Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Holiday Shopping Guide to Help You Ace the Season's Sales


It's November. I'm not sure how we got here so quickly, but it seems the weather is telling us we're moving into the holiday season. Can you believe there were flurries this weekend?

This is my favorite time of the year! I love all the festivities, but I also enjoy the shopping opportunities. I get excited to select the perfect gift for every person on my list. And, who doesn't appreciate a stellar sale? 

You might remember my article about Dillard's New Year sale last year.  Fort Thomas Matters readers must love to shop too, because that article did well. 

Well, I'm here to share tips for creating a sound shopping strategy for the holiday season, and most importantly, Thanksgiving weekend. Here's my recommended process: 
  1. Make your list. Think about everyone you would like to buy for this season. Don't forget to think beyond your family and close friends. Do you need to pick up something for your child's teacher/coach/instructor, neighbors, your mailman, a local charity? I also suggest you reflect on any wish list or must-have items for yourself or family. Do you need a need a new pair of boots or coat for the winter season? Add these items to your list too. Chances are you'll be able to find these items at an unbeatable price. 
  2. Set an overall budget. Decide how much you want to spend. Then break down the total cost into individual allotments. How much are you going to spend per person? Writing this down on your list will create permanence and help you stick to your plan so you don't overspend. 
  3. Do your research. Preview Thanksgiving weekend ads online, so you know what prices will be offered and can plan accordingly. You can do so here. I would also call your favorite local boutiques and shops to find out what incentives they will be offering. Most will participate in American Express's Small Business Saturday on November 29. Lastly, if you shop Etsy, check the "announcement" section of your favorite shops. Etsy shops will often offer BOGO incentives for percentages off during the holiday season.
  4. Decide what you will buy in stores and online. With different holiday incentives, you'll have to do your research. Will you need to hit the stores in person or should you wait until Cyber Monday to score the best deal? Research your desired item and then make a decision based on what you think is your best bet. 
Bonus Tips:
  • When stepping out to shop on Thanksgiving weekend, take the newspaper ads with you (just in case you need to tap into extra coupons), wear comfy shoes, dress in layers and pack snacks and water. Make sure you're fully equipped to rock the sales.
  • When shopping online, google the store name + "coupon code." There will always be some type of extra incentive out there in cyberspace. Maybe it's an extra 15% off or free shipping. 
  • Hobby Lobby has the best wrapping paper. Hands down. It comes in gorgeous prints, is thick and runs about $4 a roll (when it's 50% off). If you're looking to up your wrapping stash, I wouldn't think about going anywhere else for this. 

Check back on November 16. I'll be sharing a feature on Small Business Saturday, so you know the best deals around town. 


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