Shoppers are expected to line the high streets over the next few days in the hunt for New Year bargains.
Here are our top 10 tips for those looking to get a great deal during the January sales.
1. Know what you want
Head out with a shopping list to stop yourself getting distracted.
Which? reviews 2,500+ products a year to help consumers identify Best Buys and items to avoid. If you’re not yet a Which? member you can increase your chances of grabbing a good deal at the sales by getting access to all our reviews with a £1 trial subscription to Which?.
2. Know where the deals are
If you want to get to the best sale items ahead of the crowds you’ll need to know where they are in advance. Which? has searched the market for the best deals so check out our guide to the best high street and online sales deals to give yourself the best chance of finding a bargain.
3. Online shopping – use cashback sites
Most retailers extend their January bargains online as well as in-store, so it’s a good idea to compare prices on the web. Check to see if the retailer is listed on a cashback website. If it is, you could cut an even bigger chunk off the price of your items.
Find out more: Cashback sites: how they work – learn how to secure an online discount
4. Use a cashback credit card
Paying for your purchases using a credit card gives you additional protection if something goes wrong, through section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. To be protected, the purchases must be more than £100 and no more than £30,000.
Better still, if you use a credit card that offers cashback and you’re effectively securing yourself an even bigger discount off your purchase.
The Which? Money Compare tables let you search for credit cards from providers large and small to choose a great deal based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits.
Which? Money Compare table: Cash back credit cards – compare hundreds of great deals
Our research indicates that it’s possible to haggle for lower prices in a high street sale. In our guide on haggling in shops, we ask two haggling experts what actions are most likely to convince retailers to offer a discount and which products are worth haggling over.
Find out more: Haggling in shops – learn the tricks of the trade
6. Use loyalty cards
Shop at stores that offer loyalty schemes and you can gain points on all of your purchases, which can eventually be exchanged for money-off vouchers. These are rarely worth more than 1% of your total spend, but if you regularly shop at the same stores this can quickly add up.
Find out more: Loyalty cards – discover which card provides the best value
7. Make use of social media
Most retailers will make a huge song and dance about their best January sales offers on their social media channels. Sign up to the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ feeds of your favourite brands so you don’t miss out.
8. Stick it out
Don’t be dismayed if you can’t find the deal you’re looking for in the sales right away. Many stores will drop the prices of unsold goods even lower towards the end of the month to make room for the new season’s stock. Websites like camelcamelcamel.com or pricerunner.co.uk are great for tracking the prices of online items.
9. Know your rights
Your consumer rights on sale items are exactly the same as when you buy goods at any other time of the year. If something is faulty, you have the right to claim for a refund, replacement or repair. If it is not faulty but you change your mind, you may be able to return it depending on the retailer’s returns policy.
Find out more: What are my rights in a Christmas sale? – learn about returning faulty and non-faulty products
10. It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it
It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of the sales and buy items you don’t really need just because of the huge discounts on offer. Remember that no sales item is worth the money if you rarely use it. Stick with items that you actually need.
- How to get discounts on products – where and when to find the best deals
- 50 ways to save money – our comprehensive money-saving guide
- Call the Which? Money Helpline – your financial queries answered
Which Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Which? Mortgage Advisers, Which? Insurance Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.