Just when you thought all the holiday-related sales were over, here comes more — this time tied to New Year’s. Retailers are dishing out deals to honor the big move into 2024 and, frankly, move inventory that didn’t sell over Black Friday and Christmas.
Consumers are ready to pounce on these post-holiday sales. A new survey from RetailMeNot found that consumers shopping New Year’s sales are planning to spend an average of $251. But do you really need to spend that much on New Year’s sales? Let’s dig into ways to save.
1. Put Those Browsing Blinders On
If you’re shopping New Years sales, try not to spend time lurking on the internet or social media, absorbing all the many, many sales out there. This could lead to increased spending. Only buy what you set out to buy
“My spending at Target and the grocery store declined during the COVID-19 lockdown. Things didn’t ‘jump into my cart’,” said John Jennings, president and chief strategist at St. Louis Trust & Family Office, adjunct professor at the Washington University in St. Louis in the Olin School of Business in its wealth and asset management graduate program and author of “The Uncertainty Solution: How to Invest with Confidence in the Face of the Unknown.”
“Because I ordered in advance and received my goods via curbside pickup, there was no browsing,” Jennings said. “You can replicate that same experience by making a list in advance of what you want to buy and sticking with it. If you’re heading to Best Buy for a dishwasher, only come home with a dishwasher.”
2. Go Crazy With Gift Cards
Did you get any gift cards for the holidays? Use them now to save on New Year’s sales. Otherwise, you may forget you even have them.
“Gift cards are popular holiday gifts, but a huge proportion of them go unused,” Jennings said. “Sixty percent of Americans have at least one unused gift card and that, in total, [amounts to] $21 billion. As you look forward to New Year’s sales, dig out those unused gift cards and put them to use.”
3. Stay on Top of Returns
If you received a new gift, such as clothing or shoes that you know you’ll never wear, aim to return them ASAP. The window for returns could close sooner than you think.
“In cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago, I dug out two pairs of pants and a shirt that I had intended to return,” Jennings said. ” Unfortunately, the return window closed long ago. Don’t let this happen to you. After holiday shopping, put a date on your calendar or to-do list, and make sure to return unwanted items in a timely manner.”
4. Turn in Those Rebate Forms
Retailers and manufacturers may offer rebates to lure consumers into buying their goods, but these, too, often go unclaimed.
“Unclaimed rebates are a form of tax on the lazy and disorganized,” Jennings said. “Don’t fall into that camp. Be diligent and send in your rebate forms immediately after your purchase.”
5. Fight the Impulse Monster
The urge to impulse buy can be mighty, but it’s critical to fight the impulse monster and resist buying something you’re interested in purely on a whim.
“A best practice to fight the urge to impulse buy is to force yourself to wait,” Jennings said. “For online purchases, adopt the discipline of waiting 24 hours until you hit ‘Buy.’ And for in-person shopping, take a few laps around the store before you decide to buy them (or better yet, leave and come back).”
6. Beware of the Deferred Payment Lure
“Retailers commonly offer deferred payment plans for bigger ticket items like electronics and appliances,” Jennings said. “That $1,500 exercise bike doesn’t seem as expensive when you can pay $50/month over the next two and a half years. But you are still shelling out $1,500.”
To make money matters worse, if you don’t pay off the entire balance by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be slammed with steep interest charges. “Don’t let the deferred payment option seduce you into making a purchase you can’t afford,” Jennings said.
7. Don’t Forget About Traditional Department Stores
With Amazon, Walmart, Target, BestBuy and more successfully baiting us with tempting deals, it can be easy to forget about traditional department stores, which could be whipping out even greater sales.
“JCPenney, Kohl’s and Macy’s have huge inventories to sell on clearance before they restock items for winter-themed sales (e.g., President’s Day sales),” said Vipin Porwal, CEO and consumer savings expert at Smarty. “These items are often the same or comparable to those offered by big ecommerce retailers, and they usually offer more discounts and sales.”
8. Look for Sales Boasted as ‘Clearance’ or ‘End-of-Season’
Clearance sections and ‘end of season’ deals can be great — so look out for them.
“These are designed specifically to move inventory, so discounts are some of the deepest of the year on a wide variety of products,” Porwal said.
9. Sign up for Newsletters and Reward Programs
Retailers are never done with sending out information about current and upcoming deals, nor are they shying away from encouraging people to sign up for their rewards programs. You can potentially find savings through these incentives.
“Easily track the timing and special discounts of your favorite retailers by signing up for their reward and email programs,” Porwal said. “Often, they’ll include an extra discount for signing up, which stacks even more savings to the sale prices.”
10. Use Price Tracking and Price Matching Tools
Want an item on sale from, say, Best Buy? Ensure that the item is not cheaper elsewhere.
“Take advantage of price tracking tools that allow you to be notified when there’s a price drop in the product you’re after,” Porwal said. “Also, retailers like Target and Best Buy offer price matching or price adjustment policies, allowing customers to receive a refund for the difference if the price of a purchased item drops within a specified time frame.”
11. Consider Refurbished or Open-Box Items
Plenty of people get gifts that they don’t want for Christmas, but have already ripped open. Or perhaps a retailer is putting an emphasis on refurbished items (which are usually just as good as brand new versions). Explore these options when looking for savings on New Year’s sales.
“It’s very likely that these items are in perfect condition and are usually heavily discounted already — meaning you could get something close to new at a very discounted price,” Porwal said.
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Read More: Consumers Plan To Spend $251 On New Years Sales: 11 Ways They Can Save