Yes, it is that time of the year where Sri Lankans go all out and empty their pockets to complete their yearlong shopping lists!
In our childhood, we as Sri Lankan kids wait impatiently during the New Year holidays for ‘nakath’ time when we can exchange gifts and see what others have got for us. Children in every household are impatiently lounging over the gift bags, peeking into them to get a glimpse of what awaits.
Today though, life is not so simple. Although shopping is a great deal of fun, expenses are soaring high and restrictions to the shopping list are many. Also, as adults, we are now on the opposite end of receiving gifts – having to get other people gifts.
The good part about a holiday in Sri Lanka at this time of the year is that you get to see almost all stores go on sale for Avurudu – the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year – shopping fest. For us Sri Lankan shopaholics, we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to shop on all-out sales twice a year – Christmas and Avurudu. What’s better than having the chance to buy your favorite brand at massive discounted rates?
Whether it is the local online shopping stores, local retail brands or high end international brands, every brand goes on sale for the Avurudu season. In fact there are dedicated shopping festivals held in exhibition halls and trade centers particularly for this festive season. Just two weeks ago, SLECC concluded a 3 day shopping festival that was organized for the 2nd consecutive year. This coming weekend is the last one before Avurudu to get your shopping done. So whether you are a local or a foreigner on tour, don’t miss out on the amazing deals.
Shopping can indeed be tiresome; particularly for men – whose job is to follow women around while they contemplate if the items in the basket are good enough or whether they should try out some more. Well, before you set out to shop, keep in mind 3 important tips so that you make sure you’ve visited all the ‘most wanted’ stores on your list and you do not come back home regretting what you did and did not buy.
Set out a budget
Decide how much money you have to treat yourself to a shopping spree. Do your expense calculations and set a figure aside. Make sure you stick to that amount because if not, you might end up having to borrow or not having enough to spend on something else.
Do your research
As mentioned before, literally every store has got a deal. If you have a few brands in mind, look up their websites and see what they have on offer. You could also go through credit card websites to see which stores offer discounts for the cards you own. Apart from that, websites like promo.lk have a compiled list of promotions offered island wide. Plenty of information is available online. Just take some time and do your research and narrow down the stores that you want to visit.
Bargain with yourself
All stores that offer promotions have fixed prices and you cannot bargain with them for further discounts; unless you decide to shop at the Pettah market (Fort). Pettah is the trading hub of Colombo and all of Sri Lanka you can say. Most of the wholesale trade and island wide distribution originates from here. In this busy maze, retail stores for all items – ranging from textiles to stationery to toys to plastics to groceries, everything is available and bargaining is possible.
But apart from Pettah, bargaining with other retails vendors is just not possible. Hence you have to learn to bargain with yourself. Ask yourself if the items in your basket are very essential, are they worth the price, will you use it often, does it seem durable, will it look good on you or in your house, and do you really need it?
Budgeting, researching and bargaining are 3 simple steps to make your shopping experience, better and more worthwhile.
So while you are in Sri Lanka this April, experience Avurudu as Christmas season and fill up your shopping lists, or simply prepare in advance for Christmas 2018!