No Stress Christmas Shopping Keeping The Spirit Alive

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, historically the busiest retail shopping day(s) of the year) are over. Were you one of the ones who braved the masses looking for bargains?If so, you’re braver than me, my day was spent relaxing, writing articles, walking my dog and enjoying the beauty of the crisp air. Most of my shopping is already done and I plan on enjoying the spirit of the season, to me that is much more important than material gifts.With that thought, and no matter how you spent your day, take a moment with me and relax, take a deep breath, hold it for a moment, then slowly let it flow out completely. As it does, imagine the cares and troubles of the day disappearing. Do that for a minute or two every day and your stress will be greatly reduced. Now, onto some shopping tips for the holidays.My belief is shopping as early as possible, and no, I don’t mean 5am the day after Thanksgiving, I mean before (or at a different time) than the multitudes invade the malls. A few weeks ago I made a list of gifts for this season, they weren’t extravagant, however they were nice and I expect they’ll be appreciated. Armed with this list I went to the mall on an evening I felt most of the public would be at home. This allowed me to shop without pushing and shoving, to easily find parking and also spy a number of bargains before they were sold out for the season.NOTE: Your Christmas list is an important ingredient, not only will it keep your budget in line, it will save you wandering the store waiting for gift inspiration to visit.While some days are a diamond, others a stone, I always try to be polite. By doing so, not only am I participating in the Christmas spirit, I’m also communicating the fact I’m friendly, in turn I attract friendly people. Take a moment, wherever you are, whomever you’re with to say thank you and smile. It will be appreciated and bring a touch of warmth to your soul.Manage your debt. While this isn’t an article about credit cards, PLEASE use your plastic with care, otherwise January will bring a level of stress that will take the magic out of the memories.Personally I DO NOT use credit cards for my purchases. I try (sometimes better than others) to live debt free, it allows me not to have the stress of bill collectors calling and making the credit card companies wealthy. When I find something I simply MUST have, but can’t afford it, instead of plastic, I place it on layaway. Since I shop early, this gives me ample time to pay as my budget allows.The Internet is no longer in its infancy, and while there are still problems in cyberspace, consider doing at least some of your shopping online. With the click of a mouse you can compare prices, browse photos, read reviews and order with convenience. How do I avoid using credit cards here? I use my bank card, other times a cash card, and often Paypal. A good friend of mine works for one of the major televised shopping networks; while sometimes they contain a good measure of hype, other times you can find a real bargain. Take a look, but don’t make impulsive purchases.TIP: Staying within your budget, buy a few extra gifts, such as chocolate or scented candles (not fruitcake again!) for unexpected guests or friends who stop by.Use the catalogs, most (if not all) of the greatest companies on the planet have dynamic websites where you can order from their catalog. But do it early, even the largest companies will experience the Christmas rush. Consider paying a bit extra for gift wrapping which will save you time on this end.Don’t forget teachers, doctors, office mates, the mailman, etc. While it’s not expected, it is VERY much appreciated when you remember them with a small keepsake. Years ago my mother and father made a practice of giving simple gifts to the waitresses at their local restaurant. Believe me; they received excellent service all year long.Christmas is a time for giving, but that doesn’t necessarily mean just your money, give of your time, your heart and your spirit. By doing so, not only will you avoid the stress of the bill collector, you’ll be building memories to last a lifetime.

