Bagging a bargain

Today’s post is almost dedicated to a skill I’m particularly proud of – bagging a bargain.

One of my favourites is the three-pound dress that has been wheeled out on numerous occasions now over the last 4 years that always seems to garner a compliment.

But the bargain battlefield can be complex. We’ve just come out of “Black Friday” “Cyber Monday” “Pre-Christmas sales” “boxing day sales” and finally “January sales”.

With so many options to grab something at a discounted price, how do you know if the deal you’re getting is the best deal available or if you hold out for a few more days it will still be in stock?

Well, there is a pretty basic step. If you want it and it’s a price you can afford and you can’t find it somewhere else cheaper it is probably a good deal.

But sometimes the thinking needs to run deeper than that, how long have you spent searching? How long has it been discounted for? Will you actually use it as much as you think you will? Clearly, the aforementioned 3 quid dress was a bargain at first sight, but is say, a set of plates that is advertising 20% off and coming in at £42.50 a good deal?

The first step is to ignore the RRP. Or the figure of how much of a percentage saving they are offering, some Black Friday deals were more expensive than when the same item was being sold at a different time. The only figure that really matters is the amount you offer at the checkout. If that’s the cheapest price you’ve seen for the product, it’s a bargain at that point. Of course, the price might reduce further in future – especially if a newer model comes out. This is where the “what would upset me more” thought is applied. Would you be more sad if you didn’t have it all or if you learned that you could have waited 10 days and saved more money? If you can wait that extra time, you might also want to know if you need it all?

And, you can always ask for a bargain here once you’ve found the product at the price you like! There was a time when I was shopping in a high street clothes store and found a top I liked, the same style and pattern in a different size was £20 cheaper. So, I politely went to the checkout and asked if they could price match it to the other size. Naturally, the store manager needed to be called over and the price was accepted. A simple reminder that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

I’m attending a wedding in July and bought my dress in the end of summer clearance sale last year – £12 – an old jacket and shoes will probably do. As long as fashion doesn’t drastically move on in the next few months, I’ll hopefully be one of the best dressed in a cheap ensemble!

I’ll leave the preaching of pretending to be as savvy as Martin Lewis here, but will offer one final nugget of advice. If you’re not shopping online, make sure you are logged in to the store and close your browser and if you’re lucky an email will tempt you back with a discount. (I tried this with Very once for a handbag and when I went back it was out of stock so make sure this isn’t something you desperately need!)

Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips and tricks to break through the sale fog that the January sales can bring to nail a true bargain.

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