Boxing Day is coming up fast, and for savvy Canadian shoppers, it’s an opportunity to give their credit cards a workout by taking advantage of all the fantastic deals on offer.
But, as any seasoned Boxing Day veteran will tell you, it’s important to go in prepared. Want to make the most of the biggest shopping day of the year? Read our tips below to make sure you’ll get the most out of your money.
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Get a rewards credit card
If you’re going to be doing some serious spending on Boxing Day, the best tool you can have at your fingertips is a good rewards credit card. Getting a deal on Boxing Day is great, but why not make those purchases continue to work to your advantage?
Rewards cards come in two variations: cash back and points. If your goal is simply to save money, a cash back card would be the perfect choice. Cash back cards reward users by returning them a percentage of their purchases every month - the more you spend, the more you’ll get. Depending on the card you carry, you can use your cash back to pay off an existing balance on your card, bolster your savings account, or get discounts on future purchases.
For those more interested in earning travel rewards or free merchandise, a points-based rewards card is a great option. Frequent travellers especially love these cards, as they can often earn points towards travel expenses like airfare and accommodation when they make purchases. There are also co-branded rewards cards that partner with loyalty programs such as Air Miles and Marriott Bonvoy which can net you even greater returns.
Do online research
An essential part of having a successful Boxing Day is going in prepared - and that means knowing what you want and where to get it.
Make a list of the items you’re most interested in, then go online a week or so ahead of time and look at who is offering the best deals. Bookmark pages, make notes, whatever works for you. The objective here is to make sure you’re not still indecisive on Boxing Day and can act fast, because supply can dwindle quickly.
A great strategy to go along with this is to begin following your favourite stores on social media and subscribing to their newsletters. This way, you’ll get reminders about their Boxing Day sales which can save you a bit of online detective work.
Avoid foreign transaction fees
If you’re trying to take advantage of Boxing Day deals stateside or elsewhere, having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees is absolutely essential. Canadian credit card providers typically charge a fee of 2.5% to 3% for purchases made abroad, and if you’re spending big, they can add up. Save yourself a bit of money (and a headache) by using a card that allows you to avoid those pesky extra costs.
Know your budget
Lastly, know your budget ahead of time and stick to it. With all the deals and discounts happening on Boxing Day, it can be easy to begin making reckless purchases that can come back to haunt you when your credit card statement arrives. Having a solid idea of what you can spend will help you make tough decisions and prioritize what you actually need versus what would be nice to have.
Tips for shopping in-store
For the extra brave, the classic in-store shopping experience is also an option. Read below for our best advice on how to make it out the doors with everything you wanted (and your sanity intact).
Get there early
Plenty of in-store Boxing Day shoppers arrive before doors open, and if you want to have the best chance of scoring that prized item on your list, you may want to think about doing the same. Waiting outside in the cold is never fun, but if you dress warmly and bring something to entertain you (even if it’s just a podcast or some music on your headphones), you’ll have a better chance of toughing it out. Plus, the earlier you get your shopping done, the sooner you can be back home enjoying that new TV or laptop with an eggnog in hand.
Have a plan
Even more so that online shopping, heading out to brick-and-mortar stores on Boxing Day requires a solid plan of action. Most people are there to grab what they need and get out as quickly as possible, so know what it is you’re looking for before you step through the doors. Doing online research, as well as keeping an eye on flyers and promotional emails, can help you make decisions on where to go and what to immediately look for. Stick to your plan, don’t get distracted, and reap the rewards.
Shopping in-person on Boxing Day can be a stressful and harried experience, and while everyone has different levels of tolerance for big crowds and lots of noise, it's important to take care of yourself both before you leave and after you get home. Before leaving, make sure you eat and drink enough water, as dealing with busy stores on an empty stomach (or while dehydrated) is no fun. Once you get back home, remember to take some time to relax before immediately immersing yourself in setting up your new purchases. You’ve just survived one of the craziest shopping days of the year, so take a beat and let your mind and body rest.
The last word
Whether you’re shopping online or in-person, Boxing Day makes big-ticket items more affordable for those on a fixed income (or those who simply love a great deal), but it’s important to take note of our tips above to make sure you get the most out of your experience. Let us know your tips and tricks for Boxing Day in the comments below, and happy bargain hunting!