P255 CEEFAX 255 Wed 30 Dec 21:20/01 The January sales - which tend to start in December - are with us once again. Much of the hype that goes with the coming of the sales compares only with the coming of Christmas and, for some, the sales are much more important. Some people actually spend Christmas camping outside big department stores hoping to snap up a fur coat or Turkish rug at a fraction of the orginal cost. There is even a "record holder" for queuing - in 1985 Kevin Melish waited 18 days for the start of a sale. 1/1P255 CEEFAX 255 Wed 30 Dec 21:33/00 There is no doubt there are bargains to be found at the sales but it is far too easy to get caught up in the carnival- like atmosphere of it all and land up buying a load of rubbish. A good way of avoiding this is to decide what you want to buy before you set out, head straight for the store that sells it and then - go home. Do not get side-tracked on the way by what all the other stores have to offer and if you decide that you do not want anything - then stay at home. 2/5P255 CEEFAX 255 Wed 30 Dec 21:31/03 If you are buying clothes in the sales there are few rules you should observe to ensure that your bargains really are just that. Go for classic styles and quality fabrics - plastic mini skirts may be all the rage this year but we could all be in ankle-length rugs next year. A mini-skirt made of wool may last until its next revival, but what do you do with it for the decades in between? A straight, wool skirt however, could be passed down to your grandchildren!P255 CEEFAX 255 Wed 30 Dec 21:30/00 Accessories are another good thing to stock up on during the sales - belts, shoes and bags - but again go for timeless styles and quality fabrics. However, this might just be the time to buy a coloured belt or bag that at any other time of the year may seem too extravagant for the wear you would get out of it. If you have always wanted a pair of red shoes but thought such a purchase impractical, a good reduction may justify a little luxury.P255 CEEFAX 255 Wed 30 Dec 21:31/01 At sale-time try not to use your credit card as if it were a bottomless pit of money - it has to be paid back. If you don't manage to pay the money back to the credit company within the interest-free time limit you may find yourself with a very costly bargain. Also be wary of pick-pockets, the sales are paradise to them - so keep purses and bags well guarded. And finally, a little practical advice - wear a comfortable pair of shoes!