Savvy shoppers anticipate Boxing Day deals in Canada all year long but prepping for the big day doesn’t need to be a full-time job. With a bit of planning and organization, you can avoid the stresses and pitfalls of the season while availing yourself of some of the Boxing Day best deals of the year. Read on for our top tips on how to plan for Boxing day shopping and cash in on this year’s Boxing Day sales in Canada.
1. Make a Budget
I know, I can almost hear you groaning; but a budget is necessary for making solid financial decisions. Even if you’re not strapped for cash, establishing exactly what you can afford to spend before you hit the sales is a smart move because retailers invest a massive amount of moolah into convincing you to buy stuff. Armed with a realistic budget that you can consult, you’ll be that much further ahead when weighing whether to take the plunge on a purchase.
If budgeting doesn’t come easy (and let’s be real: why would it?), consider getting some help. We’re big fans of You Need A Budget, an app to develop good spending habits—even long after the Boxing Day sales are over. According to YNAB, new budgeters save on average $600 by month two and more than $6,000 their first year. You can also try YNAB free for a month. Just download the app onto your iPhone, Android, iPad, and Apple Watch – making it easy to track your spending during Boxing Day sales.
2. Plan Ahead to Reap Rewards
Taking time to plan how to best maximize your rewards programs may well be the most valuable tip on this list. With just a bit of forethought, you can prepare yourself for the best discounts and really beef up your cash back or rewards (more on that below).
Start by looking at the credit card products you carry—and the ones you don’t. There might be a very rewarding opportunity there for you with a few clicks of the mouse. For instance, the no-fee Tangerine World Mastercard® offers 2% cash back on purchases in up to three spending categories. So if you plan to drop some serious cash on furniture, for example, make sure you’ve got that category selected prior to Boxing Day.
3. Start Shopping Online
Before the actual Boxing Day sales begin, you should be prepared with your budget and a list of the items you actually need. The best way to build this list is by doing your research online at least a week in advance. Get a sense of your wish list items’ regular prices, compare features, and decide on your top priorities. Next, sign up for the newsletters and social media accounts of your favourite brands. This is where you’ll get advance (and possibly exclusive!) access to deep discounts and preferential pricing.
Pro-tip: if you plan to make online purchases overseas, make sure you have a no foreign transaction fee credit card in your wallet. Most Canadian credit card companies will ding you a 2.5% to 3% fee for purchases made outside the country. So these cards could save you a bundle on cross-border purchases. Alternatively, KOHO Premium comes with the benefit of no foreign transaction fees and earning 2% cash back on all purchases.
4. Use a Rewards or Cash Back Credit Card
If you plan to spend some money on Boxing Day sales, why not make those purchases work for you? There are two main types of rewards—cash back and points—and your goal will determine which is the best option for you. If you’re looking to spend cut your spending to the barebones, a cashback card might be the way to go. Otherwise, if you’re hoping to earn on merchandise including gift cards or travel rewards, there are excellent products to get your there faster—and many of these cards offer very healthy sign-up offers for new cardholders. If you’re an avid Aeroplan collector, you may want to sign up for one of the best Aeroplan credit cards and take advantage of the hefty welcome offers (which can be used for merchandise, gift cards, and other non-travel purchases).
5. Get Paid to Shop
Once you’ve got your cash back or reward credit card in your pocket you’re set, right? Wrong! Make sure your phone has Ampli – an app that allows you to earn cash back simply by shopping at participating retailers. It’s easy: download the app (Android and iOS versions are available), link your debit and credit cards, and spend away! You’ll automatically earn a percentage back when you make an eligible purchase at select retailers (think: Rexall, Hudson’s Bay, HelloFresh, Well.ca, Fairmont Hotels, DoorDash, and more). Best of all, you can “double-dip” — meaning you can rewards and points from other loyalty programs that you already participate in. A couple of minutes spent signing up can have a big payoff. Promo: Use code AMPLI5 and get a $5 welcome bonus when you join Ampli.
6. Search for Boxing Day Coupons, Codes, and Promotions
Boxing Day flyers and newsletters are helpful, but this is no time to rest on your laurels and rely on brands to do the heavy lifting. You may have to do some digging to find the best Boxing Day deals in Canada, starting online. Use your search engine to find coupons, codes, and promotions—or have your browser do it for you. The Honey Extension for the Chrome browser automatically scans items in your online shopping cart and applies existing coupon codes to your purchase. Some brands offer exclusive mobile-only discounts, so take a trip to their sites (and don’t forget social!) using your phone.
8. In-Store Shopping Hacks
The internet has changed a lot of things, especially how Canadians shop. If you end up “kicking it old school” and shopping at in-store during Boxing Day sales, there are a few things you can do to keep your cool:
- Map out your route in advance. With all the line ups, crowds, and traffic, shopping on Boxing Day can feel as exhausting as training for the Olympics. Using technology to your advantage and planning out your shopping day will help you get ahead of the game. For instance, some major shopping centres offer virtual parking support and online mall maps that you can access on your phone.
- Look for mall premium services. Some major malls offer special services to enhance your shopping experience – often free of cost! For instance, some shopping centres offer parking valets or allow you to reserve your parking space in advance. Guest services may even make a restaurant reservation for you or hold your bags while you shop. All you can do is ask!
- Revisit your prioritized wish list. Add in as much detail including brand names, specifications, or (crucially, in the case of clothing purchases) colour and size. The less time you spend in line for the fitting room, the better.
- Look after yourself! Do a little self-care before, during, and after. Boxing Day sales in Canada can rattle even the most dedicated shopper, so make sure you leave the house with a full belly, have water and snacks on hand while you shop, and plan for a relaxed evening when you get home. A hot bath, refreshing drink, or your favourite Netflix series can be a welcome respite from an intense day.
Boxing Day sales in Canada offer a once-in-a-year opportunity to save big on everything from new clothes to your next vacation to the latest electronics. With a bit of planning, and the help of a few well-chosen credit cards, apps, and websites, you can not only enjoy deep discounts but also actually earn on your purchases. You’ll be thankful for your organization and effort when your cash rebate or bundle of points roll in. Happy shopping!