5 Shopping Tips for After Christmas Sales

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The day after Christmas is expected to outrank Black Friday and Cyber Monday in shopping activity this year, according to a new study from the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. Dec. 26 kicks off the second half of the busy retail season as consumers head to local malls and stores to exchange and return gifts, use gift cards and take advantage of post-Christmas sales. As retailers look to clear out unsold inventory and attempt to reach end-of-year revenue goals, shoppers can expect big discounts on apparel, holiday decor and electronics like video game consoles and digital cameras.

If you’re planning to tackle these after-Christmas sales, it’s important to know what to buy, where to shop and how to stretch your savings.

Save on clothing and accessories.

Apparel is often marked down from 30 to 65 percent or more during this period. And, because warmer than usual temperatures across the country have damped sales on cold weather clothing, shoppers can find the biggest deals on coats, sweaters, hats and gloves. What’s more, department stores like Macy’s will offer doorbusters on select apparel while brands like Banana Republic typically run store-wide sales of up to 50 percent off. Even luxury apparel retailers offer discounts during post-Christmas sales.

Prepare for next holiday season. 

While it may seem counter-intuitive to shop for holiday merchandise after Christmas, this is the best period to snag big savings on wrapping supplies and decor with savings from 50 to 75 percent. If you stick with solid holiday colors when it comes to wrapping paper, gift bags and tissue paper like red, silver, gold or even green, you can use these for other celebrations throughout the year

Compare electronics sales.

Audio gadgets like headphones, speakers and digital cameras represent hot buys during post-Christmas sales as well as video game consoles. Since major retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Amazon sell similar items, it’s wise to compare offers to see who has the best deal. You may find bonus gift cards with you purchase but it may be better to take the instant discount. Shop electronics stores like Best Buy for added savings on sale and clearance items; last year, Best Buy offered up to an extra 60% off clearance.

Head out early.

Dec. 26 is an incredibly crowded day since many consumers hit the returns department first, then browse the sales for top deals. Stores accommodate eager shoppers with extended hours and early openings, with some department stores opening as early as 5 a.m. If you have your eye on particular products, it’s best to seek them out early before they’re sold out. This also ensures a speedier checkout since there’s likely to be less people out at that time. Otherwise, consider shopping online to dodge the crowds altogether and look for free shipping deals through FreeShipping.org.

Use apps to stretch post-holiday savings.

Don’t assume that a sale price is the best deal you can get. It’s important to shop around and compare prices. Load up your smartphone with savings apps like ShopSavvy to compare sales on the fly, Retale to review retailer’s store circulars all in one place and and Coupon Sherpa for extra in-store savings with free mobile coupons for popular retailers like Kohls, Macy’s, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Since retailers bet on more people shopping on Dec. 26, there’s a good chance prices on certain products could get discounted even further as January approaches. That’s why it’s important to track price drops using TrackIf in case you’re eligible for a price adjustment.

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