21 December, 2015

Survival Guide: Boxing Day Sales

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... Sale time that is!

If you have been saving all year and patiently waiting for that sale that makes it all worth it, Boxing Day sales are the light at the end of the tunnel. 
Braving the Boxing Day sales can be a great experience, full of significant savings and plenty of treats or it can be a nightmare filled with damaged goods in the wrong size and sore feet.
The sore feet are usually inevitable but with a little preparation it can be a great day, so I’ve put together a few tips to make the most out of the most hectic shopping day of the year.

Be prepared
Start keeping an eye out for emails from your favourite stores leading up to December 26th. Most won’t advertise until the day before, so while everyone else is sleeping off Christmas dinner, hop online and check out what’s on offer.
If you're friendly with sales assistants, suss them out to find out what will be on sale.
Do a pre-run at your favourite stores a few days before to see what you like, try things on and have a look at your wardrobe to see if they will suit.
Make a list of your must haves and how much you are prepared to pay.

Take your pick
As much as you want to see and do it all, chances are you are going to have to prioritise your most wanted. Shoes, swimwear and ladies fashion are usually busy due to everyone wanting to try thing on. So plan to shop your most wanted first and keep in mind how long the lines for the changing rooms will be. Also, be aware of the dreaded "maximum items" rule in the change room!
It can be hard not to be dazzled by prices and get caught up in the crowd, if in doubt ask yourself “Would I buy this if it wasn’t on sale”? If the answer is no, then throw it back to the wolves.

The early bird gets the parking spot
If you're planning to get in early, consider driving. You will most likely score a parking spot (even if you have to pay for it), you will have more room to stash your goodies and your tired feet will thank you at the end of the day.

The buddy system
Gather one or two of your most patient friends and head in together. You can split the parking costs, share a change room and to have an extra pair of eyes to help you spot bargains as well as tell you the truth when you ask "do these make me look fat.... even if they are half price?"

Check all items for damage. People can do a bit of rough handling during sales so check for rips, stains and marks. If something is in the bargain bin or extremely discounted, ask the sales assistant why before you buy it. Gift packs can be missing items and some may be damaged which explains the low price tag.

Avoid the popular spots
Try a different approach this year. If you always head to the city for your sale fix, consider another shopping destination. Bondi Junction has great sales, you will get a little sleep in and it won’t be as crowded. If you're usually at the head of the line waiting for Myer in the CBD to open, try David Jones instead, you will get the same, if not better savings and it won’t be nearly as crowded.

Remember sales assistants are human too!
Be patient! Remember it is going to be crowded regardless of what time you show up. Sales assistants are there to help you, they have most likely worked late on Christmas eve and have had to start as early as 5am in some cases. They have probably been working their booty off for the last month, so don’t be rude to them and remember this isn't a market in Bali - don't give them grief trying to haggle and don't get snappy when they are following rules or things like technical difficulties happen. 
Most staff just want to help you as fast as they can so they can go home to their family.

What to wear
This isn’t the time to wear your skinny jeans that take a two-man team to zip you into. This is the one day of the year I think wearing thongs off the beach is acceptable, only because they will be easy to slip on and off when you are trying on shoes.
Skip the jeans and go for leggings and a light top (aka sports luxe), anything comfortable and easy to pull clothes over will help you today. Trying on clothes over your outfit will save you from the hour long wait for most change rooms.
Make sure you wear a flesh/beige coloured convertible bra, so you can adjust as needed while trying on strapless, one shoulder and racer back tops.
Stash a pair of socks in your pocket if you are shoe shopping, this will avoid the guessing game or having to wait in line again to ask for a pair. Tie your hair back, don't go overboard with the make-up (unless you want to stain anything slipping over your head) and keep it casual.
If you can, avoid bringing a handbag (I know, I’m insane right?) or at least bring your smallest bag or a cross over body bag.
You will need your hands free for all those shopping bags you are going to be carrying.

Eat up
Have a good healthy breakfast and keep a snack on you. It may sound extreme but the only thing more crowded than 80% off section will be the food court between 11am-3pm. Try to avoid it during those times and make sure you don’t pass out by keeping your energy up.

Work your way from top to bottom
When entering a department store, head straight to the top and work your way down. In my experience, the bottoms levels fill up first and escalators and elevators going up can come to a complete halt, so be strong and walk straight past the beauty counters (which rarely go on sale during Boxing Day anyway) and start off at electronics, working your way down.

Money talks
Paying cash can sometimes be a little quicker than using an overloaded EFTPOS machine. Withdrawing cash can help you stick to your budget and no go overboard. If you have to withdraw more cash it will help you stop and think if it’s worth it.
If you're using plastic, make sure your cards are in good condition and check your daily spending limit with your bank
If you really can't be trusted, leave some cash at home where you can't touch it, to get you through to next pay day, a new wardrobe won't look so great when you have to live off noodles and toast for the next month.

Shop in your PJ's
Sleep in and hop online, lots of stores now have online shopping and you might get a better bargain so check the websites for deals and avoid the crowds.

And remember it’s just shopping, there are always other sales, so have fun!

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