While estate agents won’t be giving you 50% off your dream home this January, plenty of retailers are offering discounts on hundreds of furniture items, electricals and gadgets. But how do you know if you’re really getting a good deal?
Before hitting the shops (if they are open) or immersing yourself in the vast chasm that is the online marketplace this year, check out our top tips for bagging a home bargain.
Separate temptation from need
As you may have heard, Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis warns repeatedly: ‘you’re never saving money if you’re spending money you never intended to’.
What he means by this is that you shouldn’t use any kind of marketed ‘sale’ period, including Black Friday and Bank Holiday offers, to buy something you don’t need or want.
On his ITV money show earlier this year he explained that if you were planning to buy a video game for £50 and it’s on sale for £25 you’ve saved 25 quid. If they have persuaded you to buy something you otherwise wouldn’t buy, there’s an extra cost of £25, so it’s not a saving.
Ask yourself if you really need that robotic hoover or will get any meaningful use from a trendy waffle maker – will they be collecting dust in the under-stairs cupboard come next Christmas?
Make a list and check it twice
Do not wander aimlessly around the shops or scroll through hundreds of web pages. Make a list of items you know you want or are going to need in the near future and do not get distracted. In fact, making the list in advance and signing up to sales notification alerts or email newsletters is a great idea.
Think about what retailers offer these products, shop around and do not be tempted by price alone. You may find that retailers are jumping on the Boxing Day band wagon and marketing something as a sale item when, actually, it’s more expensive than it was before.
There could be a good reason that a washing machine has gone into the sale and promises a large saving. It could be a bad performer!
As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – see what consumers are saying about it before you enter your card details.
Also remember to read reviews about the retailer. It could be that an item was one in a dodgy batch or damaged in transit, but would otherwise work perfectly fine. However, some retailers have less than helpful return policies and customer service, which could make getting a replacement extremely difficult.
Even though you probably can’t imagine enjoying a fruity cider in the garden right now and don’t want to see any form of festive bauble for at least 11 months, January is certainly one of the best times to buy unsold garden furniture and Christmas decorations before they are in high demand again.
This does raise the question, is January the best time to buy at all? According to ecommerce site, Klaviyo, Boxing Day sales only just pip Black Friday to the post when consumers were asked about their most popular shopping day.
Spending and discount trends differ, however. Research from credit card company, marbles.com, analysed the best product offers throughout the year and found that you can get excellent deals all year round, depending on what you are looking to buy.
The good news is January seems the best time to buy a bed, sofa or chest of drawers. But if you’re looking for white goods, hold off until February.