The Truth Behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday

From “Freaky Friday” to “Manic Monday” (otherwise known as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”), we are inundated with reports that tell us how incredibly important those days are for the recovery of our economy. This last month of the year could make up for a year dripping with red ink.Have you caught the “fever” yet? Are you in a buying frenzy because you fear there will be a scarcity of the products you hope to purchase? Are you terrified that the greatest sale in history will evaporate before your very eyes if you don’t buy that “something” this very minute? Can you resist these “sales of the century” without a guilty conscience? After all, you might save your family a buck or two!Does your heart throb at the sound of the cash register, the click-click of the credit card machine, the whooshing sound of money diving out of the ATM?Welcome to the wacky world of Christmas shopping. Within nano seconds, Halloween items were purged from retail shelves and immediately replaced with Christmas merchandise. Retailers collectively by-passed the bland Thanksgiving (translation: non-gift giving) holiday for the lucrative (hopefully) Christmas holiday.Black Friday signifies more than the end of the useless Thanksgiving holiday, which only benefits restaurants and supermarkets, it represents the last hope for retailers to recover from a year of lackluster sales from an economy plagued by a prolonged recession and high unemployment. It is do or die time. Literally. You could almost hear the retail mantra throughout the land…”Forget that worthless Thanksgiving holiday, the real money is in Christmas.”Gifts, parties, new electronic toy launches, corporate bonuses (or not), the competition was palpable on Black Friday. The stores parlayed for the best starting times: 5:00 am, 4:00 am, 3:00 am, and the winner was -12:01 am. Why wait one minute longer than necessary?One only had to look at the recap of the news on “Black Friday” night to wonder, “What recession? What unemployment? What credit card crisis?” To paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare, “The pay’s the thing.” And so, the games began with the roar of a crowd of desperate shoppers seeking deep discounts and once-in-a-lifetime bargains. The pressure to “buy” and “buy right now” will be kept on the vulnerable consumer until the end of January, when the after-Christmas sales offer “deals too good to refuse.” Deals that will never again, in this century, ever be repeated.Can you bear the heat? Will you break open your piggy banks? “Borrow” from your kids’ college funds?The clock is ticking…do you know where your wallet is?5 things to remember before you whip out your credit or debit card:1. The sales will increase exponentially until Christmas Eve, and will escalate even further after Christmas.2. There is no scarcity of products. This is an effective marketing technique and has no basis in reality.3. Avoid the “mob mentality.” In other words, if you are standing with a crowd while you wait for the doors to your favorite store to open, you will get swept up in the buying frenzy. Remember, there will be more than one iPod on this planet for you to purchase at a great price. The mob will run over you and/or knock you out to snatch a desired item from your hands.4. Do not buy with your emotions. Prepare a list of gifts you hope to purchase.5. Do not buy something just because you think it’s a good deal. Have a budget and stick to it.

Your First Step To Stress Free Shopping This Holiday

It’s that time of year again: Time for Christmas shopping. Are you ready for the hustle and bustle of the holidays, or are you totally stressed out by the idea of shopping this year? If not, then listen up. There are certain things you can do to avoid the stress that’s associated with shopping for Christmas.First, you can shop online instead of offline. In fact, many merchants, including many of the big name merchants, are gearing up to offer a “Black Friday” online. (Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it’s when most retail merchants operate in the black, meaning they are making a profit.)Next, you can look for online shopping sites that offer discounts, special offers, clearance, and other information to help you find the bargains you’re looking for. This is how the Gift Idea Samples website will help you. This site offers features that will help you find those special offers:1. An advanced search function that allows you to quickly and easily locate the products you are looking for. No more digging around to try and find what you want; just type in your search, and it’s available at your fingertips. You can even search within results.2. Other digital shops. Can’t find what you’re looking for in the main shop? Then visit the other digital shops. This allows you to find those truly hard to find products and offers a wider variety of electronics, cameras, and software, all popular Christmas presents.3. Access to other offers not related to shopping that would still save me money. This includes money making offers. After all, these days with such a tough economy, it’s nice to know there’s are easy ways to pay cash for these offers.Now, I’m a busy person, and so I don’t have a lot of time to shop. Because of it, I would have liked to join the list for this site so that I could receive the best offers as they came in. Unfortunately, this site didn’t have a list. (Hopefully this will change in the near future.)That’s still not a reason for shopping on this site though. Convenience and finding the best deals out there is still an important issue to me. Although I live in the United States, I know many people abroad who celebrate Christmas so being able to find those special deals is important to them to. This site will help you do that.

Black Friday A Coming

The biggest shopping day of the year is just 3 days away. To self proclaimed shopaholics, like myself, this day is Christmas. The day we look forward to all year. The day where everything is on sale. Oh, Happy Day!The point is if you are planing on going out on this mad day in hopes of finding most of your Christmas gifts, there are some pointers I can give you.

Do Not Sleep In – The early bird definitely gets the worm on this day. Most people are up and out of the house before dawn. Most stores are opening up especially early. Don’t think you can sleep until 11:00 and still be able to find those Manalos for 50%. They will be gone before the 7 0’clock hour.

