I know it feels like it’s really early to start thinking about the holidays, but a frugal minded individual starts thinking about the holidays as soon as the holidays are over. It takes a lot of planning to save money, particularly when everyone under the sun is shopping for the same thing you’re shopping for… Bargains. Here’s some help for this upcoming fall season. Let’s talk about the dreaded day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. (Key horror music)
Horror of horrors
You went to bed early; you set your alarm for 4:00 in the darn morning. You are going to beat everyone to that Black Friday sale if it kills you. And considering that almost 200,000,000 Americans are doing the exact same thing that you’re doing, it may well kill you. But Black Friday is as much a part of the holidays as turkeys, Christmas trees and tinsel. You’ve got your holiday flier from the newspaper and you are in search of the free, free, free stuff the stores are giving away to the first 100 people through the doors. I wish you luck with that. Nothing is free, you should know that. Well, they might give you a free gift card for something even bigger; but what’s the catch? How many of your hard earned dollars do you have to drop before you get that free stuff? I’m not saying that all the stores are guilty of this… but a good many of them are. Do plan on paying for your free stuff one way or another.
Just another manic Monday… or something
If Black Friday doesn’t sound like your best idea this year, try something that some of the frugals are calling Cyber Monday. Put the triple espresso down, go back to bed and sleep off all the Turkey you consumed yesterday instead of rising at the crack of dawn to stand in line for something that’s not exactly free any ways. Come Monday morning, the crowds will have thinned. But that won’t matter to you because you’re not leaving the house. You’re shopping right from the comfort and safety of your own laptop. Why? Because free shipping charges and lower prices abound; just ask people on face book or twitter; they can give you the lowdown on coupon codes and special offers. Visit couponloco for the latest coupon codes. If you Google Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you may even be lucky enough to find major retailers websites offering up information about all their sales. If you’re already computer savvy when it comes to saving money around the holidays, Cyber Monday is probably either old hat or completely unnecessary for you.
What happened to Saturday?
It’s right here – we’re calling it Small Business Saturday, yes it’s held the day after-the day after Thanksgiving! Originally, this was something that New York City came up with, which kind of figures if you think about it, but it’s meant to give consumers that extra little push to get them through the doors of the independent, smaller stores. Support your locals; that kind of thing. And that’s great, I’m all about supporting the local businesses; but here’s what. If you go to the little businesses during the week instead of on Stupid Saturday, or whatever it is, not only will you still probably enjoy the same benefits you would’ve enjoyed then, but now you’ll get personalized attention at a slower, calmer pace and see past the sales signs to some of the more unique items they have… Rather than having to dodge all the sales stuff piled up everywhere. And it’s always nice to support your local businesses because the money you spend there will most of the time go back into the community by paying the wages of local employees and taxes that go toward improvement of your community.
Still shopping offline?
That’s fine. If you enjoy running around to all the stores… maybe it gives you a thrill… go for it! Just don’t go for it when everybody else is going for it. The sales are well advertised and will draw crowds. If you want to avoid those crowds try shopping during the non-high traffic hours. Anywhere from 9:00 AM until 5:00PM, you’re going to run into people that are flying into the store, grabbing a quick something, and flying back out to either get back to work from lunch on time… or get home on time for dinner. And don’t even bother thinking about Saturday’s – that’s just nuts. You’re still better off buying online! If you simply have to go to the store, at least do your ordering online and have the item shipped to the store where you can pick it up on your own good time. You’re saving yourself the aggravation of shopping and a lot of stores spring for the shipping costs when you buy from them online. Guess what else you can avoid by shopping online… impulse items. God love the impulse items at checkout lines. Everything you always needed but never knew you had to have. How have you got along all this time without it?
Oh, those impulse items…
You’ve got to love those impulse items… I mean they’re so tempting. And don’t worry if you might not be paying attention and happen to miss one or two, chances are the cashier will be more than happy to call your attention to them (if she has in fact been trained well). You’ve got a budget to stick to though, so do so. I know they’re only $5.00 or $3.00 or two for $7.00… whatever. It all adds up. And if you’re thinking “stocking stuffers” when you spy these must have items at the checkout, think again. Lots of stores have crazy clearance items in bins as you walk into the store. This is where we not only find stocking stuffers but treats for Halloween as well. You can get a 10 pack of glow sticks for 99¢, packs of dinosaurs for 99¢, fake tattoos… all kinds of things that kids love… cheap, cheap, cheap. Impulse items are the frugal person’s worst enemy. Buy this now and save, buy one get one free, buy them now before they’re all gone… Please!
Stick to your budget; you’ll be glad you did.