Many January sales have already started but this period doesn’t always represent good news for bargain hunters, new research has found.
MoneySuperMarket has found that a quarter of shoppers regretted buying an item at sale price in 2014.
On average Brits spent £197 each on discounted goods – £7 billion collectively – but felt as though they wasted £53 of that cash on items they did not need, want or simply bought on a whim.
It means that a mindboggling £865 million of goods purchased in last year’s sales were later regretted.
Some 27% of shoppers had qualms about purchasing discounted items with the main issues being that they were purchased on impulse but are now never used.
Of those questioned, 72% bagged a sales bargain although it was men that were more likely to splash out than women. They spent an average of £212 each on sales items while women spent just £185 on items such as TVs, household goods, perfumes and clothes.
Younger shoppers – those aged 18-34 years – were the most remorseful for buying items they do not use with more than two fifths (41%) regretting a sales purchase.
Levels of remorse varied with regions too; just 17% of Welsh shoppers had regrets compared to 34% of those in the West Midlands.
Spotting a sale
When sales are on, it is important to maintain a good perception of what is and is not a good price – sales boards may appear above goods but the discount on offer may be minimal once you look a little closer.
This awareness can make all the difference to shoppers and help to ensure that any goods bought on sale represent good levels of savings and are offered on items people will actually use and want.
Those trying to keep a watchful eye on their money are encouraged not to buy on impulse as these buys tend to be the ones most people regret.
Managing spending and outgoings
With so many January sales on offer it can be tempting to spend big, but limiting outgoings is recommended – especially if Christmas was overly expensive.
Some shoppers opt for debit and prepaid cards to manage their spending as they are limited by the amount of funds that can be spent – ideal for preventing impulse purchases.
Keeping a watchful eye on bank statements is also essential in the early part of the New Year as it can be easy to fall into financial gloom given the large expenditures traditionally made around the festive season.
The start of 2015 represents a great opportunity to get finances in order – which is why it might pay to avoid those potentially regrettable ‘bargains’.