By Fashion Contributor Caitlin (@themummystylefiles)

Think that Boxing Day is the only day post Christmas to nab a bargain? No way. These days most retailers have sales on for most of January, even bringing out new stock periodically throughout the month.

Dress and Shoes picked up in the sales recently. Dress: Piper (not available online) via Myer, Shoes: Rubi Shoes (similar linked). Whole outfit under $100

Dress and Shoes picked up in the sales recently. Dress: Piper (not available online) via Myer, Shoes: Rubi Shoes (similar linked). Whole outfit under $100

But what’s the best approach? When should you go, and should you even bother? Never fear, today I have your how-to guide to make sure you don’t waste your time and you walk away with not only some new items but also some spare change.

Shoe display untouched first thing in the morning

Shoe display untouched first thing in the morning

First things first, go early. This shouldn’t be hard for most of us mums who have early risers, but hitting the shops first thing in the morning is the best way to avoid crowds and to have the best visibility of the stock available. Everything is neatly organised, all the sizes are replenished and you have a better chance of receiving assistance if needs be.

Secondly, as much as I am a big advocate of “Shopping Small”, if you want the best bang for your time buck then it’s best to hit a department store. You will have access to a greater variety of brands and styles, the prices will be competitive and the turnover of stock will be frequent.

Before you even head out, I’d suggest that you take an inventory of your current wardrobe and identify some gaps that you have. It can be really easy to enter a ‘sale’ environment and get tempted to buy things you don’t need because of the price tag. If you go in looking for specific items, it is less likely that you’ll be distracted and buy something you don’t need and hence, probably won’t wear.

Racks of Denim and Shoes

Racks of Denim and Shoes

So once you’re there, what items are the biggest bargains? My tips are Denim, Shoes and Dresses. If you are in the market for a new pair of jeans, those winter booties you know you’ll wear in the next few months or some new dresses (particularly corporate or special occasion dresses) then you’ll be in luck. All of these items will still be great quality and you can buy some classic styles that will see you through many seasons/years.

And finally, my last tip is don’t be afraid to ask for a further discount if you think it could be warranted. Make-up stains, minor faults or comparable prices elsewhere are all perfectly valid reasons to ask for an additional 10% off. If you are polite, confident and explain your reasons, your request will not be ill received.  Besides, the worse they can say is no, and then the ball is back in your court!

So there you have it. Happy shopping mamas, go out there and grab yourself a bargain!

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