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 Christmas season is upon us and many people really struggle to get through the holidays without going broke. With so many people unemployed or working part-time their Christmas budget is very small. This article will give you some tips on how to stretch your money as far as you can and work within your budget.1 – Decide how much you are going to budget for holiday shopping and still meet your monthly expenses. This will help you not to over spend.2 – Make a list of all the people you are buying for. Remember to include all the extra little gifts that you might have like teacher’s presents. If at all possible try to group people together. An example would be buying one gift for a couple rather than buying individual gifts. Write down by each name how much you can spend on that particular person and stick to it.3 – If at all possible shop ahead of time and always be on the watch for sales.4 – Have an actual shopping plan. Do your home work. Black Friday is a great day for getting great sales but if you go shopping without a plan you are likely to wander the stores and do some impulse shopping. This might cause you to go over your budget.5 – Consider drawing names instead of buying for everyone.6 – You can use the internet to compare prices.7 – If you like to cook you might could make homemade goodies and give as gifts. If you have a craft that you are good at then that might be an alternative for you as well. Many people prefer homemade gifts because they feel like there was a lot of thought and love that went into making them.8 – Watch the paper and check online for coupons. This is a great way to save money!The holiday season is a great time for being with your friends and loved ones. Hopefully these tips will help you stay within your budget so you can relax and enjoy this wonderful time of the year!
Over the last few years we have seen a continual rise in the amount of traffic concentrated on just one day of the year for online shopping. It is true to say that from about November 1st, web traffic for online retail really starts to build up but there is one day in the year which it all comes to a peak -this year that day is expected to be Monday November 29th – aka “cyber Monday” – the Monday immediately following Black Friday.Having studied traffic trends from some very large shopping comparison sites over the past 5 years the trending of traffic has been quite interesting as it has shown clearly the generally peaks and flows throughout the year – what we see as a normal pattern is a very strong January, with numbers being as high as all of December and sometime beating December but never is there one day which surpasses the cyber Monday stats.February is a big drop – usually at least 30% lower than November numbers and as much as half of December/January figures. April is poor normally then it climbs back up to stabilise for May and stays pretty much consistent for the rest of the year with a few low points during summer holidays and bank holidays. In 2010 the General Election in May had a very negative effect on traffic so 2010 has some catching up to do in general.Traffic starts a slight growth in September with October coming back strong and then, as said above, 1st November seeing the first real signs of the Christmas rush. This year will be even stronger mainly due to two reasons:1) many more retailers are pushing their online strategy and also using social media to get more users2) sites that provide sales information on home appliances and voucher codes sites are set to see a bumper increase in consumers hunting down the best deal.What a lot of consumers are starting to realise is that the main retailers do not always put the best deal on their own sites – instead preferring to get extra traffic by letting affiliate sites offer goods at just a few % less than the deals on the main site. This is especially true with voucher codes.
If you have never considered online Christmas shopping, you should really start thinking about it. In our family, we have reached the point where we order practically everything that we want or need over the internet. Here’s why we love easy Xmas shopping.Anyone that has worked in retail will tell you how much they dread Black Friday. If you don’t know, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. No one seems to enjoy it, except for some small business owners and corporate executives. Yet, it has become something of a tradition.While it should be the second day of a long weekend, filled with family joy and relaxation, it has become a day filled with long lines, honking car horns, traffic congestion and anger. People actually fight with each other in order to get, what they think, is an amazing price. Why deal with that? If you have a favorite store, they probably have a website. You can enjoy a relaxed family breakfast and log on. Take your time. Order what you like and be done by lunchtime.Instead of sore feet, you get more family time. Instead of waiting in line to be checked out by someone that does not want to be there, you get to do your online Christmas shopping the easy way , in the comfort of your own home.But, what about those special deals that are only available if you visit the store in person? Well, you might save money on a single item. But, you will likely buy other things while you are there. That is the whole point of the in-store specials. They are referred to in the retail world by various names. “Loss leaders” is a common one.While the company may be selling the item at a huge discount, even taking a loss, they know that the average consumer will buy other items while they are in the store and the store makes a big profit on those items. So, while you might pay a little more for a single item with online Christmas shopping, you will probably save money in the long run.First of all, it’s easier to be a smart shopper and do some comparative shopping. If you are like most people, you are not going to drive from one store to another, looking to save a few bucks. But, if you are sitting in front of your PC, you can easily pull up a side-by-side comparison.The few bucks saved wouldn’t be worth it when you considered the amount of gas that you use. But, if you find a better deal when you are doing your online Christmas shopping, you can grab it and know that you actually saved.
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.
