Let's face it, sale shopping isn't quite what it used to be. No more Boxing Day bonanzas or camping-style queues; sales and discount days are virtually a permanent fixture in high street windows these days.

But there's something about shopping after Christmas that brings out the sales fiend in all of us.

Gone are the guilt trips about finding the perfect gift for other people, the January sales are all about me, me, me!

So rejoice in bargain fashion and beauty buys throughout January. Those designer heels you've had your eye on since the start of the season might now be in your bank balance reach and the hefty price of your signature fragrance could be slashed in half.

But with shop after shop full of stylish temptations it's all too easy to get carried away by the red sale signs and 50% off labels, so think before you fritter away all your Santa Claus kitty.

Our savvy experts are on hand to turn you from shopoholic rebel-without-a-cause to professional sales hunter.

Sales soldier

If you usually arrive home from the big sales with exhaustion, crippled feet and hanger-grabbing injuries, stop.

See sale shopping as more of a gentle marathon than a sprint. Put in the pre-run training (most-wanted lists) and schedules (specific shops to target) before you head off on your all-important sales race.

"Know what you want before you step out," advises Michelle Dewberry, Apprentice winner and founder of Chiconomise.com. "Buying stuff just because it's reduced isn't always the best deal.

"Do your research online first. You can use websites like Chiconomise.com and ShopStyle.co.uk to get even further discounts and you may be able to avoid the high street crowds altogether."

And once you've bagged one bargain of the season, don't get carried away with the credit card to keep hitting that elusive sales high.

Michelle advises: "Why not arrange to see a friend afterwards? If you know you have to finish shopping by a certain time, the temptation to get carried away is severely reduced."

Fashion finder

All that Christmas sparkle lining the sale rails suddenly seems so passe, so what should you hunt for if you're seeking reduced wardrobe additions?

Keep your eyes peeled for investment finds and MBDs (must-buy-or-die) clothes and accessories. Fashion Stylist, Lisa Maynard-Atem of Stylisa gives the low-down on spotting a true style bargain:

- Ask yourself the question: Do I really need it? How many times have you bought something on impulse, worn it once and then never worn it again, or never worn it at all?

- Think about the versatility of the item. Picture three things in your existing wardrobe that your potential new purchase would go with. If you can't, then don't splash out.

- Only buy clothes that fit your shape correctly. If you're between sizes, buy the next size up. Buying clothes with the intention of dieting into them is a big mistake.

- Try not to be a fashion victim. Just because polka dots are the latest thing doesn't mean they are going to suit everyone. The trick is to take inspiration from the latest trends for what is best suited to you and your wardrobe.

- There are rare occasions when you come across the perfect pair of trousers or a dream fitting t-shirt. If this is the case, and you can afford it, buy these items in multiples, in a variety of colours. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Beauty blagger

Don't forget about the beauty aisles when you're trawling the department stores. You can bag dramatically reduced Christmas gifts and beauty box sets that are often cheaper than buying just one of the individual products featured.

Kelly Cornwell of Premier Beauty Workshop (www.premierbeautyworkshop.com) has these sale-busting beauty tips:

- Do your research first and find out what the best buys are for each product. Stores may offer different offers or sale prices on your favourite or regular cosmetics, skincare or perfume that you can stock up on.

- It's always good to go somewhere that has different beauty brands and ranges on offer, rather than just one, as you will get a less biased opinion from the sales advisors.

- Don't spend all your Christmas money on just one product. There are so many amazing affordable brands out there so shop around first.

- Bear in mind just because a product is reduced doesn't mean it will suit you. There is nothing worse than excess products cluttering up your make-up bag.

- Beware of the fragrance hall: always remember to test drive scents on the counters first, especially if they're wrapped up in box sets.