Get the most out of the January sales

Caroline Cassidy

If you just can't get enough of shopping, even after the Christmas rush, or you're desperate to bag a bargain, the January sales offer a wealth of cut price opportunities. But what with the queues, the crowds and the pushing and shoving, it's easy to get distracted and end up splashing your hard-earned cash on cheap goods that you either don't want or don't need.

Shoppers at the January sales
Shoppers at the January sales

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Make the most of the sales with these handy tips.

Plan ahead
Don't rush headlong into the fray without a plan of action. Before the big day arrives, make sure you prioritise those things that you actually need. Whether its electrical goods, clothes, linen or DVDs you're after, if you go without a list you're likely to end up with plenty of bargains... none of which you really needed.

By tackling the sales with a list in hand, you'll not only be able to head directly to the necessary shops but you'll be focused on specific items while the rest of the crowds wander aimlessly.

If you know beforehand the items you want to buy, it's worth checking out what the standard retail price is. As shocking as it may seem, there are some in the retail business who bump up the prices to make the reductions sound irresistible but with a little research, you'll know a bargain when you see one.

Limit yourself
Always, always, always set yourself a price limit. Once you're in amongst the panicked crowds it's all too easy to get carried away and end up spending more than you wanted or, worse still, more than you've got. Set yourself a limit and stick to it... and if you think you may falter, leave the credit card at home.

Beware faulty goods
This applies largely to electrical items - the slashed price on a 'sold as seen' product may not necessarily be the bargain you think it is. Be sure to check the quality and ask staff about the warranty. Remember, some offers really are too good to be true.

Stock up
Okay, so it's probably the last thing you want to think about, but the January sales are the time to buy decorations, cards and wrapping paper for the next festive season. If you stock up now, you'll have more to spend come next Christmas!

Don't forget to log on
If you just can't face the post-Christmas rush, try shopping online for your bargains. With everything from electricals and homeware to entertainment and fashion, the world wide web offers excellent savings, often with free delivery, allowing you to bag a bargain without even leaving the house.

Good luck out there!