We bagged a year's worth of shopping in a day at the sales
EVERYONE loves a bargain – and there is no better time to snap one up.
In a welcome bounce back for retailers, 11million shoppers were expected to spend around £3.9billion as they queue up for the best deals in the sales.
Here, three women reveal how they bagged a year’s haul for a fraction of the full price tag.
Sales agent Kristy Walker, 45, lives in Kingston upon Thames, South West London, with husband Harry, 45, a psychologist, and their three children, Billy, 19, Bobby, 14, and eight-year-old Bella.
The mum, who gets up at 7am for the sales, says: “They are the highlight of my year, it is the best time to hit the shops.
“Being one of the first there makes me feel like a winner because I’m not losing out on anything.
“I spend all year avoiding shops because I hate queuing and it is a waste of time because everything is usually full price. When the sales are on it’s worth it.
“I buy mine and the children’s wardrobe for the year, household items and sometimes presents for the following Christmas.
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“I save a little every month throughout the year, which leaves me with about £1,000 to spend.
“This year I shopped in Zara, The White Company, Anthropology, Sweaty Betty and Lululemon.
“I spend my evenings trawling online for bargains at department stores like John Lewis and Harrods.
“It’s true what they say — there is no sale like the Harrods sale.
“This year I bought exercise leggings from Sweaty Betty reduced from £65 to £36 and I paid £36 for sports bras that should’ve been £60.
“Exercise is a big part of my life, and the sales get me good-quality goods for a fraction of the price.
“I always aim to buy the kids’ clothes for the year, so after going through their cupboards first to see what they need I write a list.
“I haven’t finished yet, I will continue buying until the sales finish at the end of January.
“I’ve even bagged all my friends’ birthday presents for the coming year. I used to work in retail and I feel bitter paying full price when I know the mark-up is so big. I very rarely want to buy anything that’s full price.
“Four years ago, I bought a pair of Sophia Webster shoes which were reduced from £805 to £400 at Harrods.
American Vintage cardigan £75, was £150
Whistles cashmere cardigan £100, was £175
Adidas trainers £80, were £160
Two Adidas sports bras £36 each, were £60 each
M&S pleather skirt £20, was £25
Sweaty Betty leggings £36, were £65
Lululemon yoga top £45, was £65, and shorts £34, were £48
Full price: £808
“They were still pricey but I’ve worn them a lot and they will never go out of style.
“My friends and family think I’m crazy to get up so early and brave the shops at the busiest time, but I get a rush from it.”
Single Fiona Daly, 42, goes on a £2,000 shopping spree every year, which usually lasts three days.
Fiona works in housekeeping and lives in Warwick Gates, Coventry, with children Darcy Kent, six, Morgan, 18 and Joe Ransford, 19.
She says: “I get a kick when I spot a bargain and take great satisfaction at being able to wear high-quality things that I could never afford to buy at full price.
“I make a list of everything I want to buy in advance and this year I have bought some great items.
“I’ve spent £150 on clothes for next year’s Christmas presents which would have been £475 and I’ve picked up almost everything including toys and decorations.
I’ve doubled up on some items because they are so cheap.
'Family think I'm crazy'
“Discount shops like TK Maxx and charity shops are usually keen to shift their Christmas stocks and I found a £30 set of lights for a pound.
"Ornaments which usually cost £10 each were just 99p.
“I go to TK Maxx for the designer brands because they are a fraction of the usual price after Christmas, especially their gold label section.
“I once got a Louis Vuitton tote bag on sale for £180 which usually costs around £1,000 and I look out for the red stickers which mean a bigger reduction.
“I prefer to go into the stores but sales shopping online means I can sift through the prices, sorted by lowest to highest.
“On the Very website, I bought a pair of Lacoste trainers for £35 which had only been worn twice and were reduced from £140.
“One of my best sales purchases was a granite-topped mirrored bar from a high-end Greek restaurant which was closing down.
"It is worth over £2,000 but I paid £100.
“I also went to a former show home store in Warwick and bought a Versace dining table and chairs for £500 — the table alone was retailing online for £5,000.
'I don't set a budget'
“I usually have a budget of up to £2,000, depending on what I’ve managed to save the rest of the year.
"It’s a big confidence boost because I know I’m making my hard-earned money go as far as it possibly can.”
Antique and vintage shop owner Anita Lo, 28, from Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, does her sales shopping online to get bigger discounts.
Anita, who is single, says: “I usually aim to be at the shops within a few hours of opening on Boxing Day but this year, due to Covid, I’ve shopped online.
"It also means I can search for discount codes to get more money off items.
“After browsing online before Christmas and on Boxing Day, I’ve stocked up on everything from clothes and beauty products to items for the house — and I’ve got them up to 80 per cent cheaper.
Richard James half-zip cashmere blend jumper £29, was £100
Richard James T-shirt £15, was £50
Richard James cotton shirt £29, was £95
CocoBlend leggings £22, were £65
NRNB joggers £29, were £80
Armani men’s coat at TK Maxx £78, was £120
K-Design dress from Justina, boutique in Wellesbourne, West Mids £49, was £95
DKNY coat £40, was £95
Light-up mirror £25, was £60
Christmas decorations and presents £800, were £2,800
Gaming chairs £5, were £80
Calvin Klein boots £6, were £120
Juicy Couture woollen hat and scarf set £18, was £60
Full price: £3,820
“Throughout the year I save my favourite items to an online wish list, and after Christmas I check for discounts.
“I don’t usually buy things with someone in mind, but if I stock up, some items can be turned into birthday presents.
"In the past I have bought leather jackets from All Saints for 70 per cent cheaper, a Coccinelle designer handbag for £40 and a new Mulberry belt for £35.
“I don’t set myself a budget, but I don’t usually spend more than £100 on a single item.
“The RRP of clothes which are cheaply made is too much.
"Over the years, I’ve found vintage and authentic Gucci handbags for less than £100 and a pair of new Fendi heels for £30.
“Using my experience of buying clothing and spotting timeless pieces, I decided to set up my own shop in May 2020 selling affordable vintage clothing and antiques that are one of a kind.
"I love finding bargains.”
Underwear from Modibodi £54, was £110
Ninja Foodi multi-cooker £195, was £229.99
Doc Martens backpack £95, was £149
Uniqlo drape joggers £19.99, was £34.90
La Roche-Posay skin treatment £12.50, was £17
Kiehl’s skin cream £33.15, was £39
Carhartt Janet Liner jacket £80, was £125
Regenacalm Serum £18.39, was £22.99
Full price: £727.88
Total spent: £508.03
Total saved: £219.85
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