I used to be someone who wanted a lot of everything, in every colour and so on and so forth but there came a point when I was surrounded by so much stuff that it was overwhelming and I realised it wasn’t making me feel happy. I didn’t need all of these things, only one or two would have brought a smile to my face and I could have really cherished them. Instead, I had so much of everything that I could never use it all or get my wear out of it. I made some changes, donated and gave away so many things that I didn’t want or need and slowly but surely over the years, I’ve reduced my spending. Particularly over the last couple of years, I’ve really cut back on what I’m buying and I’m really proud that, generally speaking, I no longer buy over and above what I really need. I’m also able to really recognise the difference between what I need, what I want (which is often fleeting and impulse led) and what I really want (which are the niceties in life that I want but will use over and over again and treasure them until they’re completely worn out!).
Sales shopping isn’t a bad thing at all though as if you can save your money on things that you actually really want or need then its so much better to get a saving on them than it is to pay full price.
So many people feel the pinch during January, myself included, so I wanted to share some of my top tips to make sure you spend wisely this month. If you focus on spending wisely now, then its habit you can continue to form throughout the year until eventually it becomes second nature. Once you see the amount you’re saving and feel the release of tension and stress when you check you bank balance, you’ll want to keep doing it!
SPEND ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
The most important thing to avoid when sales shopping is getting carried away. Many of us are guilty of it. We spot items at a great price, impulse buy and the costs can spiral out of control.
Before you step foot out of your front door or start browsing online, make a list of the things that you actually need to buy as unless money isn’t an object, you don’t want to be buying things for the sake of it. If you have a wedding coming up that you’d like to find a dress for then pop that on the list but don’t be buying new trainers that you don’t really need just because they’re on a good deal, do you see what I mean? For me this year, I wanted to buy a Dyson hairdryer, a Shark handled hoover and a Philips steamer all of which are things that I have really wanted for a long time and I know will make my life easier at home. I’ve actually managed to get the hoover and the steamer at great prices but I am yet to buy the hairdryer because I haven’t seen a good deal on it and if I’m not getting a good deal then I’m not buying it!
Once you have your list of things that you’re looking for, set yourself a realistic budget. Calculate the money you need to set aside for essentials such as rent, household bills and food shopping and from here, you can figure out any extra cash you have that you can spend on sales shopping. Prioritise your list as you might not be able to get everything and then research online to find the BEST deals you possibly can. Maximise all options such as using points cards, cashback websites and the like.
Make sure that once you’ve set your budget, you stick to it! This will help to stop you overspending.
ONLY BUY ESSENTIAL ITEMS
The January sales are great if there are items you really need that you can get for a discounted price but the key really is to purchase what you need, not what you want. Avoid splashing the cash on items that you are only buying because they are on sale and don’t pay for your items on a credit card. Go for cold, hard cash (or a credit card and pay it off immediately- the point is, you don’t want to be spending money from a source that you’re going to have to pay interest on as those sale buys will no longer be a bargain!).
Take a step back and assess whether you need it and whether you will actually use it. For example, there’s no point buying a new top on impulse that will just sit in the back of your wardrobe, never to see the light of day! Don’t buy things in a size thats smaller than you actually are because if you do get into it like you say you’re going to, then there’s a good chance it’ll not suit your tastes or style at the time (come on ladies, we’ve all done it!) and don’t buy something just because its on sale. It’s a total waste of money. If you wouldn’t buy it at full price, really consider its value to you on sale. If its just that it was out of your reach or budget at full price then go for it, you’ve grabbed yourself a bargain but if you’re not actually that keen on it, don’t waste your funds.
Instead, stick to purchasing the items from your list and essentials. Household items such as dishwashers, washing machines or fridges are often price-slashed in January, so if yours is broken and you know you need one, now is a great time to bag a bargain. Make sure you plan how you are going to fund your essential items in advance. There are lots of simple funding options available to help if you need it after the festive period but make sure that if its not money you’ve saved up prior to the sales you’re spending, then you’re only spending it on things that are 100% necessary like a washing machine or a fridge if yours is totally bust. Always make paying money back your top priority after your bills have gone out and make cut backs elsewhere in your spending to account for it. Any decisions financially should always be to make your life easier and less stressful as there’s nothing worse than worrying about money.
AVOID ENDLESS SCROLLING
After Christmas, it is easy to get sucked into endless scrolling. So many of us sit on the sofa in a food coma, checking out the online sales and then by January when we’re back to work and all of our friends shopping packages have arrived, we’re sucked into scrolling through social media being influenced into spending money on more things that we didn’t know we even wanted. This can be a dangerous game, as it often leads to impulse purchases. Before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds on a cute pair of shoes, a new jacket, a new highlighter or foundation… Try to avoid getting sucked in.
Why not pause or unsubscribe from store emails this January to stop you from splurging? Or simply delete them as they come through before you get the chance to open them. I’ve turned all the notifications for my social media off for the foreseeable so that I can focus on actually getting my work complete but I’m finding that its having a really positive impact on my spending too as I’m not being inspired to buy more things. I’m focusing on earning, moving forward and the sales buys I’ve made this year really have been things that I’ve wanted and needed.
THE SALES I’VE SHOPPED THIS YEAR
When it comes to sales shopping, I don’t endlessly search websites anymore as I’ve said because it encourages me to spend money that I haven’t got but I do have some websites that I’ll check periodically because I have a wishlist of their clothes and sometimes I haven’t got the funds but if I do, I’ll always check their pages incase any of my wishlist items have gone in the sale.
One of these fashion websites is River Island where I bought the khaki boots that I’m wearing in this post today, in the sale before Christmas and the black, roll neck jumper dress that I bought in the January sale. I’d been wanting a black knitted dress for days at work where it’s too cold to wear something fine and tailored but not appropriate to wear just anything warm and snuggly. This dress is the perfect choice because it feels like I’m wearing my duvet but its still smart enough for the job in social media and PR that I do.
The Philips Steam & Go handheld steamer that I bought was a real bargain and something that I really needed to help me with my clothes at home. It’s originally £89.99 and I hadn’t seen it dip below this price at all until one day I was in John Lewis and they had it for £60, yet it was still full price on their website. I nabbed it while I could and I was so happy that the store staff honoured the price. John Lewis are really good for price matching other stores too so do check out when they have that offer advertised.
The only other sale that I’ve really shopped is the Shark Clean website where I bought the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with the Twin Battery on sale for £129.99 from £179.99. Unfortunately its back up to full price now but you can still get the one with the single battery for £95 rather than £129.99 if you’re quick. In all honesty though, they’re that good I think they’re worth their weight in gold at full price, not just on sale. I wrote a post earlier this month about admitting that I needed help to keep on top of the cleaning at home with being so busy at work and that I would focus on maintaining the home in between the deep cleans and the Shark Handheld Vacuum Cleaner has definitely been helping with that. I’ve had mine for a few weeks now and I am loving the impact that it has had on my home!
What sales have you been shopping or eyeing up? What tips do you have to shop the sales wisely in January?