Should we wait to buy big presents in January?
1 expert and 3 parents have answered
I most definitely think we should wait for the January sales to buy big presents for our kids (and everyone else in fact!) because in these financially stretched times it makes total sense. Plus, I absolutely hate the feeling of being taken for an idiot by retailers in the run up to Christmas, with their inflated prices and sneaky tricks to make me either buy stuff I don't really want, or make me believe that I am getting a bargain.
The trouble is other people's expectations. Although most friends and family agree that it would be good to wait for the sales, very few are actually brave enough to do so. We all have a collective moan about how much Christmas is costing us every year, but do very little to actually keep the prices down.
One friend bought a flat screen TV for her son KNOWING it was going to be reduced after Christmas, but could not bring herself to give it to him late, leaving him without a 'main present' to open on Christmas morning. I really wanted to tell her to get a grip – he was 15, not a toddler! Plus the subsequent £150 mark down would have made a huge difference to her family coffers come January.
I have some relatives that I only ever see 'for Christmas' a couple of weeks after – you can guess when their presents get bought – and I routinely buy cards and wrapping paper for next year in the January sales. But purchasing my son's entire wish list a few weeks in to the New Year? Difficult! While he is still so young it would be hard to 'do' Christmas day without a heap of gifts to unwrap, but as he gets older and can understand how 'Christmas' and 'retailers' profit margins' are two very different things, I would hope that we could eventually actually save rather than splurge during December.
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January sales for me normally ends up being about next years paper and cards, also Dad's birthday, and maybe Mother's Day as well if I see something I like. I wouldn't buy xmas presents in the sales unless I was seeing someone later on. Just couldn't do it, especially with a 1 year old nephew about. Opening our gifts normally keeps us going most of the morning and afternoon. So we don't put the TV on. But when I do shop for xmas I try to shop savvy and wait for the discounts.
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Lots of retailers (especially online) actually begin reducing the cost of their merchandise, including some big ticket items, about a week before Christmas. This is to try an ensure that people shop at their sale in time for Christmas, rather than wait until all of the other stores offer similar sale prices in January. They don't want to risk missing out on your business. So keep an eye out for price reductions in the week or so before Christmas!
Also, although it's too late to put it into practice this year; über organised shoppers can get some great deals the earlier they shop. If you manage to get some of your shopping done before the Christmas hype begins, you can often take advantage of some great deals that may well disappear the closer it gets to the festive season.
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I think Kelly makes a really good point. But I could never do it! I LOVE Christmas, I LOVE Christmas Day and watching the kids open the presents I've bought for them. While I do dread the expense on one hand, I think there are ways to make it more affordable and (almost) on a level with buying in January. Buying online, obviously, helps. I bought some stuff in Black Friday deals and I use a current account that gives cashback on purchases, so there's a little saving there. I always use store loyalty cards and spend the vouchers strategically.
When it comes to buying for relatives and friends that I won't see until January though, I wait for the sales!