Getting the best deals on Boxing Day

Christmas Boxing Day shopping arcade

Here are a few tips to help you if you’re planning on going shopping to nab some Boxing Day bargains…

It’s only about a generation ago that post-Christmas sales started in the New Year. Kids saved their Christmas money for the January Sales, while the rest of us sought those more expensive items that were slightly out of reach just weeks before. But retail changed, and as marketing went into overdrive and Christmas seemed to creep into shops earlier, so did the sales.

Now, with many stores open on Boxing Day and online retailers taking orders at any time, not pausing for breath even over Christmas Day, the sales hit early. Now we’re ready to see which bargains we can grab before the Christmas dinner gets cold.

Boxing Day shopping tips

Set a budget – It’s far too easy to run headlong into picking up discounted items with the attitude that 30% off is actually saving you money no matter what you buy. Make a clear and distinct limit to how much you intend to spend and stick to it.

Know what you want – If there’s something specific you want, go straight for it. You’re going to be distracted by many shiny things in the Boxing day sales, so stay focused. If you can’t find exactly what you want, don’t fill the void by buying other things you don’t really want just because you can. Walk away. It’s disappointing, but either try elsewhere or take the money and put it towards that item at a later date. It might come up for sale again.

Do your homework – Some retailers will be advertising their special offers and discounts before their sales events in store. Sign up to email newsletters or pop in before the sales to get a good idea of the kinds of deals you can expect and if you’re actually getting that great a deal at all. Double check regular pricing to be sure.

Go for your top choices first – Expensive and premium items will be the main target for other shoppers, so getting Boxing Day bargains you really want should be your priority. And if you see that prized possession, don’t waste time. Grab it and keep hold of it. It only takes a split second before another shopper will get it!

Check returns policies – Some retailers have different returns policies for sale items than for regular purchases. Make sure you understand these policies at the till just in case you’re buying something to try on later, for example.

Take food and water – It’s a good idea to have a good breakfast to set you up for hunting in the Boxing Day sales, but having snacks and a drink on you will be essential. That’s especially true if you suddenly find you’re hungry and the department store café is heaving.

Plan ahead – Taking a haphazard approach to darting from shop to shop will be exhausting and ultimately fruitless, either meaning you buy things you don’t really want just because it’s there, or get annoyed by the crowds.

Dress appropriately – Even if it’s a cold day in December, shops will get really hot, particularly Department stores. Think about the layers you’ll be wearing and what you might need to carry if the temperature rises. The trick is to dress as light as possible but still practically for the weather outside in between shop fronts.

Boxing Day sales don’t always stop on December 26th – Retailers know that sales are a great time to get your post-Christmas cash, so you don’t always need to cram everything into one single shopping trip. For some stores, sales might go on for another week, merging into the New Year.