You can’t miss them – they’re everywhere at the moment. The January sales. But even the savviest shopper can get swept up in all of the apparent deals without stopping to check – is it actually a good deal for me?
If you’ve resolved to make this year a better one financially, make sure those bargains you’re swooping up pay off.
Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself to ensure that you’re actually getting the bargain you bargained for.
Be cynical about savings
Every shop and site may be screaming about the bargains they offer, but never assume you’re getting a good deal simply because it comes with a yellow sticker with a discount. Shop around or use a price comparison site to see what that best price is before rushing in to buy the first deal that you see.
Ask yourself: "Would I buy this anyway?"
If you’re buying a discounted product that you need or intended to get anyway, then you’re probably getting a reasonable deal. After all, the alternative would have been spending more to get it at full price.
However, if the only thing that’s drawing you to the product is its price slash, then you may need to think again.
Our top trick is to imagine someone offering you the money in one hand and the product you’re about to buy in the other. If you’d choose the cash, then you know not to go ahead with the purchase.
Ask yourself: "Is it worth it to me?"
We’ve just mentioned checking prices against the going rate, but in some cases the going rate could be more than you think is reasonable.
If you’re about to buy something that you don’t really need then, think about what else you could spend the money on before going ahead.
You might realise that the money would make you happier if you spent it elsewhere.
Check your rights
This one’s particularly important if you’re prone to impulse shopping. Always check on the returns policy. Whereas most places will allow you to return items within 28 days, some can change their terms for sale items.
Consider how it fits into your overall budget
A deal is only a deal if you can afford it.
Splashing out on a sale item doesn’t have to be a bad idea, so long as it isn’t going to force you to compromise on more important expenses.
If you see something that you love, then decide whether it fits into your budget before going ahead. It may mean cutting down on something else, which is fine, as long as you’re happy to make the sacrifice.
Follow our tips above to make sure that this year, you bag a bargain.