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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Shopping Strategies

Please Note: This is the first article (1 of 4) in a series about post Holiday clearance shopping.

Now that the official day of Christmas is past, another tradition for many is here…After Christmas Shopping! But like anything, one can go overboard. When my husband gets worried that I may clearance shopping a bit excessively, all he has to do is say Dog Food and quickly, I am back to reality. Why dog food? 3 years ago, I purchased about 15 cans of dog food because they were free. Fine, except we don’t have a dog. (Yes, I did donate the food to my local shelter). And unless I get/can do a good deed for FREE, I don’t anymore.

So here are some common sense guidelines while getting that Bargain Shopper’s Rush.

Bargain Shopping Huntress Rules

1. Budget a set dollar amount that is your spending total. This may sound too simple, but it never is a good idea to go shopping with money you already have spent on fixed budget items, including house & car payment or grocery food funds. Also, do not use credit cards to pay for clearance items. It never makes sense to acquire debt and pay interest on money saving items. Once you know how much to spend, you are literally free to have fun.

2. Have a list or outline of items you are interested in purchasing. If you want to replace your Christmas tree, for example, write it down or you can easily forget to buy that tree when you find Bath Sets for $1.49 each, instead.

3. Include upcoming holidays and family/friends’ birthdays on your list. My Mom’s birthday is in March, and I know that she like “”Ghirardelli” chocolates. In past years, Target has had this candy included in its Christmas clearance. So I will wait till Target's Holiday clearance is 75% or 90% off , so I am paying as little as $ .29 each for a few bags of Mom’s favorite candy.

4. Don’t promise others that you will shop for them. (This may make some upset, but I strongly believe that your time and resources are too valuable! ) Remember you are the one taking the time to hit the sales, hunt out the bargains and invest YOUR funds. Don’t lend your budgeted money for someone else., and please don’t rationalize or be guilted into doing this. (What if your friend changes her mind, too?)

5. Allot a window of time usage for clearance items. If I am not going to be using something, giving sale item as a gift or a child will not be wearing clothes within 6 months, I do NOT buy it. Of course, there is the exception of Holiday decorations.

6. Be honest with yourself. This can be the hardest, but the most important strategy to follow. I can rationalize ANYTHING. Take the dog food for example, I needed it because I told myself that we were discussing getting a new family pet. Problem? You bet! My son and I are allergic to dogs, But did I justify to myself to buy the cans of food? Sure did and I bet you can, too.

7. Be honest with others. This has potential to be the hardest rule of the all. If you cannot look your partner in the eyes after shopping or you find yourself forgetting to mention how much you spent, you have a problem. Simply follow the above guidelines and your spouse or significant other will be proud and in awe of your shopping prowess. Beats hiding receipts, bags and packages. Dishonesty is not worth any shoppers’ high. (and I’ll leave it at that)

Use the above strategies and you will save yourself (more) money and time. But more importantly, your deal hunting will be more fun, too.


Christy said...

Great tips! I can relate to the dog food-I've also learned that I should only buy something if I need it, not just because it's a good deal!


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