Yes, people it’s that time of the year for Holiday Sales, when everyone is spending spending spending…it is also the time of the year where we tend to collect the most clutter and waste. As promised, this post is about the end of the season sales. Here at THB, I see these sales as both good and bad…good because they provide ways to get the same items for less money…bad because they are very enticing and can get you into all kinds of trouble (spending more than you need to and adding clutter to your spaces). So, I like to approach these sales with a plan, a roadmap if you will so you don’t get lost and today I am going to help you develop yours. I believe that you shouldn’t just spend money with no goal or purpose in mind…oh and for those who think they are slick, that purpose can’t be to buy up everything in the store lol.
So, just to get everyone thinking about things the same way, here is a list of the major sales that happen throughout the year. Note, this list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea of the various popular sales. Stores also have their own unique mega sale events so if you have a favorite, try to figure out their sale cycle and notate it on your personal shopping plan schedule. Also, if you know of any sales that aren’t listed here, please post them in the comments section so we can all update our lists.
New Year’s Day
The day/Week of and after each major holiday
The end of each major season (winter, spring, summer and fall)
No Sales Tax Weekend
Back to School Sales
Personal Holiday Sales Shopping Plan
So let’s begin developing your personal shopping plan. The reason I suggest doing this is so you don’t walk in the store with your eyes twinkling like a kid on Christmas. I don’t want you to buy up the entire store because you are too excited and enticed. There is a whole science behind store displays and how to get people to buy more. You should know before you enter a store what items you are looking for or need (this goes for the major sales as well as every day shopping). Below are a few steps you should follow to develop your personal shopping plan:
Document Upcoming Life Events
Think about upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, etc. If there are registries or gift lists make sure you review those and notate items you may want to pick up. Note: it is ok if you don’t get exactly what is on the list, especially if the item really speaks to you during the specific sale. I would suggest starting by doing this annually, and update/revisit it each month or quarter to ensure you have your mind set on what needs to be purchased. Also, sale cycles usually fall in a quarterly or monthly fashion as well so this is aligned just right.
Devise your Holiday Sale Shopping budget
I encourage you to develop your holiday shopping budget before you go any further. This budget will ensure you know what you can truly afford and aren’t letting what you want dictate your budget. It is amazing how giving yourself a limit adjusts your actions. Again, I recommend thinking wholistically about the entire year and then breaking that down into a quarterly or monthly goal. This budget based on life happenings may need to be adjusted throughout the year. Most of the time this adjustment goes down, but in some cases it has to go up.
Develop your Want and Need List
We encourage you to create two separate lists so it is easier to decipher when you are approaching your budget limit, what should stay and what should go. This is also important that you build this list wholistically and then revisit it each month and/or quarter. Your needs and wants change as the year moves along. You are able to refocus yourself and sometimes that requires you to refocus your list.
Identify your Want and Need Sale Cycle
Now that you have your list, you will need to identify any known sale cycles that will benefit your need or want to get an item. Many basic items go on sale every three months. Some only go on sale once a year at a rock bottom price. You should know what the best time is to buy the item. For example, holiday décor is best at the end of the season or at the very beginning (for previous season items). Mattresses and cars have their own…electronics have theirs too. Furniture can be purchased with 0% interest during specific times of the year. Luggage and Linens have their own too.
Know your products regular price
Knowing the regular price of an item is extremely important to saving money. Again, with the science of buying habits. Many stores will put flashy signs on things to draw your attention to them, but the price isn’t different. I have even seen where stores have increased the price right before the holiday and then put it “on sale” on the holiday…so technically you are buying it for regular price. If you can’t easily obtain the regular price, just determine what you are willing to pay for an item. You can even compare three different store prices and take the median price as the regular price.
Review Holiday Sales ads/websites
Compare the various sale ads and websites to determine which store you want to visit first. During major holiday sales, stores will have lots of crowds. If that store has majority of your need items and you visit another that only has one or two, you may miss out on the bargain or end up paying a higher price at another store. This also lets you know that although one store is sold out, another store may have the same item for the same price or just a little more. Make sure to read the fine print, some have rules that they don’t share as prominently as the rest of the ad.
In Store vs. Online Purchase Restrictions
This helps avoid your need to fight big crowds to obtain an item. I know during Black Friday and the day after Christmas sales this is a great option. The stores usually sell out fast and online is a little slower to sell out. Also, many stores sell a select number of items each day during a peak season like Black Friday.
Also, go through your coupons to see if any will apply during that day. In some cases the coupons are not excluded during the sales. Stores also have apps or loyalty clubs where they send notices and coupons before a big sale.
Logistical Planning for Holiday Sales
Alright, so now you should have your personal shopping road map and can conquer these sales like a pro…but wait, you aren’t fully equipped unless you make sure to plan logistically for the sales. That’s right, I said it…logistically you have to be ready. You have to follow some basic shopping rules when tackling these major sales because you have to be able to bob and weave (ok I just cracked myself up). Seriously, when going to these sales (specifically the major Black Friday and after season sales) you have to be ready to move. Here are a few things I have learned over the years:
- If you have time, check the store out the day before the holiday to see what they have left in stock. This will help you determine if that is a store you need to visit first or not. Also, ask the salesperson if they will be re-positioning the items for the sale. This will let you know if the items will be in the same spot or not.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes – my suggestion is to wear jeans, tennis shoes and layers (if in the cooler months). You don’t want a big bulky coat to lug around because when you get hot that is one more thing you have to keep up with. There are a lot of people around so you have to be able to move quickly without worrying about heat stroke.
- Leave the big purse at home – hopefully you have opted to just take cash with you, but if you didn’t make sure you take your smallest purse. I have what we call our shopping purse. A shopping purse is usually a small purse with a strap long enough to go across your body, or a backpack type of purse. Ultimately, something you don’t have to hang over your shoulder as you maneuver through all the people.
- Those huge stroller should be left at home – I suggest getting a baby sitter for the day. Now if you have no choice great, but you will seriously be able to maneuver a lot faster without a child along for the ride (been there done that wouldn’t recommend it).
- Divide and conquer – review your lists before entering the store and determine who is going to get what. This helps especially if there are a number of items you want from one store.
- Grab and Review – In major sale situations, especially if there is only one item on the shelf that you are contemplating, get it along with whatever else you are considering purchasing and then find a spot where you can review your items and evaluate whether you should get it or not. Total the items, compare it to your needs/wants list as well as your budget. That way you don’t have buyer’s remorse.
Alright, so I think you are armed with the key tips for shopping the major sales and will not come home broke with a bunch of clutter. Do you have any tips I have missed here? If so, please leave them in the comments below.
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