Bag a bargain, not buyer's remorse

How to use Boxing Day sales to your advantage.

With Boxing Day sales and New Year clearances around the corner, now’s the time to plan your sales shopping strategy.

Follow these tips to ensure you bag a bargain and don’t end up with buyer’s remorse. 

Make a budget

Work out how much you’re willing to spend during the sale, or on a particular item. 

It’s also important to decide whether the amount of money you’re willing to spend is a hard limit or if there is any wiggle room. For example, if you’ve got your eye on a new smartphone you could decide that you’re willing to spend no more than $800 or that you have some wiggle room in your budget and are happy to spend $800 to $1000.

You could also decide whether your budget applies to one particular item or your total spend. For example, if you have to buy two gifts you could decide on a $50 limit on each gift or an $100 total. If you decide on the $100 total limit and you find the perfect gift for $60, you’ll still be able to stick to your budget if you spend less than $40 on the second gift.

Knowing how much you’re comfortable spending during the sale period will mean you’re less likely to impulse buy something you don’t really want or need. 

List it

Shopping the sales is like shopping in a supermarket: if you don’t have a list, you’ll probably come home with things you don’t really need. 

If you’re the kind of person who is seduced by a sale, consider creating a list of items that you want to buy. 

Prioritise items into categories:

  • Items that you need: These will serve a purpose, such as new work shoes, a replacement kitchen appliance or birthday presents.
  • Items that you want: These will improve your life a bit, such as a phone upgrade.
  • Items that you desire: These things that will just make you happy, such as the latest video game or a new dress.

Once you’ve purchased the items you need, you can look at whether there’s room in your budget for items that you want or desire.

Compare prices

Google how much the items on your list usually retail for to determine whether you’re getting a bargain.

Apps such as ShopSavy and Google Shopping make it easy to compare the same product across a range of different retailers.

Consider extra costs

Extra costs such as currency conversion, shipping and international transaction fees can negate any sales savings.

Before buying online, check the retailer’s shipping costs and return policies.

if you’re buying from an overseas retailer, convert the prices to Australian dollars and check whether your bank charges an international transaction fee. You should factor these expenses into price comparisons.

Consider splitting shipping costs with friends or family buying from the same website.

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.