Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Tradition was kept when our alarms went off at 4 AM on Black Friday. Despite neither my Mom or myself needing to buy anything, we set off for Macy's in the dark and cold. Melynda joined us as she has many a year now and was all dressed and ready to go before I even got out of bed!

And she didn't even have any money to spend.

At Macy's we found few people and figured they were at Kohl's down the road. We were right - think there were 250 from various on hand accounts in line for the 4 AM opening. Can I just say I am so glad I didn't have to do that this year?!

I would do it - if I hadn't had my family shopping done and the only way I could afford to get someone on my list a great gift was to wait in line for 2 hours and face the madness, I WOULD DO IT!

But I don't have to. Why? Because I have taken a new approach to Christmas gifts these past couple of years and actually shop the whole year through. So, each big sale someone has, I look and see if there is anything on sale for someone on my list. Sometimes there is - sometimes there isn't. Buy I look and I am prepared to buy it - even in April for next Christmas. Taking a vacation in March? I'm sure there is something special for a loved one that you can save and give them at Christmas instead of when you get home. It will be just as special in December as in March, or whenever you take your trip. In fact, I'm always SO surprised when I get something from someone that I know they bought and saved it just for me!!! (No, I don't have any issues.)

Another money saving tip I have for Christmas shopping is buying more than one of an item for 1) my brothers, 2) my nieces, 3) my sons, 4) my sisters-in-laws. This saves me time and money as I can usually get a better deal buying more than one!

Savings Tip #3 - Buy clearance. I get next years' Christmas clothes after Christmas when they are 75% off. This way, I get an $70 gorgeous Christmas dress for under $20. SCORE! I also do this when buying for my great-nieces. It allows me to get them a nice gift for under $10; which is important for our budget when you count how many people we actually end up buying for. Buying clearance may seem like a given but you wouldn't believe the number of people who pay FULL price for things. Never pay full price for a gift or a holiday item, decoration or item!

Savings Tip #4 - Shop on-line! Watch for free shipping and discount coupons. Usually you can only use one coupon at a time so watch for the "spend over $50 and get free shipping" then use your save 20% off coupon as the coupon. If you find it difficult to do this on-line, shop and get everything together then call and order by phone and the sales person can usually find a neat savings tip when you ask. For example, most retailers will have "free shipping" if you have it sent to their retail store. I do this for Cabelas, REI, Sierra Trading Post and Sears most often. This enables you to use a coupon at check-out. YEAH! I buy snow boots for pennies on the dollar in April, summer sandals in November, swim suits for the next year for $4.00 a Speedo... you get the idea. Don't' be afraid to shop ahead to maximize your savings!

Savings Tip #5 - Homemade Goods are Appreciated! Who ever came up with idea that store bought was better? It's not! I'd much rather get a plate of homemade treats than a store bought tin of whatever. Hand knit scarf over a store bought one ANY day! I love cards that were made by hand... you get the idea. Make something yourself and give it with love.

Savings Tip #6 - Get it FREE! How? By being a hostess for a company you like the products. Y'all know I am into Pampered Chef but there are so many others! I have had many a party for the perks of it. Partylite - candles make perfect gifts. Home Interiors? From reed diffusers to pretty figurines, pictures and seasonal oolalas! Lia Sophia Jewelry - I'm having a party next Thursday. Why? The perks! I'm actually going to make a wish list and let my DH and kids pick my items for me and I won't know when I'm getting til my birthday and Christmas! The point being - there are many company's out there that have great incentives to host a party and move their products. Use your free and discounted product for people on your list! It truly is free! I do this all the time!!! It's a great way to get people you love something for a great price. I know consultants for all the above products so contact me if you are interested. I think they could get you in before Christmas, too. wink wink.

I want to close with my exchange with a Macy's manager yesterday morning:

Me: I'd like to use the $10 off coupon for this item that costs
$25. (The minimum requirement)

Manager: Okay, let me see what I can do..... Hmmmm, for
some reason the computer doesn't want to take it. Let me see what's going

Me: Oh Kay.

Manager: Well, it seems that this item is listed under the men's
fine item department so it's not allowing the coupon.

Me: That's interesting because I read all the fine print and that's
not listed... that's okay, I'll just put it back.

Manager: Just a second, let me try this.... oh, good, it
will take 15% off!

Me: Well, that's only about $3 off versus $10, so that's okay, I'll just
put it back.

Manager: I doubt this goes on sale before Christmas.

Me: That's okay - I'll just get something else.

Manager: So, if you don't get the $10 off you aren't going to buy
(Imagine fear and dismay in her getting higher pitched

Me: That's correct. No biggie.

Manager: But what will you do???

Me: Buy something else, another time.

Manager: Uh, just a second... let me see if I can "make
the computer take it off."

Okay - I went ahead and just did it manually. Your total is
$15.90. May I have your Macy's card?

Me: I'll pay by check but thanks so much for getting me the

Manager: You're welcome.

I left the store with my prized discounted item, perplexed that she had such issue and dismay at someone being willing to NOT buy something. Perhaps if more of us took this approach it would change the way stores marketed us. Just something to think about.

After a breeze through Burlington Coat Factory (nothing bought) we headed to Moxie Java for a cup of joe before cruising home at 7 AM!

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