Diana Clement: Missed the Boxing Day bargains? Don’t worry

Relax, you didn’t miss the bargains.

If, like me, you spent the Boxing Day weekend as far from the shops as possible, you haven’t missed out on any once-in-a-lifetime bargains.

Boxing Day isn’t the only sale of the year and doesn’t even always offer the cheapest prices.

Comparison website PriceSpy.co.nz did some research on its entire database from this time last summer and it found that there was a five-day window of opportunity after Boxing Day where prices remained the same.

Sometimes there is stuff we truly need or really want and budget for and are going to buy. You might make a more sensible decision by biding your time. Most retailers have multiple days or weeks across the year that will match or sometimes eclipse Boxing Day.

Setting up a search on PriceSpy.co.nz or Priceme.co.nz (or, if buying overseas, comparison sites in those countries) makes a lot of sense. You can do this for all manner of goods from perfume to PlayStations to SodaStreams, and receive a notification when prices drop to the price you’re willing to pay.

Whatever it is you want to buy, arming yourself with historical price information can help. “This way, they can see if the price of the item they are looking to buy is a good deal,” says Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy.

I’m doing that with my next mobile phone. My current phone is in the process of dying and I’ve squeezed a year longer out of it than expected.

My next phone will be a new model mid-range 5G phone. Mid-range because it’s way better value for money than Apple and Samsung.

It will be a 2020 model because typically you’ll get more years out of the latest model before it decides it can’t update apps anymore.

The phone I have in my saved search was only released at the end of October at a cost of $698.99. It dropped to $648 from November 14-18, returned to full price, then dropped to $664.04 for Black Friday, which notably wasn’t super cheap at all. The price once again dropped to $648 on December 11 and 12. I wrote this article just before Christmas so I can’t tell you what the price was on Boxing Day.

The trick with any phone is to wait three months after launch and it will start to slide in price. Looking at last year’s model of the same phone, the Boxing Day price was matched in late January, late February, and also July. Then once the new model came out in November, last year’s one dropped from its original price of $578 to $284.

If it wasn’t for the arrival of 5G I’d be far better off to have bought last year’s model, which was a mighty nice phone with great specs and several years of usable life.

Whatever the category of goods you’re looking at, if you can wait until the end of January, items may be reduced from sale prices to clearance. The shops just want them gone so that they can restock.

If the item isn’t on a price comparison website, you can save a link as a shortcut on your browser and click on it from time to time to see if it goes on sale. Or you can create a login to the store in question. I did this for a furniture store recently so that I will be sent advance notice of sales and get “club” prices on the specific item of furniture I’m coveting.

One proviso for all this is that we’re living in a world where supply chains are topsy turvy thanks to Covid. Many items are in short supply. If you really do need that stove or fridge for your renovation, or the laptop before the start of term 1 at school, then you might want to get out and shop, after of course using the price comparison sites.

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