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Top 10 tactics: finding bargains in the January sales

Our top tips will help you identify hot deals


If you haven’t found exactly what you want under the Christmas tree, you might want to treat yourself to something special in the January sales. Follow our top 10 bargain-hunting tactics to make sure you beat others to the best deals.

Below are the top 10 tactics that Which? experts use to find the best bargains in the January sales. If you want to see some of the great deals we’ve found, check out our guide to the January sales 2014.

1. Know what you want

There is a lot to be said for making a good old-fashioned shopping list, as it will lessen the chance of you getting distracted. Use our Best Buy guides to identify the exact models you are interested in before you hit the shops. If you’re not yet a Which? member you can help yourself avoid disappointment in the sales by getting access to all our reviews with a £1 trial to Which?. 

2. Work out what is a good price

To find out what is a good price for the items you want, do some shopping around. Check online at the retailer’s own website, then on eBay and Amazon and price comparison sites such as PriceRunner or MegaShopBot.com. If you have a smartphone, download an app that will enable you to scan a product and instantly check if it’s cheaper elsewhere (eg. Skinflint). 

3. Get there first

Boxing Day is on course to break records as the biggest shopping day ever, according to data services company Experian. Before you head to a store, check out when its sale starts and aim to get there before its doors open. Be prepared to queue. Fashion retailer Next will begin its winter sale in most stores at 6am and, if last year is anything to go by, shoppers will be queuing from the early hours! 

4. Bargain hunt from home

Many online retailers begin their sales ahead of the traditional Boxing Day rush. Amazon’s sale will start on Christmas Day – keep an eye on its website to find out the time. Members-only shopping site Achica also plans to offer ‘up to 80% off’ clearance events before the big day.

5. Sign up for alerts 

Join mailing lists so retailers can notify you about their latest deals. If you’re on Facebook you can ‘like’ them to get updates or follow them on Twitter. Shopping on the move is popular too so many companies have apps that let you download the latest offers.

6. Check deals throughout January

Even if you don’t make the opening day of a particular sale, you’ll find the sales last into the middle of the month, and many stores cut prices even further in the final few days of their sale. 

7. Don’t be shy

If you’re buying on the high street, don’t be afraid to ask for the best price. You can do the same if you’re buying at home – just phone up and ask for a reduction.  There is no downside to haggling. And if you find a cheap price online but want to buy from a high street shop, just take your proof to a high street retailer that offers a price matching guarantee – such as John Lewis. 

8. Factor in loyalty points

Some schemes are pretty generous and you may find you can exchange your points for vouchers of an even greater value at some stores. For example, Nectar points can be used to buy Argos vouchers at a discount – effectively giving you a discount on any product at Argos. 

9. Use our TV price predictor tool

If you’re buying a TV, you can compare prices and features and see test scores for all the TVs we’ve tested in our Which? TV reviews. Our new upgraded review even includes a price predictor tool, which gives you a price history for each TV and tells you when is a good time to buy. 

10. Can you wait for the latest gadgets? 

If you are lusting after the very latest gadgets on the market, then waiting just a little could save you money. Many products (especially tech gadgets) get cheaper very quickly after the next-generation model is launched  – as retailers will be looking to shift older ones – so this is the ideal time to buy. 

More on this…

  • Check out the best high street and online sales deals
  • Want to get discounts on specific products? Find out how to get discounts
  • Looking for cheap baby products? Check out the best baby deals
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