Last of the big spenders

Buy now! Only another 355 days to Christmas!

I am not normally the biggest shopper in the January sales. After the fiesta of consumption that is Christmas, the last thing our family needs is yet more stuff.

Even big discounts, that bring the mega-expensive down to mildly expensive, aren’t quite temptation enough.

A bargain, according to my husband, is “something you do not want at a price you cannot resist”.
I tried to bear this in mind while staring at a stand of cut-price reindeer shaped photo frames and sparkly napkin rings this weekend.

We made a family trip to Colchester, so my daughter could spend her Christmas present Build a Bear voucher. I was just about to write a rant about the explosion of brillantly coloured emotive, expensive polyster purveyed in the temple to kitsch that is Build a Bear, but my children love the place, so I won’t. But it does make my eyes hurt.

Anyway, I try to take the approach of only buying things I definitely need anyway, and would buy at full price if I hadn’t seen them in a sale. I reckon some of the few things worth buying in the January sales are cut-price Christmas stuff, so we had a look around.

If you’ve got the space to stash your bargains (and can remember where you put it come December, always a risk) then it’s worth stocking up on things like Christmas cards, wrapping paper and stocking presents while the retailers want to get rid of them. I might draw the line at buying a turkey a year in advance, but Christmas crackers will keep perfectly well.

For example, the Co-op is selling off the kind of tiny Christmas cards that every child in my children’s school seems to give to each other. The Co-op was still doing 3 for the price of 2 even on sale cards, so I was able to buy 60 cards for £1.50, which is less than the price of a single birthday card.

I also bought a box of 12 family crackers on sale at Morrisons, down 25%, even if that only meant a pound off the original £4. The feedback from this year’s Christmas dinner was that crackers should contain toys and tricks, not fancy earrings, corkscrews and measuring spoons, so next year they will.

I gave Father Christmas a helping hand by buying a couple of packs of snap together Prehistoric Creatures at M&S down from a fiver to £1. Then yesterday I couldn’t resist a couple of knight-topped pencils (99p each instead of £2.50) at the gift shop in Orford Castle.

I doubt if my £8.50 sale spending is going to rejuvenate the British High Street, but it will come in handy next December.

Love these gloves.

I also used some of my own Christmas money to buy a pair of black leather gloves in the sale at M&S. I’ve been looking for a new pair since last winter, but hadn’t found anything I liked at a price I was willing to pay.

I would never have spent nearly £40 on a pair of gloves, but was willing to hand over £18. In true M&S fashion, these are not just any gloves, they are cashmere lined, Italian aniline leather gloves.

I don’t even know what aniline leather is, but I do know they are remarkably soft, very warm, gloriously impractical and a lot smarter than my previous tattered pair.

So if you see someone wandering round Suffolk, stroking her own gloves, that would be me.

Anyone else go out bargain hunting in the sales? Or prefer to avoid further consumption and clutter?


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  1. 4th January 2016 / 3:07 pm

    I'm averting my eyes and NOT buying since the first of the month.

    I have just posted about what we did buy last week in the sales, but queueing up to pay for some of those purchases my eyes were drawn to Christmas crackers and wrapping paper down by 75% ….. then I remembered we are planning a 'Good Life' Christmas next year, and will have to make our own. Oh well money saved 🙂

    • 6th January 2016 / 10:34 am

      Sounds like stellar self-control to me. I'm really looking forward to reading your progress as you slash spending this year.

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