Why I don’t go to the sales

Jan 4, 2023 | 18 comments


Why I don’t go to the sales


The post Christmas sales have been going a while now, since before Christmas in fact. I am quite wary of sales for several reasons.

Are they genuine reductions?

I think we all have to have our wits well and truly about us if we are to venture out to the sales.

What do you think of as the definition of a sale? I might be being old fashioned here, but to me, a sale is the disposal of stock that has been on offer at the same place, at a higher price, and has not been sold.

Often, sale items are not that at all, but have been bought in especially. There might be a handful of things that have massive reductions to get people in the shop (although they may well be special purchases too), but what about the rest, are they reductions, or cheaper, not particularly good value special purchases?

Are the sale items things that no one actually wants?

Black Friday

If the items being offered really are actual reductions, are they the dross that no one else wanted? Do you really want the dress, sofa, shoes or paint in a style or colour that will look old fashioned by next year, or wasn’t that desirable in the first place?

If you feel the need to tell everyone just how cheap that special sale bargain was, did you buy it because you wanted it and, hopefully, needed it, or simply because it was cheap.

Am I being drawn in by sales techniques?

If you don’t think you would do that, how many times have you been into a supermarket to buy just bread or milk and come out having spent £30 having succumbed to various offers (bought just because they were cheap?). Have you ever bought a BOGOF because it seemed good value, knowing, even as you bought it, that there was no way you would be able to use it before it went off?

Most people in the U.K. throw away as waste 20% of the groceries they buy, which would suggest we are being sold at least 20% more than we need. And I use that phrase deliberately. We are not so much buying stuff as being sold it. The entire advertising industry is built on persuading people to buy, buy, buy.  Having a sale is just another ploy to try to persuade you to buy.


Do I actually want what is being offered at all?

Shopping bags

Am I being sold to? Without that email with the tempting offer, would I still want it. If I hadn’t spotted that voucher, would I still be tempted.

Over the hundreds of years I’ve been on this planet, I’ve found that I’ve saved far more money by buying what I want and/or need as the want or need arises, and not when external factors, like sales, are telling me that now is when I want it.

It’s much like eating really. What decides when you have had enough food – the portion on your plate; the size of the packet of biscuits; your mum being upset if you don’t eat it all, or the simple fact that your body is telling you it’s had enough now thanks, you can stop eating.

Sales are much the same. Have you got a planned purchase you’ve been waiting for the sales to make? Are you going with a shopping list of possible purchases if you can find a bargain? Great, fill your boots. Are you going to go out and see what you can get cheap?  Not so great. Be careful you haven’t got a sign on your forehead saying ‘sell to me, I’m ready to buy anything’

If, like most people, myself included, you regularly have to declutter, it’s odds on you are being sold stuff you didn’t actually want to buy in the first place. How long did you have to work to buy that so called bargain. How much better would your life be if you hadn’t had to work to pay for all that stuff you’ve just taken to the charity shop.

So,  my number one tip for saving the maximum amount of cash at sale time is….. don’t go to the shops at all.



  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Cindy – well you seem to have all that well sorted!

  2. Cidney

    well Lesley I’m not a miser but haven’t been to the xmas “sales” since 2016!!! I admit that sometimes in January I trot out to see if there are any xmas tags, cards or paper left but I already have 3 rolls of paper and enough boxes of cards to write half of them next year and 2 pkts of tags, so this year I haven’t been out yet to anywhere but I am now mindful that I may need 1 more roll of paper and another box of cards!! They can wait!

    I agree with the other lady I have been steadily buying some presents from Boots Tuesday £10 online bargains. There can be branded sets sold at £30 now selling on that day only for £10, last year I bought all my sisters birthday and xmas presents online on Boots tuesday events, I got some bargains which I could split up. I watch out for the products I know they will use. One of my sisters was made up with the large bottle of factor 50 suncream I got greatly reduced to £10 from something like £40, and it had a good write up in the Which? magazine too, and has raved about it all last summer. I’m keeping an eye out for it in case it’s on the tuesday goodies for this summe, I wouldn’t be able to buy it otherwise, we have a max of £30 each for presents and stick to it!

  3. Lesley

    yes, totally agree. I was early for an appointment this morning, so popped into a charity shop. I was browsing and thinking that I really don’t want anything and was glad when a friend saw me and started chatting. We decided to leave and go on to the coffee meeting before we found something we ‘couldn’t live without’ ! Easiest way to save money for me is to stay away from the shops!

  4. Vicky

    I think sales can be super dangerous. Unless you go and have a list of items and you don’t go away from that then it’s fine – but it can take a lot of will power. I’d rather keep away. Saying that, with online sales and promotions you kind of have to live in a bubble to avoid it completely!

  5. Lesley

    Abigail – well done you, very good planning!

  6. Abigail

    I buy all of next Christmas’s wrapping paper etc in the sales. I still cringe that the really expensive wrapping paper is only £1.50 (reduced from £3) so only get one roll of that! Come Boxing Day, I plan every person’s present list for the next 12 months – I love the 50% off gifts sales at M&S and Boots, that’s everyone sorted! Gift sets that would cost £10, down to £5 – two of those and birthdays and christmas’s are covered. It probably seems miserly of me, but it’s how I manage the budget. Otherwise the expenditure would be twice as large and I just can’t justify it!

  7. Lesley

    Lee – sometimes I’m really aware of it, other times, not so much, and of course that’s when it works best!

  8. Lesley

    Debbie – you did well! £8 for a card, that’s a lot isn’t it! Good idea buying clothes to fit in the future

  9. Lesley

    Allie – that comes under planned spending for me ☺️

  10. Lee Balders

    Really sensible stance to take – I totally agree with you. I love the part about ‘being sold to’ instead of ‘buying’ 🙂

  11. Debbie

    I do agree with you generally, however, myself and my daughter did succumb to the sales for some items. Childrens clothes from Next bought to fit for next winter all half price, special family Christmas cards from Clintons at 99p each, plus buy 3 get one free, no matter what their previous price. I picked up a card that was sold for £8 previously for just 99p! Christmas cards from Waitrose reduced to 50p a box, also gift bags for 10p each and packs of plain gold and silver tags at 10p each. I know I will use every item I bought so feel very pleased with myself!

  12. Allie

    I usually avoid the sales so that I don’t waste money but this year I needed a new mattress and some Christmas paper for next year and saved a significant amount in the Boxing Day sales. For once it was worth it.

  13. Lesley

    Rita – how many of us have brand new clothes in the wardrobe, never worn
    So much nicer to spend it on something special for your house!

  14. Lesley

    Jane – Yes, I agree, if you look, there are often bargains and deals, and you have time to think and reflect, which you don’t get standing in a shop

  15. Lesley

    I know, Sam went to Bluewater, in December, by choice!


    I too avoid the sales because I always see things that might be nice and buy them and then regret the purchase. I even made all of my Christmas purchases online and the amount of money I spent on Christmas this year was half or better than the last few years. I’m planning on stashing some money this year for something special for the house or a room renovation in our 200+ year old house! Love your blog!

  17. Kevin

    Spot on Sis.

    I can’t believe anyone actually enjoys the experience of going sales shopping anyway, I certainly wouldn’t.

    Retail therapy? More like bloomin torture!

  18. Jane Taylor

    A really sensible attitude! I actually find it all a bit too much, seeing everyone going crazy about the sales – after the expense of CHristmas. We’ve really enjoyed staying clear of the sales and spending time with family. There are bargains all year around it you look for them when you actually need them.

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