Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
2:00 AM 25th December 2021

Tips For Shopping Smart This Boxing Day

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
After all the Christmas chaos comes Boxing Day. And with so many tempting deals and discounts live from December 26th, it can be very easy to get blindsided during the annual sales event.

Bearing this in mind, Nick Drewe, money-saving expert at online discounts platform WeThrift, has provided his roundup of tips on how to shop smart and avoid wasting money this Boxing Day.

Know what you want

As with any sales event, Boxing Day is going to be made up of countless offers on items that you simply don’t need. And so, the best way to avoid becoming distracted by all these deals is to have a pre-prepared list of all the items you intend to buy on the day, and that you will actually use or benefit from once purchased. Setting yourself a financial budget - to avoid spending your entire monthly pay before January even arrives - would also be sensible.

If you are shopping online, it’s wise to save the items that you’d like to purchase to your cart the night before. What’s more, websites such as ASOS have boards where you can save items, so it’s important to use these to narrow down what you really need. Taking these steps in the run up to Boxing Day will make your shopping experience a lot easier and increase your chances of securing your most desired bargains.

Do compare deals

So you’ve found a good deal - but how does this particular offer match up with those from other retailers?

Comparing deals is typically easier to do online, as there are websites such as CamelCamelCamel which show you price drops, as well as the price history of items on Amazon. When comparing deals, don’t forget to also look at customer reviews to see whether others have had a good or bad experience with the item you intend to buy.

Look at product guarantees

If shopping for household items, it would be sensible to compare the different guarantees retailers are offering. For example, while Amazon may offer a cheap price deal on a vacuum cleaner, it may actually be better value for your money to buy the product from a retailer that offers a better product guarantee compared to the one offered by Amazon. Even though you may be spending a little bit more on the same product from Currys, at least you know that the product is protected for longer from any issues further down the line.

Research product histories

The item you want may be on sale, but it could be the case that it may have been available at the same price (if not cheaper) at other times during the year. That said, be sure to check the price history of your chosen product to determine whether you are actually getting a deal.

Web tools like CamelCamelCamel will give you insight on how much Amazon products have been sold for previously. PriceRunner is also an excellent tool if you want to target wider retail coverage. If you find that your product has been advertised at the same price before, then flag it as a low priority for your Boxing Day shopping.

Don’t always trust the sales terminology

Similarly, it’s important to take all sales terminology you come across with a pinch of salt. A classic term to watch out for is ‘price promise’. When it comes to matching prices, it’s important to know that John Lewis does not match another retailer unless it has a store presence.

As well as this, be wary of products that are advertised with ‘was prices’, e.g. ‘was £70’. Research by Which? reveals that retailers sometimes use old RRPs (recommended retail prices) as ‘was’ prices, meaning they reflect the value of the item when it was first released and not its current value. Also, Amazon displays every single price reduction as a discount - even if the price drop is as little as 1p.

Keep an eye out on social media and emails

Flash sales and discounts tend to get advertised on social media, so make sure you are following all of your favourite retailers in the run up to Boxing Day. Brands such as PrettyLittleThing, Missguided and Boohoo do have a track record of making big sales announcements on their Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

To further ensure you don’t miss out on a great deal, sign up to the newsletters of your favourite retailers. These will send you email alerts of the latest sales updates, and there will even be a link which will take you straight onto the product page.

Spend as you earn

If you’re planning on carrying out some online Boxing Day shopping, sign up to cashback sites such as Quidco and Topcashback. These are free to use and offer deals of more than 4,000 retailers.

Likewise, if you are planning to make a big purchase, be sure to checkout with a credit card that will reward you on your spending - whether that’s in air miles or retail vouchers. When it comes to credit card purchases, remember to pay your balance off in full each month to avoid hefty interest fees and poor credit ratings.

Check the returns policy

If you’re not happy with the product(s) you buy, you must not delay when it comes to claiming your money back.

If you’ve bought something online, The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states you have 14 days to return an item you don’t want. For in-store purchases, you can return items for a refund or exchange only if your retailer has a returns policy, but almost all shops have one these days. During the festive season, many shops do tend to offer extended return periods, but again it’s best to check the policy of your chosen retailer.

Dealing with a faulty item? You have 30 days to get a full refund on this. However, you have longer than this if you’re happy to get a replacement or the item fixed, as shops have a requirement of six months to repair or replace faulty products.