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How to score big bargains in the pre-Christmas sales

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You're not alone if your approach to Christmas shopping is haphazard at best.

After all, no one ever really intends to leave it to the last minute. But somewhere between end of year deadlines, school nativity plays and the office Christmas party, yuletide shopping slips through the cracks.

The end result is a very stressed Santa and a maxed-out credit card. Not to mention a pile of uninspired gifts we know are destined for the back of the cupboard - or worse.

Doing your Christmas shopping at the eleventh hour is not only stressful and chaotic, it's also expensive. From December onwards, retailers are far less inclined to drop their prices until after Christmas has rolled around and this can cost you.

black friday sales

After all, Aussies are no strangers to silly season spending. In 2018, we forked out a whopping  $25 billion on Christmas, splashing out $1,325 each on average for gifts, food, alcohol and other items.

Some of us also ended up with post-Christmas debt. Those who used a credit card to fund their festivities owed around $1,863 on average, with 1 in 4 (27%) still repaying their debt 12 months later.

Yet savvy shoppers know a thing or two about how to avoid a full-price Christmas. The secret? Apart from saving in advance and sticking to a budget, you should get to know the upcoming sales calendar.

There are a handful of major sales to watch out for in the lead-up to Christmas. By keeping tabs on when they are and what's available, you'll be able to stock up on plenty of Christmas goods at a fraction of the regular price.

Upcoming sales

Singles' Day - Monday, November 11

This Chinese shopping event has now taken foot in Australia. You can expect to see deals on Chinese stores like AliExpress and Alibaba, plus luxury brands such as David Jones, La Mer and Jurlique who have participated in previous years.

Black Friday - Friday, November 29

Happening both in-store and online, expect to see discounts of up to 80% across participating fashion, electronics, homewares, toys and beauty brands.

Cyber Monday - Monday, December 2

If crowds aren't your thing, Cyber Monday is your go-to online-only sale. Prices will be slashed across online brands like ASOS, Showpo and THE ICONIC.

How to get the best deal

Make a list and check it twice

Writing up a list of everything you need to buy in the lead-up to the sales will save both time and money.

Once the sale kicks off, you can be in and out of stores without wasting time hunting around because you'll already know what you need.  This can also help to prevent budget blow out.

Price match

Some of Australia's major retailers have a price match policy.

This means that if you find the same item stocked elsewhere at a lower price, the retailer will match it. Retailers who price match include Bunnings Warehouse, David Jones, Flight Centre and JB Hi-Fi, to name a few.

Online can be cheaper for first-time customers

Many retailers will offer 10-20% off for first-time customers who sign up online with their email address. This is an easy way to get a further discount and you can always unsubscribe from any mailing lists at a later date.

Compare the pair

Smaller brands are often stocked by larger retailers at a cheaper price. Before purchasing a sale-price item online, check it isn't available elsewhere for a lower price.

Remember to factor in shipping costs when deciding which retailer is the better value - these can make or break a purchase.

As long as you're organised and plan the sales in advance, you can knock out your Christmas shopping by early December and save hundreds of dollars in the process.

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Bessie Hassan is a money expert at Finder.
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