People walk past a sign advertising Black Friday offers at a perfume store in Manchester, Britain. Reuters
Darcey Sergison, The Independent
While we are stuck at home about to start our Christmas shopping, cyber week sales will entice many of us to scroll for the best sale prices.
This year, Black Friday will, at the time of writing, not involve the familiar images of customers pushing each other over to get the newest 75-inch TV. Instead, large corporations have expanded the sales to encompass an entire week online. But are sales ever a bargain?
Buying for the sake of a low price is not always ideal. If you don’t shop smart during sales, you end up losing money rather than saving. If you are not buying products that you already needed as an essential or a gift for Christmas, then no matter the cost of the product, it is an extra spend.
Think about how many times you have bought an item just because it caught your eye and was in the sale. How many of these have you actually used regularly?
As a fashion enthusiast, I love (even that is an understatement), to buy clothes. In previous years, I have bought clothes that have looked great, but I have never used them. With the race to go through sale racks or checking out before someone else gets there first, there is always a sense of rush with sales. When we rush, thinking about what is practical plays no part in what we do. Sales have deadlines, and this hardly ever inspires the best buys.
This year, I have decided to avoid the sales online completely and in shops, once they reopen. To save money for quality Christmas presents I have decided that shopping small is the best solution.
Unlike large corporations, small businesses tend not to have sales due to the time and effort that has gone into the craft. You are paying for the hours it has taken to make the products, and paying them fairly. Although some products may seem expensive, crafts such as crocheting can only be done by hand, unlike knitting, so it takes hours to design and finish the products.
Not everyone has this luxury I know. But with rising concern about makers’ pay during the pandemic, I have made sure that any products I buy have been sourced ethically and pay employees a good wage. If you have the time and money, it is a worthwhile practice.
Unfortunately, many of these products do not consist of sale items, which makes me question what good sales items do? Making sure we know more about our products and where they come from is crucial. Buying ethically gives more to the workers and gives you an equally great product.
For a lot of people sales items are the only way in which Christmas presents are bought. By no means is this negative if it is a necessity. If you need to shop from sales, this year, do your research beforehand.
Write a list of who you need to buy for or what you need to buy and set yourself a budget. Just because there is a sale doesn’t mean a budget goes out of the window. I have also found through research I have saved money from shopping at local businesses where I didn’t have to pay for shipping, as I could walk to my nearest shops. So there is a case for a mix-and-match approach if that works best for you.
More than ever, small and local businesses need our support. Don’t let sale signs decide where you shop this Christmas. Look into who and where you are buying from. Learning from my best and worst purchases while avoiding sales is something that will help me in the long run.
Whatever you do, make financially responsible choices when you shop online. No matter how enticing the four letters are, don’t let them drag you into a purchase, you will regret later.
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