I’ve decided it’s far enough out from Boxing Day to recommend some sales shopping. The crowds have died down, but there’s still plenty of bargains to be had. It’s time to get serious.


I work in shopping centres a lot, so I’ve got the advantage of time and experience under my belt. Here are my top tips to navigate the sales like a pro.

Make a list

Aimlessly trawling sales racks in and out of shops will do you no good if you don’t have purpose. Very few shoppers can make sound decisions on impulse and we all know if you don’t need it and it won’t work with anything else in your wardrobe you won’t wear it, and that’s a waste of money.

Check in on your wardrobe and identify any gaps so you have some goals for your sales shopping. Which leads me to my next point…

Make room


A good old wardrobe clean-out will make space for any new purchases and give you the clarity you need to identify the key pieces you’re lacking so you can shop with purpose. Some people work on the principal of one thing out, one thing in – ie if you add something to your wardrobe you have to take something out to make room for it. I’m not that regimented in my approach but getting rid of clutter is always a good thing.

Shop for basics

Wardrobe staples are never a bad investment so when they’re on sale, stock up. Most people will tell you the basics are things like singlets, tees etc, but personally, I rarely wear singlets and tees, and I know this is the same for a lot of you. So, whatever you wear most, you should have the most of in your wardrobe. I’m living in lightweight summer dresses at the moment so if I can pick up a couple more on sale I know they’ll be on high rotation. Worth every cent.

Compare prices on big ticket items

This is a trick I picked up from personal experience a couple of weeks ago. I went to buy a bag in store I’d seen on sale online but realised when I got to the boutique it was at full price. The store honoured the online price but if I hadn’t looked around prior I wouldn’t have known I could get the bag on sale. Most chain stores will have universal pricing online and between each of their stores but designer goods can vary and department stores (Myer and David Jones) will often run separate promotions, so if it’s a big ticket item, shopping around could save you money.

Fuel up

There’s nothing worse than when shopping trips turn bad because you’re tired, hungry, hot… Add crowds to the mix and that’s when tempers flare and it ceased to be fun for anyone. Make sure you’re well fuelled, you’ve had breakfast, coffee, green juice, whatever, and are in the spirit. And if it turns in to a drag, for the love of god take yourself home.

Keep a sense of humour

Pre-Christmas shopping is a little more frantic for most people than sales time, but this time of year can be hectic none the less. Remember it’s holiday time, keep your cool and share some politeness around – hold the lift, help someone up the stairs with their pram, let someone in the cue in front of you if they’ve only got one item, because good deeds come back around.

Check return policies

A lot of stores won’t accept returns on sale items, but some do, although it might be on shorter terms than full priced stock. Take note of the return policy and keep receipts because your purchase might still not be 100 per cent right when you get it home.

Choose your moment

Particularly during the holidays, you’ll find people’s routines are very similar. Sleep in a little, have a late breakfast, then think about shopping around mid-morning and into lunch. If you want to avoid the peak crowds, do the opposite – head to the shops either first thing or late in the day – you’ll get a car park, you’ll have minimal stress and the whole experience will be more enjoyable.

Wear comfortable shoes

I have a thing that if I’m in the market for a nice dress I don’t feel quite right unless I’m trying in on in heels, but that doesn’t mean I head to the shops with said heels already on. Flats are your friend for a day of shopping so if you’re like me and think a pair of heels will be needed at some stage, pack them to go, but stick to comfort shoes for the rest of the day.

It’s not a bargain if it’s not right


Last, but absolutely not least on the sales shopping tips list is don’t buy anything you wouldn’t otherwise spend money on at its full price. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s right for you. If it’s the wrong size, the wrong shape, has marks, is damaged or just isn’t your style, leave it there.

Have fun at the sales!