Yesterday, Little Bird and I ventured out to our local mall to do a spot of bargain hunting in the post Christmas sales. I know that many people can think of nothing worse than to go shopping after all the Christmas excess, but for me this is the time when I start thinking about presents and things I need for next Christmas, when they are offered at very good prices in the sales.
It was about 11am when we ventured out and although it was a bit late when we got to the mall, it wasn't too busy, so we managed to get around to a few shops very easily. We had to queue a couple of times, but the queues weren't too long, although Little Bird did complain a little.
First stop was Boots. I love Boots when there's a sale after Christmas as I always get quite a few gift sets to give as birthday presents through the year and for Christmas presents next year. Things like hand creams and other toiletries keep very well until opened, and then usually last 24 months once opened, so I have no qualms about getting these things early and at a good price. I always go for good brands such as Joules, Laura Ashley, FC UK, Ted Baker or similar so that those receiving them feel like they are getting something special and of good quality. I also look for little stocking fillers or things that can be given as teacher gifts or birthday gifts for Little Bird's friends when their birthdays come around later in the year. You can much better quality gifts this way than your budget might allow otherwise.
Another shop I always go to in the sales is M&S. They too reduce lots of things by 50% or more at this time of year. I usually get all of next year's Christmas cards here as they are such good quality and I got another box of advent crackers to fill for Little Bird, as these worked really well this year as I put them on the tree once it was up and I didn't have to buy any normal crackers at all, save for ones I fill myself as place settings on the dinner table. I also managed to get myself a sports bra at a really good price here which was on my wish list next year, and a really good quality frying pan, as ours needed replacing.
We also visited a couple of other stores and managed to get a couple of gifts for specific family members' birthday or Christmas presents, so all in all we had a really good shopping trip. I did spend a bit of money, but the things I bought will all be used, will make super presents or were things I was going to buy in the New Year anyway, without necessarily getting a discount, so I was very happy. I will probably pop back in a week or so when prices have been slashed further to get rid of the last few items and see if there is anything else that might be suitable. I do this type of shopping trip in the sales to make my money go as far as possible, and judging by the thousands of people out shopping by the time we left the mall two hours later, an awful lot of people are shopping this way too these days.