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22nd Dec 2023

The 10 trials and tribulations of the January sales

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by PayPal

From the queues to the crowds to the ever-changing temperatures, the sales aren’t always easy to navigate.

As soon as we’ve had our fill of turkey and Christmas crackers for the year, we can practically hear the January sales calling our names.

In fact, PayPal’s 2023 Festive Spending Snapshot* found that more than half (58%) of people love browsing and buying items online after Christmas and a similar proportion (55%) usually shop online during the January sales.

With bargains aplenty and discounts galore, the post-Christmas sales tend to lure savvy shoppers in their droves, and while we hold onto the hope that we’ll nab a decent deal, we can’t pretend that this time is stress-free.

This year, we’re going into the January sales with our expectations in check, and as knowledge is power, we’re laying down the 10 trials and tribulations that come with the January sales – and how to get around them**.

1. The early start, the long queues…

The good stuff has a tendency to go early, but it can be tricky to feel motivated enough to get out early and stand in a queue on a chilly morning when our beds are as toasty as they are… unless of course you jump online and bag a bargain from that toasty bed. This is what online shopping (and PayPal at Checkout) was made for!

2. That too hot/too cold feeling

We’ve all been there, traipsing around the shops getting all hot and cold as you go from the cold winter air to the blast of the heaters. Again, why put yourself through this when you can enjoy shopping discounts from the comfort of your own home via Honey? Just add it to your browser and get searching for those bargains!

3. The post-Christmas budget blues

Following the festive period, people often want to save rather than spend. Then again, those January blues can hit hard so treating yourself can be nice. Whatever you decide, setting a budget when hitting the January sales is the key to avoiding overspending and ensuring that any purchases won’t leave you short.

4. When the one item you want isn’t on sale

Yes, this one can be a hard one to swallow and it can be difficult to justify paying full price for something, especially after Christmas. However, by setting a budget and tracking your spending in the leadup to the January sales, you can better plan for such purchases.

5. When you lose track of how much you spend

In the flurry of deals and discounts, it can be easy to take your eye off the ball and lose track of what you’ve spent. But with the help of PayPal, you can be a savvier, stress-free shopper who can take control of their spending and review online transactions at the touch of a button via the app. 

6. When you end up with the same thing as ALL your mates 

This can be a danger when it comes to the January sales – a bargain that’s so good, nobody can resist it. Then you turn up for your next night out and everyone is wearing the same shoes. While not the end of the world, don’t be afraid to broaden your shopping horizons by visiting charity shops and preloved retailers. They often have one-of-a-kind pieces for January sales-esque prices.

7. The group lunch 

Sure, it can be fun hitting the January sales with your pals, but sometimes awkward situations can arise if you decide to head to your favourite eatery for lunch and to take a break from the shops. Who ate what? Did someone have two coffees? Post-Christmas, people can be extra mindful of spending so why not pay for the bill and then split it accurately among the group using peer-to-peer payments. Simple.

8. The impulse buy that you know you won’t use   

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all bought one (or ten). Whatever your approach when it comes to the January sales, lay some ground rules around how much you plan to spend and make a list of what exactly it is that you’re looking for. That way, you won’t end up bringing home items that sit in the drawer until your spring clear-out.

9. In-person donations 

Usually at this time of year, you will see more in-person charity collections on the high street. However, when was the last time you had small change in your bag to throw into a bucket? Never fear, the PayPal Giving Fund Ireland enables you to easily make digital donations to the causes you care about.

10. The return trip home 

So many bargains, too few hands. Taxi anyone?

You can sign up to PayPal right here.

* PayPal’s 2023 Festive Spending Snapshot surveyed 1,000 consumers in Ireland who celebrate the holidays, conducted by Censuswide in November/December 2023.

** An account with PayPal is required to send and receive money    

This article includes tips, suggestions, and general information. PayPal recommends that you always do your own research and consider getting independent tax, financial and legal advice before making any important decision.