We're into the 'final reductions' end of the sales, and research from First Direct claims that the average family has spent £650 in the past 12 days. However, according to MoneySupermarket, a quarter of people have bough something in a recent sale that they regretted - wasting a shocking total of £865 million in the process. We reveal the 10 ways you were led astray this sales season.
1. Trading up
If something is reduced, we're more likely to consider buying the high-end option. We're less likely to ask ourselves whether we actually need the extra specification, because we're blinded by the discount.
2. Shopping for fun
During the long Christmas period it's tempting to take a break from the sofa and hit the shops. If you cannot resist a bargain, you'll end up spending money just for a nice day out - which is a terrible reason to spend tens or even hundreds of pounds.
3. Joining the mad rush
If you go to the sales for the thrill of beating the crowds to the bargains, that thrill won't even last until you get the purchase home. At that point, you're just left with an ill-considered mistake.
If you go shopping for a coat and nothing else, you'll come home with a bargain coat or nothing else. If you go along to see what they have, you'll return having spent just as much - and you'll still need to buy a coat.
5. Buying fashion
The stores are offloading stock at the end of the season, before bringing in the new season's stuff. If you buy anything for the sake of fashion, you're buying into a trend that's about to end.
6. Buying blind
Just because the label says there's 20% off, it doesn't mean you cannot find it cheaper elsewhere - possibly even at full price. You abandon the mantra of shopping around at your peril.
7. Buying hopefully
If it doesn't fit you at exactly the size you are right now, don't buy it. It'll just sit unused in the wardrobe making you feel bad.
8. Buying near the till.
The queues during the sales season see hundreds of thousands of people browse their way through shelves full of things they don't need, while they wait to pay. If you pick up anything unnecessary at this stage you can wipe out any potential saving.
9. Putting it on a credit card.
If you carry the debt for couple of months you can add 5% to the price of your 'fantastic bargain'. If you carry it indefinitely, and just make the minimum repayment, a casual low-value spend could end up costing you hundreds of pounds.
10. Staying too long
There's only so long we can stay on top of our price-comparing, sensible-decision-making game. If you don't recognise when you're starting to fade, you risk blundering around picking up anything you fancy just for the sake of it.
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