Well, the holidays are upon us... I would like to say they crept up on us, but really they came crashing down on us like a giant snowball! This week I would like to offer some tips and reminders for making this a great holiday season, and how to get some wonderful bargains in the meantime!
Be SMART, faithful readers! Think about this reasonably! For instance, there is a new gaming system called the "Wii U" out there. Some Craigslisters are trying to get DOUBLE or more out of these systems touting that they are "out of stock everywhere". I did a quick search online, only to find that several stores in Tiny Town itself, and many more in the surrounding areas still have plenty of these systems in stock! On top of that, online retailers such as Amazon.com had literally hundreds of them in stock!
Do some research! I am planning on buying a gift for an out of town friend from a retailer we don't have here in Tiny Town. I was going to call my sister and have her buy the item (about $15) then ship it directly to my friend. A quick search on eBay.com shows that I can get the item for $5 less, and have it shipped for $5, making it the same price as in the store... basically with free shipping! Most sellers on eBay are pretty good about shipping to a different address as is on your account, especially during the holidays. All you have to do is ask!
Comparison shop! Just because one place has that "must have" item, doesn't mean it is the only place that has it! Look around! If you do happen to make an impulse buy, ask what the return policy is! Some big box stores will accept returns but charge you a 15% "restocking fee". If this is the case, think twice.
Above all else, save the receipt! That way if you find it somewhere else for cheaper, you can always return it. Before you do that, though, ask the place you bought the item from if they price match. This could get you the bargain you want without all the running around.
Think ahead! While the idea of Black Friday and Cyber Monday may seem like a good idea to some, I like to personalise my gifts so that the receiver will look at it in the future and know exactly who and where it came from. There is something impersonal to me about a gift card (there are some exceptions... such as grocery and gas cards, or local services cards such as tattoo certificates or massage therapy gift cards! #ModelCitizenTattoo #ArticulateBody).
I have been known to buy gifts ahead of time (sometimes months or more) and hold on to them until you have an occasion to give them. There is a caveat here: Make sure you put them in one place! A place you will remember, so months down the road you aren't wandering around scratching your head thinking, "Where DID I put that gift for Joey??".
Also in the thinking ahead category, I would like to make a personal suggestion: Please PLEASE think long and hard before buying your child a gift such as a puppy or kitten. Pets are a HUGE lifelong responsibility! I see many people online who are offering up puppies or kittens "just in time for Christmas".
This breaks my heart because I know that in the spring I am going to be seeing a bunch of ads trying to get rid of these poor animals because it was "too much responsibility for our three year old...". DUH! Of COURSE it is! These poor pooches and kittehs aren't a toy to be thrown in the corner! They are a tremendous amount of physical and financial responsibility and you need to think long and hard as to whether or not you are prepared for that responsibility!
Otherwise, please just buy little Susie a Furby, Tamagotchi, or a Neopet!
Next week: More Tips and Suggestions!