Taking advantage of Christmas sales is a great way to save and get more for your money if you know how to shop wisely and don’t fall into the sales pitfalls. Many merchants and retailers offer great sales in anticipation of the Christmas holiday in hopes of convincing you to come into their stores so you can spend more money. Often the sale is the bait that lures shoppers in, but their real hope is that more money will be spent on other wares once consumers are in the door.
The trick to taking advantage of Christmas sales is to shop wisely and spend smart. You don’t want to spend money that is going to break the bank, the key is to take advantage of Christmas sales, not spend more than you’d planned to spend in the first place. Here are a few shopping tips to help you take advantage of the Christmas sales:
Avoid impulse buys
Impulse buys typically end up as the biggest reason people overspend their budgets during Christmas. If you want to avoid impulse shopping, make a list of who you want to buy for and put down a general idea of what you want to purchase; stick to the list.
Sometimes an impulse buy will save you money if you find something different to buy for someone, but then be sure to remember not to overstock your Christmas list with gifts you won’t end up giving.
Some stores offer early morning sales for shoppers who are willing to get up at the break of dawn and hit the shopping circuit. Often Black Friday is a good day for this, but keep in mind it is, for the most part, chaos trying to weave through shopping sales on this day. Early bird sales can save a lot of money, but the tradeoff can be crowds and waiting in lines, especially on Black Friday. However, if you plot your course carefully, you can take advantage of the sales and get out of the stores with your sanity kept intact, or simply shop from the comfort of your own home. Some stores stretch these bargains out over other days too, so keep an eye out for them if the idea of Black Friday doesn’t excite you. Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday is another possible option for finding good buys.
Try to find coupons
Coupons are a great incentive to save if you take the time to clip them or are willing to put yourself on mailing lists in order to get bargains. The tradeoff here is you’ll be part of a targeted marketing campaign by submitting any kind of information, but sometimes the percentage off coupons or other savings is sometimes worth the tradeoff – just remember to keep privacy in mind if this is important to you.
Use the Internet to comparison shop
The Internet is a great resource to comparison shop for items. If you already know what kind of gifts you want to buy, check online first. You may be able to find ‘Internet only’ specials or find the bargains at a store you may not have considered shopping at for your items.
As retailers rush to make more room on their shelves for items that are currently in demand, often some great deals on perfectly great merchandise, such as clothing or holiday items, find themselves on the clearance racks. The items are often in great shape and the only thing lowered is the price. Sometimes you might find exactly what you’re looking for in the clearance section of the store.
If you are on a budget and the item you’re looking for is not a gift, or one that is a gift for someone you won’t see until after the Christmas holiday, consider shopping during the post-holiday sales. This is a time where retailers tend to really slash their prices in the hopes of moving unsold inventory. Another thought is to begin your Christmas shopping the previous year during the after-Christmas sales. Often you’ll find sales from 50 to 90 percent off during this time frame.
You can buy those timeless items or gifts you know you want to buy ahead of time and stash them away until next year. Be sure to note down somewhere you did this, so you don’t forget. A forgotten gift stored in a closet doesn’t save you any money unless you remember to wrap and actually give them to the intended recipient.
Shopping on a budget may have some challenges, but if you take advantage of the Christmas sales through early bird sales, comparison shopping, coupons, clearance and avoiding impulse buys, you can really save some money during the Christmas holiday season.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.