Have You Game Face On – You can’t be a wuss and think that you have a fighting chance amongst the bargain shoppers on this day. People will elbow, kick, pinch, anything it takes to get that last Tickle Me Elmo. Be aggressive. When you see an item you want, keep a tight hold on it.

Do Not Leave Your Basket Unattended – I have had several items disappear out of my shopping basket when I’ve turned around to get another item. It will happen, Folks. People aren’t generally nice on this day.

Have Your Lists Ready – Make out your gift list before going to the store. Most stores would have put out a sales paper in the Sunday paper. Decide what you want to get the night before and make a list. Know what you want before entering the store. There is no time when you get there to try and make up your mind. By time you do, everything will be gone.

Do Not Stop To Socialize – So, you see someone in the store that you haven’t seen since high school. I know it is great to see them and you want to brag about how great your life is now that you got the braces off and lost twenty pounds. Suffice to say, now isn’t the time to do that. You have a job to do, and things to buy. Stop quickly and get the phone number; save it for after the sales.

Avoid The Layaway Lines – If you can, try to avoid the layaway lines. You will find yourself in one the entire day and miss out all the good stuff in other stores. Plus, I’ve heard more than a few horror stories where items were missing or hard to find when time came to pickup your layaway order. If it can’t be avoided this shopping season, this is something to keep in mind for next year. Try to save a little a month just for this day.
Just follow these few tips and you day will go smoothly. Well, as smooth as can be expected. For more tips like these check out my blog The Shopping Diva. Happy Shopping!

Holiday Shopping in a Tough Economy

In today’s tight economy, more consumers than ever are looking for alternative ways to stretch their Christmas shopping dollar. The key to saving money when shopping retail is to find the deals in advance and stick to your budget. With proper planning, you won’t be tempted to pay full price for any of your gifts.The early arrival of Black Friday this year offers consumers more time for holiday budget planning. It seems that the traditional day after Thanksgiving mega-deal day, has been turned into an entire season. Some stores started as early as Halloween with their ‘Black Friday’ savings.Along with Black Friday, shoppers can also look forward to Cyber Monday online shopping deals. Many websites list stores and their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for your convenience. When ordering online, many payment screens have a space to input a coupon code for additional savings. Many times, you can quickly pop onto a coupon forum website and find a valid coupon code. I did this recently when making airline reservations and ended up with an additional 10 percent savings. These same coupon sites also have printable coupons for in-store shopping trips.An additional way to save is to consider handmade or low cost gifts. With a little creativity and planning ahead, inexpensive gifts can become classic favorites.Small gifts for babysitters, gift exchanges, neighbors, and friends at work could include the following:Ornaments. Whether you make them or purchase them, ornaments are a perfect gift. Most women love new decorations for their tree, and the person who receives this gift will think of you every year when trimming the tree.Recipe Cards. A sweet personalized gift, you can use pretty recipe cards and write five or six of your favorite recipes on them. Leave the rest blank so they can be filled out by the receiver of the gift. Fabric and craft stores generally have decorative recipe cards and matching boxes for one or two dollars each.This gift can also be presented with one or more of the recipes (such as cookies or fudge) wrapped in a tin.Calendars. Target and other stores have cute calendars and planners in their dollar bins during this time of year. They are very attractive and practicalGift Baskets. Gift baskets are a perfect way to be both creative and personal. If your friend likes golf, put together a small basket using golf balls, tees, and a few homemade club covers. If they knit, give them a new pair of needles along with a few skeins of yarn. Another inexpensive gift basket for a couple could include two coffee mugs along with some hot cocoa or decorative tea.Other Gifts that could be given to family members or close friends:Quilts or throw blankets. If you like to sew, blankets are the perfect gift, especially for young people who have recently moved out on their own.Decorative pictures or framed photos. Use your computer and decorative fonts to print out motivational or meaningful quotes, poetry, or Bible scriptures and frame them. Frame favorite photos and give them as gifts to grandparents, aunts, or uncles.Aprons, potholders, or placemats. Depending on your sewing skills, these can be quick and inexpensive presents for loved ones who love to cook.There are many more, but these should spark your imagination. Christmas shouldn’t be something that you later regret because of overspending. This holiday season, make it a memorable, meaningful and stress free time.

