Sofa so good: Is Christmas couch buying really a good idea?
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It’s that time of year when, between the onslaught of toy adverts, we are bombarded with furniture commercials insisting we need a new couch before Christmas. But do we really?
Obviously the requirement for a fresher better settee can crop up at any time, but it’s not usually a priority near the festive period, when there are many other things to splash the cash on.
And it’s unlikely that one day the sofa is fine and the next it desperately needs replacing – it’s a slow demise that we can plan for.
Throws, professional cleaning and sprucing it up with seasonal cushions can buy your existing couch more time, until finances recover from ‘the most wonderful (expensive?) time of the year’. And many lounge-lovers would argue an older sofa is comfier.
So when we see these tempting television ads, are we able to ignore their message and be laid back about the slightly worn sofa we possess? Or do we feel bamboozled into investing in brand new purchases because the mother-in-law can’t possibly sit on that old thing and we must get another because it’s Christmas?
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There’s even one furniture company that notoriously shouts at viewers, via the loud intense voiceover man and his demand to get down to a certain sofa store pronto.
Well, after a little research into sofa sales trends, we can reveal this is one of the worst times you can buy. Which is precisely why advertising goes all out to sell us a new one!
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Sales drop in the time before Christmas, as money goes on gifts and people are preoccupied with celebration plans and immediate expenses, rather than upgrading furniture, which can wait. It’s also busy, tiring and chilly, meaning consumers are likelier to stay in and sit on their sofa in any spare moments, than go trawling shops for a new one.
Sure, you might have more visitors than usual and the ideal fireside Christmas image is aided by a beautifully kitted out lounge with sensational places to snuggle.
But does it feel as cheerful when you could get the same piece for hundreds less, if you wait until your mince pies have fully digested? Perhaps not.
Another factor is with all the seasonal shenanigans, you are more likely to ruin a sofa. Relatives who’ve overdone it on the sherry, party guests who decide to cancel the taxi and bunk down for the night and children and pets overindulging in treats, could all quite easily lead to seasonal sofa mishaps.
The very best time to purchase – according to those in the sofa buying know – is in July, when sofa savings peak due to seasonal slumps in furniture buying. There can be great deals all year round but still try to buy in July for the best offers, as that’s when attractive discounts are introduced to stop retailers struggling.
January is the second best period for maximising your money on a sofa purchase – because furniture stores do have genuine bargains post-Christmas. The winter weather is often dreadful, which can make getting your sofa home trickier, if snow or ice delays or prevents deliveries, or if you have to get it out of the shop and in to your lounge yourself.
But if you really can’t wait until after Santa has been, sofa sales gurus recommend checking out your local furniture shop because they could have good price reductions, as local stores don’t always follow market trends. They sometimes knock down items to boost sales numbers for that month.
How to haggle
According to moneysavingexpert.com, you can often negotiate discounts simply by asking in the right way.
The website carried out research in May, and found that 60 per cent of hagglers polled had success with retail giants, such as John Lewis, Homebase and Tesco.
And 97 per cent of hagglers in independent shops reported positive results too.
Bargain specialist Martin Lewis suggests:
- Ask nicely – being aggressive is unlikely to work.
- Haggle on furniture items but especially those that are already discounted, as there will be more price flexibility.
- Suggest taking a display item for less.
- Pick the right person – an assistant manager or supervisor is better than a sales assistant and more likely to agree than the top manager.
- When you have asked, stay silent. Don’t be tempted to fill the awkward space by agreeing. Wait.