Making Cents: Bagging a bargain, the golden rules of sales shopping

Making Cents: Bagging a bargain, the golden rules of sales shopping

Young woman at the street with shopping bags talking on mobile phone, sales shopping stock Making Cents

We haven’t even recycled the wrapping from the Christmas gifts yet but we are already into the next bout of spending, the January (or more accurately post-Christmas) sales.

If you are fired up by a fresh opportunity to bag a bargain, enjoy and keep the golden rules of sales shopping in mind.

An item is only ever a good deal if you would have considered buying it at full price. You will end up with a more satisfying haul if you take the time beforehand to figure out what you actually need and very few bargains are worth spending money you really can’t afford.

If you received any gift cards under the tree, consider using those first. The rules around gift cards and vouchers have been strengthened in favour of the consumer in recent years and must now be valid for a minimum of five years.

But being valid and getting used are two different things, and it’s not uncommon for gift cards to be put aside and forgotten. Add in the risk of the issuer going out of business and the fact that some cards gift cards have maintenance fees, reducing the balance for every month they are unused, it makes sense to use them sooner rather than later.

Super-savvy shoppers can also use the January sales as an opportunity to save money later in the year — again only if you are not putting yourself in debt now.

If you have funds available, why not have a think about any big-ticket spending coming up in the next few months. It might be a wedding you know you will be attending or a loved one expecting a baby — even Valentine’s Day for the thrifty romantic. Buying gifts like these in the January sales can be a real money saver, just store them away until the time comes.

Parents can also save money by buying clothes that will fit by the summer or even putting away birthday presents.

This could be a risky move in case of a passing fad but stalwarts like bikes or scooters are worth considering.

And of course, there are the true bargain hunters, who use the post-Christmas reductions to stock up on cards, decorations, wrapping and even gifts for next year. An organisational step too far for most of us but you have to respect that level of planning and discipline.

Finally, don’t forget to think carefully about where you want to spend your money.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the pressure it put on Irish businesses has led to a huge groundswell of support for the idea of shopping locally, where possible.

According to a survey by fintech firm Revolut, Irish companies secured 71% of Black Friday profits this year, turning Black Friday green.

It is something Irish retailers would love to see continue in the sales and 2022 generally.

“A large shift was seen in Irish consumers who were really shopping with a conscience and opting to purchase locally,” Bríd O Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish said.

“The numbers show this trend continuing with almost 75% of Irish companies retaining Black Friday profits and really boosting the Irish economy, given the local multiplier effect.

“Into the January sales, we urge Irish consumers to maintain this sentiment when shopping in-store and online.”

Guaranteed Irish report more business going abroad when it comes to online shopping and is asking Irish consumers to also consider the local option when shopping online.

“Guaranteed Irish encourage consumers to seek out the .ie domain to discover businesses with an Irish connection. To assuage safety concerns, a simple hack for ensuring you are safely browsing the web is to always look for websites whose address begins with a https:// (as opposed to a http).

This indicates a more secure internet connection when buying online from websites that use an encrypted protocol to increase security. Guaranteed Irish and .ie are determined to see trends of online shopping through Irish websites grow.”

Pick of the week

Aldi has a budget price solution to the perennial winter problem of how to dry clothes indoors, with a Heated Airer on sale for €49.99.

Clothes airers are more cost-effective than tumble dryers when it comes to getting the laundry dry.

The airer has 20 heated bars and includes a cover to aid drying time. It is approximately 147x54×94cm when open, with a 1.4m power cable.

It also folds down to save space when not in use and is approximately approx 113x54×54cm when folded.

Don’t delay if interested, the Heated Airer went on sale as a Specialbuy yesterday and are likely to sell out quickly.

If you are determined to get a head start on spring cleaning, the German retailer also has a range of laundry and cleaning specials going on sale in Aldi stores nationwide from January.

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