Holiday Shopping Tips and Ideas

Who couldn’t use some holiday gift giving and shopping advice? Try these tips for shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for mall shopping and starting a new tradition. You’ll manage your budget and have fun in the process!Understand mall shopping
• Take advantage of extended mall hours. Many stores are open from 8am to 11pm on the days leading up to Christmas.
• Peak shopping times are evenings and weekends; avoid going to the mall at those times.
• Tag team! Divvy up shopping chores with a friend.
• Leave your coat in the car to be comfortable inside the mall.Black Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. You, too, can get a piece of the shopping action.
• Read the Thanksgiving Day newspaper ads. Clip discount coupons.
• Early bird shoppers snag great deals, anywhere between 3:00am-11:00am. Plan your shopping route according to time-sensitive sales.
• Research big ticket items to understand exactly what you’re buying. A helpful website that provides professional advice on many products is
• Some stores honor competitors’ pricing so don’t leave home without the sales ads.
• Night owls can get special “web-only” internet deals as early as Thanksgiving Eve or as late as a few hours before Black Friday retailers open their doors for business.
• Many outlet mall stores open at midnight on Thanksgiving night, offering discounts to attract spenders even earlier.On Cyber Monday you’ll find terrific deals online. Before you start clicking in search of the internet deal of the year, read this advice.
• Do your homework beforehand. Go to a store where you can touch and feel the item so you’ll know exactly what you’re buying.
• Check e-tailer websites before Cyber Monday to see what deals they’re offering. Some will have a discount code. Others offer free shipping. Check online coupon sites for additional discount codes and coupons.
• Use Facebook and Twitter to click for offers from your favorite retailers.
• Shop online only from reputable stores that clearly indicate your personal and financial information is safe and secure.Consider these Shopping Tips for a Change of Pace
• Shop tax-free when possible to net instant savings of 4%-10%.
• Shop at one-of-a-kind stores offering unique merchandise.
• Shop at the supermarket or drug store on Black Friday for great deals and stocking stuffers. Drug stores have sales on items such as watches and perfume. Supermarkets offer varieties of teas, coffees, sweets, and kitchen items you can combine to make personalized gifts.
• Turn ordinary shopping into a fun, extraordinary holiday event (or maybe a new tradition). Consider these two examples:
• Check for hotels offering reasonable rates during the shopping season.
• Shop in your pajamas at Prime Outlet malls to receive additional discounts, coupons, goodie bags and chances to win prizes.Time and money is tight for so many. Whether you love the live, retail shopping experience or prefer shopping from the comfort of your armchair with your laptop at hand, these tips will ensure you get the most for your shopping dollars and time. You’ll be spreading holiday cheer in no time!

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

It was Thanksgiving evening, the turkey was almost done and I was looking at all the ‘Black Friday’ ads in my local newspaper. Not exactly what the pilgrims and Indians had in mind but there I was none the less. Best Buy’s ad caught my eye as they were having a special on a Western Digital External Hard Drive, 250 GB, for only $69.99. These things often sell for over $175 so I was impressed. I needed one to not only back up my web site,, but I could also use it for my families digital pictures and my music collection. Best Buy opened at 5 a.m. on Friday morning and I decided I would try to get there when it opened and make my move on this external hard drive.5 A.M. – What Was I Thinking??So I get there a little after 5 a.m. and what did I find but a line all the way around the Best Buy store of customers just waiting to get in. I thought this is crazy, I got out of bed in the dark for this? I contemplated getting in line for a total of 10 seconds, but my warm bed at home was so inviting that I fled the scene for some more sleep!Moral Of This Story?You may be asking what is the moral of this story? Well, it was an interesting learning experience because what I found out was that many of the people waiting to get into Best Buy were only going to turn around and sell their merchandise on ebay. I did a search on ebay right after ‘Black Friday’ and much to my surprise there were a ton of my Western Digital hard drives up for auction. And the good news is they were only selling for around $85 due to the increased supply. So essentially I could buy my hard drive for $15 more than what Best Buy was selling it for and I had to stand in line for a total of ZERO seconds. Now I do have to pay for shipping which is around $10, but it is still a lot less than the average retail price. Try this technique next year; you may be as surprised as I was.What Is ‘Cyber Monday’?Also, the Monday after Thanksgiving is now referred to as ‘Cyber Monday’ and is said to be one of the biggest online shopping days of the year as folks go back to work and use their “Free Time” to do some shopping on their computer. What I discovered was online retailers really picking up on this ‘Cyber Monday’ idea and have some amazing deals on their web site for one day only. Best, for example had some great online coupons and deals for flat screen TV’s and digital cameras. Also, I noticed that Lane had a 30% off coupon, a couple rare JCPenney coupons good for free shipping or 15% off, and there was an American Eagle Outfitters coupon good for 15% off, all of which were only available on Cyber Monday. I say next year sleep in on Thanksgiving weekend and do your shopping online in your PJ’s with a cup of coffee. Not only will you avoid the long lines and crowded parking lots but you may be amazed by the savings and coupons online retailers are handing out.© 2007, Kyle James

