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Three ways to grab a bargain in the pre-Christmas sales

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The festive season is fast approaching, which means the pre-Christmas sales are right on our doorstep.

It's easy to dismiss the pre-Christmas sales as a retail cash grab - especially if you're trying to save money in the lead-up to the holidays. But with a bit of forward planning, savvy shoppers can use the sales to their advantage.

What are the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?

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There are two major sales between now and Christmas - Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30).

Originally a US sales event, Black Friday has ballooned into a global shopping phenomenon, with a cult following here in Australia. During this time you can expect to see major deals across fashion, homewares, appliances and tech.

Its sister event, Cyber Monday, was originally intended to be the "online" version of the bricks-and-mortar Friday sale. But with the majority of retailers now operating both in-store and online, the two events have evolved to become an extended sale period.

How to take advantage of the sales

There's zero point in hitting the shops (or jumping online) with a stack of cash and no plan. The trick to really nailing the sales is to work out what you need and how you can save. Below are some key strategies.

1. Do your Christmas shopping at a discount

Leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute is not only stressful, but you'll also pay full price. This is where the pre-Christmas sales can come in handy. With a bit of planning, you can work out everyone you'll need to buy for this Christmas, then purchase their gifts at a discount. You can also avoid the worst of the December crowds.

In previous years, we've seen prices slashed by up to 70-80% off across a range of products during Black Friday and we can expect to see similar offers this year. Finder's shopping editors are already predicting discounts across popular items like Apple AirPods, Dyson vacuum cleaners and Xbox consoles.

Keep in mind that organisation is the key to Christmas shopping during the sales. Knowing what to buy and where to buy it before the sales start will prevent you from blowing your budget or missing out on popular items.

2. Snap up a back-to-school bargain

The cost of school supplies can sting, especially after the financial onslaught of Christmas. Although next year's stationery list may seem worlds away, the pre-Christmas sales are a great chance to stock up on school supplies for less.

Items such as stationery, school bags, shoes, runners and lunchboxes can all be purchased at a discount from stores like Officeworks, Target and Kmart. You can also expect prices to be slashed across tech products like laptops, with brands including The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Kogan and Dell the ones to watch. If you're really strategic, you may be able to pass this off as a Christmas gift as well!

3. Replenish your work wardrobe

You're not alone if you've neglected your work wardrobe while working from home this year. But with many companies beginning to return to the office, pyjama pants aren't going to cut it much longer.

If you're a little lacking in the workwear department, the pre-Christmas sales are a smart way to stock up. Fashion giants like Myer and David Jones are set to offer big discounts this November, along with a slew of smaller retailers. This is also a good chance to purchase one or two quality staple pieces at a discount, like that Donna Karan blazer you've been eying off for months.

While there are big discounts to be had during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, remember, you're still spending money, not saving it.

With this in mind, your best plan of attack is to have an organised shopping list and a strict budget - and stick to both.

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Bessie Hassan is a money expert at Finder.
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