Research carried out by The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and Vouchercodes.co.uk suggests that in 2019, the average UK household spent over £450 in the December and Boxing Day sales. With stores already slashing their prices in advance of Boxing Day 2020, it is easy to find yourself caught up in the excitement of bagging a great deal!
After the costly Christmas period, many find themselves borrowing and maxing out credit cards to pay for Boxing Day bargains. Over 16.9 million of us will have borrowed money to pay for Christmas gifts, so avoiding an even costlier December by overspending on Boxing Day is key.
The secret to avoiding an expensive start to the New Year, is to shop smart this Boxing Day.
The simplest way to prevent an accidental overspend is to create a budget. Think about how much money you can afford to spend during the boxing day sales before you even venture online or set foot on the high street.
It can be helpful to keep an eye on your spending, either by jotting it down in a notepad (some use the ‘notes’ function on smartphones) or by checking your online banking to make sure you are on budget throughout the day.
Preparation is key
Sit down and plan your purchases and the shops you would like to visit ahead of time, along with your budget. Think about items you might need throughout the year or even for next Christmas and head to the shops armed with a list.
It can be tricky to resist when you have reached the cash desk and a friendly assistant recommends another must-have item. However, if you purchase one extra item in every shop you visit, it quickly adds up. Having a list this Boxing Day will help you to stay focused and avoid the all-too easy impulse purchase. Also keep in mind that it’s only a great deal if you will use or need the item!
Consumer Rights Considerations
Some shops will be running slightly different returns policies on sale items, so always double check each individual store’s returns policy. Some might be offering an exchange-only policy on sale items. Remember too, that many clothing stores have closed their fitting rooms to keep us all safe during the coronavirus pandemic, so it is essential to check updated returns or exchange policies.
These policy changes should not, however, affect your consumer rights. If you are in doubt, visit our knowledge centre to find out more about your rights in relation to purchased, or get in touch with one of our specialist consumer advisers for free and impartial advice.
Check, Check and Check again
There is nothing worse than taking your new purchase home to find it advertised for 20% less online a few days later. Do your homework and check that that item you are eager to buy is not being sold cheaper elsewhere.
Price comparison sites might be a useful tool to help you suss out the best deal. Some stores will also price match items, so this is worth keeping in mind.
If in doubt stick to the mantra ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is’.
When caught up in a retail scam, the goods you purchase may never arrive, or turn out to be counterfeit items. Not only could you risk losing your money, but counterfeit goods, electronics and cosmetics also pose a direct risk to your health and safety.
Packaging often serves as an indication that an item is counterfeit, however when shopping online it can be trickier to ascertain whether goods are genuine. Stick to familiar or trusted retail stores online if you are unsure to prevent purchasing unsafe and untested items.
You can also use Vistalworks ‘Simple Query Tool’ which allows you to enter URL (web addresses) from Amazon and eBay, Available Here.
If you come across anything that seems suspicious, or you suspect you have been targeted by a scammer, you can report this by using our Quick Reporting Tool at scamwatch.scot.
If you are joining the crowds of people who flooded the high street on December 26th, 2019, remember that things might be a little different this year. Prepare ahead of time for queues, social distancing and enhanced in-store hygiene.
If you aren’t sure of the rules where you are, coronavirusadvice.scot has the latest information and guidance on the restrictions in your area.
consumeradvice.scot have put together our top tips to help you avoid a money mishap in the Boxing Day sales this year!
- It’s all about the budget – Work out how much you can afford to spend and stick to the budget.
- Preparation is key – Make a list and try to avoid any additional or unnecessary purchases.
- Know your rights – Being aware of store return policies and potential sale-day exceptions can help us to avoid disappointment.
- Check, Check and Check again – Remember that prices may come down further after Boxing Day.
- Be scam-savvy – Avoid the fakes! Counterfeit goods can be harmful and cost us more in the long run.
- Stay Safe – Remember Covid-19 safety measures and follow the rules when out shopping and in public places.
If you have any questions concerning consumer issues, consumeradvice.scot offer free and impartial advice. You can contact us on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Please visit consumeradvice.scot for our festive opening hours.