Sunday, 13 January 2013

TIPS - January Sale Shopping Without the Stress

Quilted leather jacket purchased in the January sales from ASOS
 Me wearing my top sale bargain from this January - at a saving of £230

In my teens and early twenties I would wait with excitement to go shopping in the January sales. My sister and I would usually head to Brighton and I remember always coming back with bags and bags of new clothing and accessories, as well as CDs and DVDs, and throwing everything out across the floor to show my mum. However, the older I get the more I know my style, what suits me and my body shape, and so those sprees have been much scaled down. Now I head to the sales with a plan so that my bargains work hard for me, rather than ending up in a pile for the charity shop. I either shop for the things I need, or the items that I really loved but couldn't afford at full price.

My favourite sale spots

One of my favourite sales has to be River Island... although it is a little easy to get carried away and go off-track. I choose to head to River Island if my wardrobe has got a bit bland and I need a funky little jacket, printed skinny jeans or party dress. One of my best sale buys of all time was my Luella Oyster card holder which I've had for a few years and was reduced to £18 from around £70. An investment piece that I use every single day.. my cost-per-use has got to be such a tiny amount by now.

Beaded dress, sale bargain from River Island in January sales

Most Wanted, the lifestyle blog for, challenged me to take a budget of £80 and spend it wisely in the sales. The idea being that I'd report back on my blog about what I bought and any tips for my readers on sale shopping more generally.

So, if you had £80 to spend in the sales (not on bills, food shopping or all those other expenditures that become rivals for a good spend-up) what would you go for? Here are my top starting points...

What do you need? Fave boots worn out? New job and nothing suitable to wear? Need something for a special occasion? Use the sales as a less expensive way to buy what you already need and go out armed with a plan so you don't get too side-tracked by other things.

What did you love but walk away from? Seen something you fell in love with and maybe even tried on? Sign up to emails for that store and when the sales start go looking for it. I loved a faux fur and silver coat I saw in River Island but it felt a bit frivolous at £80 for something I'd wear now and again. Spotted it during the sales for £35 and snapped it up... much kinder o0n the bank balance.

What will make a great investment? Quality, quality, quality. With some things it really is worth spending more. One such investment for me is leather and I've actually never owned a leather jacket because I always talk myself out of them because of the price. With my sale-shopping budget in-hand though, I headed onto the ASOS website and picked up an Urban Code leather biker jacket worth £299 for just £70. Hand-made too! Your investment piece might be something from a favourite designer label or perhaps your ultimate handbag. Get it for less while you can.

Urban Code leather jacket with quilted detailing, from ASOS, January sales

So what shouldn't you do when sale shopping? 
  • Don't buy it in a size that doesn't fit - you might lose weight but it will clog up your closet for months in the meantime
  • Don't buy something damaged that you can 'fix' unless you really can fix it. I can't sew for toffee.
  • Don't get sucked in and buy things you really don't need
  • Don't buy shoes you can't walk in... ever!
  • Don't buy dry-clean-only or luxury fabrics if you'll just throw them in the washing machine
And now for some things you should do...
  • Do try on a range of sizes - bad sizing might be the reason it's in the sale in the first place and I recently came back from a sale with 4 items, all in different sizes
  • Do hit the store at a quieter time - it can be a hot mess (literally) at peak times
  • Do persevere - keep checking back for further reductions either online or in store
  • Do sign-up for emails or discount sites to get the heads-up on new sales and offers early
Jacket with sale label from River Island

My 2013 January sales shopping list

1. Urban Code leather jacket from ASOS: RRP £300, I paid £70 (saving of £230)
2. Black glitter jumper dress from River Island: was £35, I paid £15 (saving of £20)
3. Striped trophy jacket from River Island: was £65, I paid £25 (saving of £40)
4. Embellished tunic from River Island: was £45, I paid £20 (Saving of £25)
5. Faux fur and foil coat from River Island: was £80, I paid £35 (saving of £45)

Total before the sales = £525
Price I paid = £165
Total saving = £360

So guys, I saved more than double the amount I spent... and that's when sale shopping is worth the effort. Did you shop the sales this year or try and hold back? Share your pics on Twitter or Instagram with the hash tag #vcuksales as I will after this post. You can also read lots of other fashion bloggers' sale shopping secrets over at the Most Wanted blog.

Here are some more pics of my bargains...

Metallic leather print faux fur and beaded dressGlitter black dress and striped metallic sparkle jacket from River Island

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