Christmas is over for another year, which means it’s time to roll that tired, full stomach out of bed and to the shops for some of the best bargains you’ll see this year.
Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying that Boxing Day is where the best bargains for the year are at. But don’t be fooled by those tempting red sale signs — if you really want to save then you need to be savvy. Here are this year’s top nine tips on bagging a Boxing Day bargain. It’s time to shop til you drop!
Make a list
According to Katrina, mum and blogger at The Organised Housewife, a list is a must.
“Before you get to the shops, make a list of the items you are most hoping to purchase. Think about purchasing gifts for upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Day,” she suggests.
When you make your list, write down who you’re buying for along with a couple of gift suggestions for each person or occasion. This will be a lifesaver when you’re umming and ahhing over what to get who for when. If you want to be super organised, jot down clothing sizes next to each name as well to really keep the shopping process streamlined!
Get in early
Have you ever tried to park your car at Westfield at 9 a.m. on Boxing Day? Nightmare. Katrina suggests hitting the shops before they open and fueling up while you wait.
“Car parking is always terrible during Boxing Day sales, so get to the shopping centre early, grab a coffee from a nearby cafe and wait for the shops to open,” she suggests.
This way, you’ll avoid most of the parking mayhem and secure a great spot to boot.
If you’re serious about bagging a good deal this Boxing Day, start collecting the December sale brochures and give yourself some time to work out the best deals in advance.
“Compare prices and, don’t forget, some stores will price match so take those brochures with you when you shop,” suggests Katrina.
If you think you can get a better deal elsewhere — or online — don’t be afraid to speak up. The worst answer you can get is a “no”, but be prepared to walk away if the deal isn’t right.
Shop for Christmas
You might be tired of tinsel and stocking-stuffers, but the best time to buy Christmas decorations, wrapping, cards and crafts is at the Boxing Day sales.
“Purchase Christmas wrapping and cards for next year at a discount price and remember that solid colour wrap and ribbons can be used all year round,” says Katrina.
“If you’re wanting to change the theme of your tree next year, Boxing Day is a great time to purchase decorations at a reduced price, or if you have a friend expecting, baby’s first Christmas items make great gifts for the following year,” she says.
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Online shopping is booming and a number of Australian retailers are jumping on board in an effort to stem the flow of shoppers buying overseas.
Last year, savvy bargain-hunters jumped the gun on Boxing Day sales, snapping up bargains online before the shops even opened.
“Retailers reported huge online sales, with items across the range snapped up by bargain-hunters,” says Australian National Retailers Association CEO Margy Osmond.
If you want to beat the crowds and shop from the comfort of your own home, then online is the way to go. Be warned, though — it’s easy to lose hours pre-shopping on many a department store website and you may find yourself frustrated by a faltering internet connection when the online sales start. Make a list, shop with purpose and stick to items that don’t need to be tried on unless you’re confident in your size.
If you’re really not a fan of crowds, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re just as likely to get a great deal on Dec. 27 as you are on Boxing Day.
While some items, such as clothes and limited electronics, will sell out early, most stock remains on sale for a full week and will be periodically re-stocked over that time. Get in early on day two and you might just find yourself a winner.
Book a holiday
Airlines and travel agents often have great Boxing Day sales, but the trick is to be flexible and organised.
Make sure you have a few holiday date options in mind and be flexible in regard to location and you could just walk away with a dream holiday at a much-reduced price.
“There’s a huge segment of the market that only cares about price when booking flights and that segment is growing,” says aviation expert Tony Webber, from Webber Quantitative Consulting.
“Sometimes you get ridiculous fares, but there’s only a limited number of fares at very, very cheap prices and they don’t always include extras such as baggage.”
Last year, airlines such as Jetstar, Tiger and Cathay Pacific slashed sale fares by up to 50 per cent so if price is your only concern, make sure you’re online first thing come Dec. 26.
Buy a house
It may seem an unlikely purchase, but if you’re looking to buy a property over Christmas, you have a few distinct advantages.
“Competition from sellers is often reduced over the Christmas period as many people are busy or have gone away on holidays,” says Paul Mylott from Century 21.
“Additionally, properties on the market may be remnants from spring, which means they have been up for sale for some time. If this is the case, the seller will often be keen to have the sale wrapped up before the new year brings a new set of property offerings that will tempt buyers away from their own,” says Mylott.
It might not be a traditional Boxing Day sale, but if you’ve been looking to buy a property, then buying over the Christmas period could see you save thousands.
Know your rights
Online or in-store — your right to a refund remains the same.
It doesn’t matter whether you have purchased items from Australia or overseas, you are protected by the same Australian consumer law as those who buy in-store. This means you’re entitled to a refund, replacement or repair if the product is faulty, doesn’t do the job it is supposed to or does not match the advertised description.
“Even if the item is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, the retailer can’t avoid dealing with the problem. Warranties do not replace or restrict your rights to a refund, replacement or repair if a product is faulty,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.
“Unless the product is clearly marked as a ‘second’ or is discounted due to defects that were made clear at the time of purchase, your rights to a refund, repair or replacement still stand,” says Just.
However, don’t assume you can return anything and everything. A retailer isn’t compelled to give you your money back or exchange the item if you change your mind about the colour or size. While most will make an effort, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy.
Do you have any great Boxing Day sale tips? Share them below!