After the usual buying-binge that accompanies the end-of-year holidays, most people try to limit their purchases to a few odds and ends or other purchases that won’t put much of a strain on their budget.
More prescient buyers realize that this is actually the best time to obtain the best deals on a wide variety of merchandise. Here are a few ways that these smart shoppers accomplish this goal:
Take Advantage of After-Holiday Sale
While everyone understands that retailers offer some of their best deals BEFORE the holidays to lure shoppers into their stores, few realize that the same retailers will offer incredible deals AFTER the holidays to rid their shops of excess inventory that will rapidly become dated. It’s a great time to pick up some items that you couldn’t afford before the holiday.
Use Some Seasonal Coupon
Again, in an attempt to move unwanted merchandise, retailers will offer one-time use online coupons on perfectly serviceable merchandise that is simply scheduled to be replaced. There is nothing wrong with these items and should be regarded as the bargains that they are. In short, for the shrewd buyer, these coupons offer an excellent opportunity to obtain top quality items at bargain basement prices.
Stock Up for Next Year
As you can imagine, many retailers like to move as much merchandise as possible in each calendar year. Their accountants and executives simply hate to hold over seasonal inventory until the same holiday reappears in twelve months. For this reason, they will – for one or two days – radically discount any seasonal merchandise in the store. This provides an incredible buying opportunity for the knowledgeable and reactive consumer. Simply check with your favorite retailer in the days following any major holiday to take advantage of this fact.
Eat In for a Change
It may seem that most of your holiday nights have been spent in your own house or those of your friends. While this may in fact be true, most people and their families spend an inordinate amount of time eating out at fast food and other types of restaurants. Instead, make a concerted effort to “stay in” and eat you meals in a more affordable manner with your family.
Establish a Holiday Clu
If you are fundamentally unable to set aside funds for the next holiday season, perhaps you should consider joining a holiday club at your local bank or savings and loan. This does not mean that you should join a “lay-away” program at some retailer.
To the contrary, retailer programs tie you in to a payment plan and offer very little, if any, value in return. Your own bank or S&L, on the other hand, will help you save and actually pay you a small dividend for investing your money with them.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are myriad ways to save money at the end of the holiday season. A prudent shopper need only pay attention, bide their time and strike “while the iron is hot” as they say. A final note – while there are plenty of bargains to be had, the retailers are not above throwing in fake sale here and there.