Surviving post-Christmas sales – what’s your strategy?

We’ve all experienced it… the undeniable allure of post-Christmas sales.

No sooner has Christmas wrapped up for the year than the frenzy of Boxing Day sales descends upon us. Every store window beckons, and our inboxes overflow with promises of unbeatable discounts.

Before you indulge in some festive leftovers and make a beeline for the air-conditioned wonderland of sales, let’s take a moment to pause and ponder…

  • Is that shiny gadget truly a necessity?
  • Do those new outfits genuinely add value to your wardrobe?
  • Or might there be a wiser way to allocate your hard-earned money?

The allure and reality of post-Christmas sales

The holiday season often leaves our wallets feeling lighter than usual. Australia’s festive spending reached an eye-watering $74.5 billion in 2022, marking an 8.6% increase from the previous year, according to the Australian Retailers Association. And Boxing Day? A whopping $1.23 billion was spent in just 24 hours[1]!

These figures aren’t just numbers; they paint a picture of our collective weakness for a good holiday sale. But here’s the other side of the coin: while sales can offer genuine bargains, they also come with pitfalls. The risk of accumulating more debt is a very real reality for many shoppers, especially with credit cards groaning from holiday shopping on top of budgets already stretched from increased cost of living.

And let’s face it, impulse purchases often lead to buyer’s remorse and an overstuffed home.

The merits of post-Christmas sales

While the post-Christmas sales period often comes with warnings of overspending, it’s not all doom and gloom. When approached with a well-thought-out strategy, these sales can be an excellent opportunity to secure essential items—electronics, clothing, or household goods—at a fraction of their original prices.

How can one truly benefit without falling into the common traps? The key lies in being mindful and discerning.

  • Make sure you have a clear idea of what you genuinely need versus what just catches your eye.
  • Do your homework by comparing prices, reading reviews, and setting a budget.
  • Be on guard against those all-too-tempting impulse buys.

With a bit of planning and restraint, the post-Christmas sales can be both enjoyable and economically rewarding.

Smart money moves beyond sales

It’s easy to forget about your longer-term goals when there are neon signs screaming discounts of 50% OFF or more! But remember, every dollar spent puts you further away from achieving those longer-term goals.

Before you fall prey to the post-Christmas sales, consider these alternatives:

  • Save for a rainy day: Life is unpredictable. Having a safety net can make all the difference.
  • Debt reduction: Free yourself from the burden of debt by paying down your credit cards and/or any loans.
  • Invest: Think stocks, bonds, or other avenues to grow your wealth.
  • Financial goals: Would you rather have a new outfit or be one step closer to that dream holiday, new car, or first home?

Post-Christmas sales can be both a treasure trove and a minefield. The choice is yours. This festive season don’t succumb blindly to the allure of holiday sale discounts. Instead, either purchase your “need to have” items (remember, be mindful) or skip the sales entirely and opt to put the money towards achieving your financial goals sooner.

Here’s to spending wisely and enjoying a financially savvy new year!

[1] “Unprecedented growth on Boxing Day as pre-Christmas retail spend hits record $74.5 billion”, ARA (30 Dec 2022)