Christmas shopping can be an exhausting and time consuming activity. Whether you prefer to shop online and avoid the crowds, or you like to get right in the thick of it by visiting each store – there is usually more stress involved than necessary.I suggest that you start your shopping early. If you see something that you know someone will like, pick it up! Even if it’s October, if you know that person will like it than buy it! I started buying Christmas presents last year in September and even sent a few out in October. Sometimes you can be a bit too prepared, but it gets some of the shopping out of the way super early. Especially if you are sending items abroad- never depend on the postal service! This will make your life lot less stressful when December 23rd comes around and you already have your gifts purchased, wrapped, and labeled.Online shopping is much more relaxing, you can sit on the couch in front of the television and be in the comfort of your home rather than trying to squeeze onto the tube with all of your purchases. Whacking people with your giant bags and constantly apologizing gets old very quickly. But the downside of online shopping is buying the correct size, how does the fabric feel, does it really fit that way in real life. All things to consider when shopping online. When it comes to handbags, good companies will send you swatches of leather. This way you can feel the leather and see the colour with your own eyes as sometimes the pictures on the internet just don’t look the same. Some pictures don’t do justice for the products either, when they are much nicer in person than in a photograph.Either way, don’t wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping. If you are brave you can hit the Black Friday sales. Be prepared to push and shove and maybe even elbow your way through. Stores are way too crowded the week before Christmas and sometimes online retailers will either run out of stock, or you risk the chance that the gift won’t arrive in time. Take last year for example and that crazy snow we had. Gifts were delivered late due to the weather; so don’t leave it to the last minute! The early bird catches the worm is a perfect saying for the Christmas period.
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.
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 About.com.
• 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!
It’s the crisp & beautiful month of October…we’re close to Halloween but not quite there yet. Yet still, with over a month to go, the ads for Black Friday are here! You need to look for them on the search engine of your preference but believe me, they’re there! What is Black Friday, how many people partake in this tradition & does it truly save you money?Well, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving widely believed to start the Christmas shopping season. Stores open before dawn has broken, often offering crazy 5am deals and the most in-demand products of the season. Millions of people brave the crowds and brave you truly are. Everyone has heard the stories of fights breaking out over the last fill in the blank gadget or the rush at the door to get in for….whatever the IT product is for the year. Tickle me Elmo, this doesn’t seem very festive! But the deals…oh the deals. The people who partake in Black Friday swear by the deals.If you’re super organized, you have your list for each person you buy for, you do your homework researching the Black Friday ads and you go to the stores with the best deals & buy only those items then you will likely save some cash. If you get lured in by other products, products not on your list but just “too good to pass up”, then really….you’re not saving any money. You may actually be spending more.So really, Black Friday really comes down to you. Knowing yourself, your habits, your tendencies, your level of organization etc. If you can make your list, check it twice & stick to the list….then I guess go for it! If not, play it safe. Shop when you DO have it all together. We promise, there will still be sales! After all people, we are in a recession if you haven’t heard yet. So, shop smart…and remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Maybe this will be the year where we do that!! Where we give gifts of meaning without breaking the bank!
Black Friday. Say it out loud. It certainly doesn’t sound very inviting, does it? Christmas shopping has never sounded scarier.On this day, and even the night before, armies of eager-to-please moms take to the streets in preparation for the Christmas holiday. Waiting in hordes outside of shopping malls and retail outlets, the moms of America observe Black Friday as the holiest of days. On this, the morning after Thanksgiving, the majority of stores throughout the country offer their best deals of the year.And they do not go unnoticed.As far as Christmas sales go, Black Friday is the king. Gift ideas never come easier, as stores line their aisles with featured items and discounts that would seem ridiculous on any other day. But this is Black Friday. It’s not just any other day.Truth is, most Black Friday sale items are sold out before the average customer even wakes up. Opening hours earlier than usual, and greeting the largest crowds of the year, many stores turn into battlefields on the morning after Thanksgiving. The Christmas season goes into full effect on this day. Minus the holiday cheer.While the deals are usually pretty substantial, and the rush of adrenaline that comes with fighting over a toy is hard to find elsewhere, Black Friday is one holiday I choose not to observe.Believe it or not, you have this option too.In fact, you can do your Christmas shopping any day you’d like. You can do it on a Tuesday. Or even a Sunday, for that matter. Any day you choose to shop for Christmas gifts is likely a fine choice. And while you may never find Black Friday sales on any other day, you will thank yourself for considering your options.More and more, Christmas shoppers have taken to the Internet for their gift needs. Online stores are open year-round, 24 hours a day, and there are no lines to wait in or stressed-out moms to fend off. You can also find amazing deals online, using sites like Amazon or Half.com, and a larger variety than is available in most stores. Simply put, you don’t even need to step foot in a real store to go Christmas shopping these days. Let alone on the busiest day of the year. Make your own Black Friday. You can even give it a more inviting name, if you’d like. Something that doesn’t sound like it’s the Apocalypse.