24 December 2014

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 No comments
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Despite the advance of internet shopping over the years, the image of snaking queues outside department stores is still how we picture the sales season.

Yet, it is not just High Street retailers that are offering bargains for cash-strapped consumers. And, with the looming prospect of a hefty credit card bill arriving in January, people are trying to save money by looking for cheaper options.

So what are the best discounts to be found in the first month of the year?

Theatre tickets


Cut-price tickets are available for West End shows from the start of January to mid-February.

The Get Into London Theatre scheme, an annual promotion that has run for more than 10 years, sees discounts of between 25% and 55% on the face value of 45 productions.

"We want to make theatre as inclusive as possible. We want to see people who have not necessarily been to the theatre before," a spokesman for the scheme says.

There is no booking fee or packaging charges for these tickets. However, theatregoers may have to be flexible over which show they want to see and when. Each theatre production decides individually what proportion of tickets will be made available for the cut-price promotion.

Weddings and civil partnerships


Official statistics show there is usually about a sixth of the number of weddings in January than there are in August. With only 6,000 or so weddings in England and Wales in the first month of the year, there is room to haggle for good deals on venues, photography and cars.

Civil partnerships are a little more spread out over the year, according to quarterly data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Yet, good offers are available for these events, according to Sandy Moretta, director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

"Suppliers who only work in the wedding industry will come up with good offers in January, and they expect people to negotiate and haggle now," she says.

Although there is a specific cost to some services, such as food or a wedding dress, there are often deals available as "some work is better than no work," she adds.

Holidays


Flights from the UK are far less packed with holidaymakers and business travellers in the first week of January – a time sometimes referred to in the industry as the ‘dead zone’.

Some of the seven-day deals on offer for the start of January have included four-star self-catering in Madeira for £195 and four-star all inclusive deals in Egypt for £405.

“The end of December and start of January is traditionally the time that the travel industry launches its best deals for the summer,” according to Sean Tipton, of travel association Abta.

These can include big discounts and even free places for children.

Charity shops


Shoppers may have flocked to charity shops to pick up Christmas cards in early December, but they might not necessarily put these stores on their list of January sales destinations.

A spokesman says that specific January sales are usually limited to the bigger charity stores. In 2013, the British Heart Foundation said it had turned to opening larger furniture and electrical shops to build profits.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for MIND said that local charity shops were trying new measures in January to get themselves noticed on the High Street.

Housing


Estates agents say January is the time when a whole pool of new properties are put up for sale.

“Seller behaviour means that the free time over Christmas is when many families come to a final decision about whether to put their home on the market,” according to Jan Hytch, president of the National Association of Estate Agents.

In contrast, very few properties are marketed in November and December, which means very few sales are completed in January. 

The transaction figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show that sales in January and February are around two-thirds of the levels seen in the summer.


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