7 Ways to Tackle the January Sales and Keep Your Cool ...

So, Christmas is over, our jeans feel a little bit tighter and it's time to hit the January sales with gusto. Before you venture out into the cold, armed with your gift vouchers or money that you have painstakingly saved however, there are some simple ways to tackle the January sales and keep your cool at the same time.

Some people save the whole year round for the January sales, where they can get fabulous items for a fraction of the price. But there is always the danger of walking out of the store with a pair of neon patterned leggings that really don't suit but that you just had to have because they were oh so cheap. So to avoid the temptation of walking out of the store with items that will just clog up your already constipated wardrobe and all because you were so easily seduced by the bright red sale signs and the promise of 75% discount, here are some hints and tips for the hardened shopper during the sales.

1. Preparation

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I'm a big fan of lists and the January sales are no exception. Decide what it is you're looking for and keep your eye on the prize. It's true, sometimes you don't know what you want until you see it but evaluate the gaps in your wardrobe beforehand and see what it is you really need. Sometimes necessity isn't always your priority when you're in the throes of sale passion but a list will help you remember what you need to look out for. Remember, just because it has a sale tag, doesn't mean you need it! Also, if you're looking for certain garments to go with others you already have, it might be an idea to take a garment with you. And if you're unsure about the colour of a garment you are hoping to go with another, take a picture of it to remind you. You may not get another chance, as once it's gone, it's gone!

2. Early Bird

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An early night before the sales is essential. Now, what time you rise will depend on the sale and how far you have to travel to it. You'll also need to think about parking, as often the later you arrive, the more chance there is of most of the parking spaces being taken and having to park further away as a consequence. In these times of austerity measures when everyone is tightening their purse strings, there will be a lot of people out and about who are looking for the same bargains, so being prepared and getting there early is essential.

3. Plan Your Shopping Route

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Do you know what shops you're going to tackle first? This is key for your shopping trip and knowing your way around the store also helps. If it's a new store that you're not familiar with, getting to the shoes, handbags, coats or other garments quickly, might be a challenge.

4. No Distractions

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"To shop with a friend, or not to shop with a friend" that is the question that Shakespeare would have posed if he was a hardened female shopper. If you decide to take your best pal with you, the benefits are many and varied. You will obviously have company and someone to advise as to whether those neon leggings at a money-saving 75% off are actually worth it. If you're a Lone Ranger, preferring to scour the bargains without a friend in tow, who may just distract you and let's face it, might also steal that bargain you had your eye on (it's happened to me *growl*) then alone you should go.

5. Calm

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The key is to remain calm and if someone happens to grab that last beautiful beige bucket bag you had been admiring from afar the last two months, before you have a chance to caress the soft leather folds and tassels, no matter. Just remember, there is always a better bargain around the corner.

6. Break for a Breather

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Let's face it, shopping is tiring work and when you need to give your legs a rest and need to recuperate and get your breath back, stopping for healthy refuelling is essential. Make sure you build this into your shopping trip. Shopping is a work out at the end of the day with all that walking, trying garments on and lifting them off the shelf. The average two hour shopping trip burns about 300 calories. So wear comfy shoes ladies!

7. Enjoy

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It needn't be stressful, shopping is fun! So enjoy it and don't let the fact that you didn't get all that you wanted get you down. Just be prepared for the summer sales which are only a few months down the line!

These are a few things I will be doing when the January sales start. What tips do you have for a productive sale shopping trip this January?

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