How Are You Going to Spend Your “Black Friday”?

For the past 50 years or so in the United States the day after Thanksgiving – which is always the fourth Thursday in November – is termed “Black Friday.” This is a traditional shopping day and is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In fact, it’s called Black Friday because many retailers go in the black that day due to all the shoppers who crowd their stores buying gifts for the end-of-the-year holidays.The day traditionally goes something like this: Newspapers stuffed with ads arrive at homes and newsstands on Thanksgiving Day, and true Black Friday shoppers take the time to peruse the slick, colorful sales inserts looking for promotional items, early bird deals that may start as early as 5:00 A.M. or earlier, and hard to find popular toys and entertainment devices.Then those savvy shoppers plan their strategy, making sure to set the alarm for the right time before they go to bed to assure an early start the next morning. That’s the only way to assure hey are first in line for in-demand items which may be the hottest toy in limited quantities or just a loss-leader price for something they are looking for or can use.Black Friday shoppers create long lines waiting for store doors to open. Hyped up on early morning caffeine or just the excitement of the season, these shoppers rush to the aisles and displays where the best advertised deals are located as soon as the doors are open, often knocking into each and sometimes resulting in falls for some of the more fragile among them. In fact, fights and tussles have been reported in years past as people grab for limited items and swarm cash registers trying to make it to the next store on the list before all of the good stuff disappears.Some people like this routine. Best girl friends team up for the shopping spree leaving husbands at home with the kids for at least this one day of the year.Laden with bags, people practically jog in and out of mall stores to their cars in overcrowded parking lots. Feet hurt and tempers flare by the end of the day. (Particularly for the people who work in retail.)On the other side of the spectrum, with our online store we don’t even have to think about alarm clocks and comfortable shoes for Black Friday or any other day. We are always available with no lines, no waiting, and a reliable array of items we’ve carefully screened from around the world before they made it into our online catalog.So, let’s compare. You can get up late on Black Friday, after sleeping well and digesting that big meal the day before, pick up the newspaper you didn’t have time to read the day before, toss the ads in the recycling bin, make a perfect cup of coffee, turn on your computer, and go shopping with us.No rush.No hassle.No driving around looking for a parking spot.No large parcels to lug to your car.No concern that you are being watched and someone might break into your car and steal your purchases while you continue shopping.Only a few minutes or an hour or so spent fulfilling your holiday gift list with silk clothing, jewelry, or craft purchases perfectly matched to the people you care about.The rest of the day is yours. It’s open. You get to describe how it goes. You get to decide how you want to spend Black Friday. In fact, staying home and shopping online could turn that day into your Green Friday because you’ll save gas as well as all of that water soaking your tired aching body and feet at the end of the day.

New Holiday Shopping Day?

