If you're heading out today to take advantage of the Boxing Day sales, here are five tips to help you snag a bargain without breaking the bank.
Create a list
At this time of the year (and depending on how good the sales are), it is easy to get carried away at the sales and end up spending too much or buying items you don't need. The best way to avoid temptation is by making a list of things you need. Even before you hit the shops, you should do your research by looking online and see exactly what kind of items you want. If you're hoping to buy clothes, take a look at your wardrobe to see what you're missing or needing. Another tip is to think about the year ahead and make a list of things you may need in the future.
Don't buy for the sake of it
When you see a fantastic deal on an item, you can fall into the trap of buying it in the heat of the moment. But when we buy things we don't need, we often end up putting them at the back of our wardrobes where they are promptly forgotten. At the end of the day, the item isn't a good deal if you never end up using it. As you're shopping, remember to stay level-headed and think clearly and calmly about all your purchases. In some cases, if you are feeling indecisive about an item, it might be best not to buy it and give yourself time to think.
Credit cards are a very convenient way of shopping, but they can get out of hand quite easily and quickly. If you've already spent quite a bit in the lead up to Christmas, you have probably accumulated some debt and this will only grow if you are using your credit card to pay for purchases. A handy workaround is to go old-school and pay with cash. It is a physical way for you to see how much you're spending and it will help you think carefully about your purchases.
These days, many stores offer the same deals for products online as they do in store. Not only can you beat the crowds, but you can shop from the comfort of your lounge and compare prices on items all with the click of a mouse. In addition, you may find it easier to stay on top of your spending. It is also a good way to research what you would like to buy, so if you do head to the shops in person, you know exactly what you want.
Check returns policies
Make sure you read the retailer's policy on returns. You might think you can buy something and return it later for a refund because you changed your mind. However, some shops may only offer an exchange or store credit. There may also be a time limit on change-of-mind returns, so check the conditions on the receipt or contact the store. Make sure you don't leave returns until the last minute and do your best to keep all receipts.