Most of us could do with some useful tips to avoid wasting money in the sales. We all love a bargain, but sales aren't always the best way of getting one. Follow these tips to avoid wasting money in the sales and ending up with a houseful of horrors you'll never wear or use …
1. Check Your Wardrobe First
The first of my tips to avoid wasting money in the sales is to look in your wardrobe before going out shopping. It's surprisingly easy to forget about some of the clothes you own, and buy something similar. Unless you wear the same type of garment all the time, you don't need more like it, so avoid picking up another pair of black shoes/sequinned party dress/animal print bag if you've already got them.
2. Avoid the First Day
The first day of sales can be a manic rush to grab the best bargains. Stay at home instead, and save your sales browsing for other, quieter times. The opening day is often pretty hyped, especially in the larger stores, and people grab handfuls of clothes just so they can go home with some 'bargains'.
3. Think Twice
You might pick up piles of clothes on the grounds that you will return anything you don't like, but save yourself the bother. They'll probably lurk at the back of your closets because you forget to return them or can't be bothered. Think twice about whether you really like a garment, and don't buy things you're not certain about.
Shops use psychology all year round to get us to spend, but sales are even worse. They'll put '70% off' in huge letters to grab your attention - but just before it in tiny letters is 'up to'. They're trying to implant the idea in your mind that you're making huge savings, when the reality is that most of the items on sale will have much smaller discounts.
5. Really a Bargain?
Sales are usually full of the items that haven't sold for a very good reason - the buyers have misjudged tastes, the items aren't of very good quality, or they're in unpopular sizes. Stores may even try sneaky tactics like raising prices before sales, then 'reducing' them for the sales, or bringing in unsold stock from elsewhere. They want you to think you're getting a bargain.
6. Take a Friend
Sales shopping with a friend can help you avoid a lot of pointless or undesirable purchases. They can tell you if an item is the wrong fit or color, and steer you away from anything unflattering. Also if someone sees how much you're spending it may rein you in.
7. Take Cash
Finally, take cash when you go sales shopping, and don't feel you have to spend it all. It's fine to come home with few or no bargains. Paying in cash means that you won't keep getting out your credit card because you've spotted another bargain, and you'll think more carefully about what you want to buy.
It is possible to find some really good bargains - I paid €5 for the jeans I've got on now, and have had loads of wear out of them. You have to look carefully and be selective about what you buy. But don't waste your money just because something's in the sales. What's your best bargain ever?