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As Black Friday and Cyber Monday are increasingly embraced by Canadian retailers, Boxing Day is losing its spot as the biggest shopping day in the country. A new survey by the Retail Council of Canada found that most Canadians planned to do their shopping on the traditionally American days of consumerism in 2018, leaving Boxing Day as the third biggest day for shopping in Canada. But that’s still pretty big.

If December 26 is the day you plan on putting your gift cards to good use or buying what you actually wanted for Christmas this year (maybe your subtle hints were too subtle), it’s important to prepare in order to get the most out of Boxing Day shopping. Because when you fail to prepare, you pay full price.

USE COUPON FINDERS

Finding coupons and codes for your Boxing Day deals doesn’t mean physically scouring through flyers anymore (bye-bye inky fingers). If you subscribe to mailing lists for your favourite stores, you’re already getting coupons. But to make sure you’re saving as much as possible, apps like the Honey Chrome Extension allow you to create an account and easily search stores and products to find coupon codes for your purchases. If you’re more interested in general deals, sites like Red Flag Deals let you browse hundreds of flyers online.

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SHOP IRL TO SAVE MONEY

Shopping online is a great way to avoid the crowds and easily compare items on Boxing Day, but it can also lead to overspending. Holding the item you just bought in your hand is a tangible way to gauge how much you’ve spent and when it’s time to head home. Also, be wary of one-click buying. This can also lead to overspending.

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PRIORITIZE YOUR LIST

Make a list of the items you’re looking for and start with the most important, regardless of which store you parked closest to upon arrival. Things sell out fast on Boxing Day and you don’t want to be left without the main product you battled your way through the parking lot to get.

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MAKE TIME

One of the easiest ways to overspend is to shop in a hurry. Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, giving yourself enough time to make decisions will help you avoid making unnecessary purchases.

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DO YOUR RESEARCH

Boxing Day is not the time to go store to store to compare prices. Before hitting the mall, research the products you’re looking for online to see who’s carrying them and at what price point. Many large retailers, like Best Buy, have already released their Boxing Day flyer. Some deals may only be available in store and could still require leg work, while others are starting early and could be available a few days before December 26.

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DRESS TO SHOP

Boxing Day should really be called Long Line Day. If clothes are on your list of must-haves, wear something thin that you can try shirts on top of without using a changeroom. If you’re looking for shoes, wear the socks you’ll normally wear with that style of footwear. And if possible, leave your heavy winter coat at home. The goal is to dress for speed.

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PICK YOUR TRIBE CAREFULLY

My husband likes to have long, leisurely lunches in the food court, stop for a coffee, and slowly wander through stores when shopping. He gets left at home on Boxing Day. December 26 is not a day for casually flipping through racks. If you’re someone who likes to get a second opinion or divide and conquer, pick your Boxing Day tribe carefully. Otherwise, going solo is the best way to get everything on your list. As for kids, no. If you can find childcare, the mall is no place for children on Boxing Day.

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EAT BEFORE YOU SHOP

On that note, eat before you get to the mall. The food court is always packed, with long lines and the never-ending search for a free table cutting into your shopping time. Plus, no one makes good decisions when they’re hangry. If you do eat at the mall, take a break to eat after shopping for 90 minutes. Most people zone out after an hour and a half and begin making unnecessary purchases, according to Forbes. Take a break, grab a giant pretzel, and then decide whether you need to make one more lap around the mall.

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