“From “Black Friday to Cyber Monday”Many moms, dads, and grandparents have patiently waited the biggest shopping day of the year to find the gifts of loved ones around the world. Most shoppers wake up before 5:00 AM, drive many miles to participate in this busiest shopping day of the year. Over the years there have even been stories about people waiting in line for more than 4 hours for a long awaited game, or newly launched product.We’ve all heard about “Black Friday”, the Friday after Thanksgiving when shoppers still reeling from the effects of tryptophan wrench themselves out of bed at 6 A.M. to catch holiday shopping bargains. But what about “Cyber Monday”? This new term applies to the Monday after Thanksgiving when consumers return to work to take advantage of shopping online with fast broadband connections. Generally, 58 percent of all online shopping is done in the workplace, but 88 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers made purchases from the office.Last year’s Cyber Monday sales totaled $687 million, up from $484 million last year. So, although Black Friday’s storefront shoppers have slacked by about one million consumers since last year, Cyber Monday welcomed two million more shoppers to the Web this season.
Although rarely reported, there are many that dread Black Friday because of the heavy traffic, overdrawn bank accounts, and domestic arguments over finances.I feel obligated to tell all who want to do holiday shopping without getting dealing with traffic, and the other headaches of high impact shopping that there is an alternative.Cyber Monday takes place the first Monday following Back Friday where you can do more in much less time and the great thing about that is you never even have to leave your home.If you are a holiday shopper you can participate in both shopping days and really have the best of both worlds. I have listed below some of the advantages both “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday”. Although I am not much of a shopper I recognize the importance of balance in order to avoid the stress and negative impact that can result between Thanksgiving and New Years.December is a month that unfortunately has a bit of devastation for many American families because of the financial decisions that are made during the holiday shopping season. For example:o More people announce decision for divorce during December than any other month.o More people attempt suicide between December and end of January than other months of the yearo Family bankruptcy and financial woes are strongest during the first quarter of the yearAdvantages of Participating in Black Friday1. enhance your local economy2. have a holiday experience when shopping with loved ones3. Get a head start on holiday shopping4. Occurs shortly after Christmas club money is available5. Occurs during Thanksgiving holiday (Schools closed and usually non workday)Advantages of Participating in Cyber Monday1. You can purchase holiday gifts without ever leaving home2. You can make thousands of dollars so that there is no debt in Januarya. Because millions of consumers are on line looking for specific holiday gifts you can do the following to make sure you are getting paidi. Become an affiliate for major merchandisersii. Purchase resell rights to digital products and sell themiii. Attend trainings where you can learn make money this holiday seasonb. Have many items shipped directly to the recipient with Free shipping3. Get ongoing discounts for using the internet for your purchase4. Earn residual incomes that will pay you long after the holiday season5. Position yourself to even quadruple your 2008 holiday income while saving time and money.2006 was my first year participating in online holiday shopping, and selling and it literally changed the way my family lives are lives for ever. Remember “Cyber Monday” is responsible for $687 million in online transactions 2006. Although “Black Friday” is down in annual revenue, as you can see it’s really not down at all. Shoppers now are shopping on and offline and you can too.Now I am aware that many folks right here in Tampa are not use to using a computer for more than email, solitaire, and games, however you can definitely turn your computer into what I call an ATM, and a Shopping Mall at the same time. I am sure you agree that this is a wonderful combination.I have listed some tips for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday for you below.o Save time during the holidayso Take advantage of free wrapping offered by most departments storeso For Black Friday participants get started at approximately 5:00 AM to avoid most of the heavy rusho For “Cyber Monday” shoppers, ship gift items as early as possibleo Save Money during the holidayso Visit the site of the store in which do your shopping now and look cyber Monday promotionso Ship gifts to loved ones early to avoid sending overnighto Look early for the many free giveaways in sales papers and online for all sorts of products (batteries and many other items)o Make money during holiday shopping seasono Get to a training as soon as possible to learn how to leverage these huge consumer days (this will pay for all of your shopping)o Look up places online where you can lean how to get the most out of the holiday season shoppingo Set a goal of how much you are determined to make this year to offset your spending. My first year I made over $3,800$100-$500$500-$1,000$1,000 and upo Remember the importants of both “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” so can truly leverage botho Recognize that Christmas holiday time really has nothing do with shopping in it’s true meaning. However you can have more time to focus on the true meaning if you are not caught up in using your off days for shopping.On November 3 at the Westshore hotel from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, D. Golden & Associates, Inc. will host a free training “How To Pay For Holiday Shopping”to show Tampa residents how to face participate in the “Cyber Monday” and even “Black Friday” shopping without negatively impacting your family budget and more. During this event we will be giving away gift cards and more.