Your go-to guide to shopping the sales

It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t love a good sale. After all who wants to spend more than they really have to? But sales have their downsides and can often lead you to buy items you don’t need (or really don’t want), thus defeating the whole purpose by not really saving your money at all.

So how can you avoid falling into the sale trap? Here are five handy hints to bear in mind before indulging in some discounted retail therapy.

1. Make a list
It’s the oldest trick in the book. Weather you’re going grocery shopping or clothes shopping, taking stock of what you already have and making a list of what you need never fails. This is even truer when it comes to sales that easily distract you with their flashy red marked down prices screaming at you. 

Take the time to assess your wardrobe first and make that list!

2. Say no to tailoring
If you pick something up on sale that needs to be altered, you need to factor in the extra money you’ll need to do this. Ask yourself: after the cost of tailoring, are you really getting a good deal?If the answer is no, then you might want to skip this so-called ‘bargain’.

3. Don’t double up
This may sound obvious, but we tend to gravitate towards versions of items we already own. Personally, I’m a sucker for stripes. Although I already own in excess of six striped tops, I can’t walk past one in a shop without having to pick it up. I have to physically stop myself from taking it home. Unless your black blazer is falling apart, you really don’t need another one – it will only make your mornings harder having to decide on which to wear.

4. Know your rights
I cannot stress the importance of checking the return or exchange policy before purchasing. This is incredibly crucial when it comes to sale items, as often part of the reason you’re getting such a good price is because the store never wants to see it again. This means unless it falls apart or is deemed faulty, you won’t be able to return it no matter how much you regret your purchase.

5. Walk away
I know, I know, it’s not easy. And yes, there is a good chance it might not be still there when you come back, but often we get caught up in the heat of the moment, buying things we wouldn’t have only if we’d walked away.

Leave the shop, have a think about the item in question, and if you’re still thinking about it a few days later, go back and buy it. It’s funny how quickly we forget about that pair of shoes we just had to have, and even if you do miss out, remind yourself it wasn’t meant to be. You’ll find something better and realise that’s why it never worked out with that other man, I mean shoe!

Do you have any other tips you for shopping at sales? What’s the best item you ever picked up at a sale? Why?

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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