Warning: Don’t buy into pre-programmed sales.

If you’re bargain hunting in the days after Xmas we have an important tip for you: be wary.  This is the time of year we’re most proud of our shopping prowess and the one thing we never do is buy merchandise that was bought to be put on sale.

From the book Bitches on a Budget:

There’s a difference between seasonal clearance and goods bought to be sold on promotion. When the latter happens, a big slug of goods are bought, marked too high, put on the floor to establish a ‘regular’ price (usually for 4-6 weeks, but this depends on laws state to state). Later they’re marked down to trick all you budget-minded b*tches into thinking you’re getting a bargain.

Be suspicious. If there’s a whole lot of one item on the floor, marked at, say, 20% off regular price, chances are it was jacked up and you’re not getting a bargain.  Be wary of circulars and catalogs ‘promoting’ items—think about it, you’re a smart b, they bought and planned to promote these goods at ‘sale’ prices months in advance.

Just say no.

That said, this is our favorite time of year for finding great bargains and filling up on fabulous, keeper items that are normally out of our price reach. We just scored on items we’ve been  lusting over all season at our favorite luxury goods retailer (think purple dinosaur) that were marked down by more than 60%. A fabulous little black sweater completely covered in nickel nail heads and a pair of hand crafted brown leather boots at truly ridiculous prices.

We originally published a version of this story in the Huffington Post.