With Christmas only 29 days away, we have all gotten in full shopping mode! There are several people to buy for and deals to be found, but are you really saving money? Don’t get trapped buy flashy deals this year. Follow these great tips and you will be happy with your purchase and how much you paid for it.
- Research your product pricing: Many stores sell name brands inside their store. For example, Walmart now sells Apple products. A big box store may say they have your item on sale, but their big box pricing may be higher than buying direct. Always check home sites for original pricing before falling for big box sale prices.
- Use your coupons! Do not be ashamed to use your coupons. Make sure that the coupon still helps reducing overall pricing after big box mark-ups. Most of the time they will reduce your overall cost by about $5. Percent off coupons are your greatest deal. Make a list and try to get all items from one store while using your highest “percent off” coupon for your greatest savings.
- Shipping Fees are for the bees: Always calculate the cost of shipping fees into the total cost of your item. It may be worth it to find it locally. Also look for the “ship to store” options where you can order online then pick up your item at your local store location. If you do have to have it shipped, remember that free shipping can be more valuable than a percent off coupon. 20% off $10 is only $2, but free shipping is worth $4-6 dollars!
- Is Groupon really saving you money? Good question. Yes and No. If you really are in the market to buy an item that happens to pop up then follow step one and it may save you a lot of money. We have found many items that claim to be on sale that are not. This often happens with the “goods” and hotel rates. Just be sure to check the original site for regular rates and any stipulations. Items such as $10 for $20 worth of product are truly a savings but remember to count additional spending into the equation. Often times you spend more money than the $20 and some of your funds may not be able to be applies to tax, tip, alcohol etc. And remember to use your Groupon. If it sits in your drawer (or email) and never gets used, you aren’t really saving money you’re loosing it.
- Return if needed! Did you buy something on Black Friday that was such a great deal you couldn’t pass it up and now you are wondering who you are going to give it to? RETURN IT! Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean you need it. Ask a friend if its something they had on their shopping list so you can sell it to them for the same great deal you got. If not, send it back. It’s great to gift give, but it truly is the thought that counts. Getting a $5 mixer or $10 DVD player that isn’t needed is nice but your friend or family member wont use it. They will try to return it and be frustrated when they only get $5 store credit.
- Don’t over shop. Make a list and try to stick to it. It’s ok to revise your list, but try to have a structure that you are sticking to. Make a list of whom you need to buy for and an idea of what you’d like to get them. If you keep grabbing things off the shelves you will be surprised on how much you go over budget or wind up buying several gifts for one child but not the other. Then you are buying random items for the other child/ren to make things even. It’s a vicious cycle. Stay away from it!
- Watch for the switch and bait: This goes without saying, but we want to make sure you don’t become a victim of these schemes. One that we see often is FREE, just pay shipping and handling. These can truly be great deals. Just make sure the shipping rates aren’t jacked up over the cost of the original item. For example our nursing covers cost about $6 to ship (in the US). This can vary depending on weight and the service we use. If your 1 pound item is free but costs $16.99 to ship just make sure the actual cost of the item wasn’t more than $16.99. Also watch for the “buy 1, get 1” situations. We recently saw an offer for “buy 1 mitten get 2 free”. What a great deal right? Wrong. The first pair of mittens was $3.99. These are $.99 mittens. Three of them should only cost $2.97. Be careful of these traps.
We hope this helps make your holiday shopping fun and affordable!
Brought to you by bizzy babee