Monday, November 3, 2014

Shop like a Pro on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

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It's that time of year again to don your Santa hat or your elf suit and start buying gifts.  Can you believe next month it's Christmas?  I know I can't.  My gift closet is unusually sparse this year.  One year I started Christmas shopping BEFORE Christmas the year before.  That's how I have often been, but this year has had so many things going on that I haven't been able to stock the gift closet like I usually do.  So that means buying more like an "average" person.  I'll obviously be watching sales and shopping bargains, but this is certainly not like the year I had my Christmas shopping done before spring thaw!

My Christmas gift list has changed considerably this year -- my mother and grandfather-in-law passed away.  While I'm not married yet, I consider my fiance's family my family, and that adds in a whole new group of people I get to shop for!  I love shopping, and am especially excited about shopping for my five year old brother-in-law.  (He's cute as a button, and loves toys with hinges, gears, etc.)  Also, my "niece" and "nephews" are in this Christmas from Russia, so Aunt Jenn needs to spoil them to the point that their parents just roll their eyes at me.  That's my job, right?  Especially when I only get to see them every couple of years.

So, now I have to actually think about shopping.  I sell items online and I know that my mobile buyers are steadily increasing.   In fact, one out of every three items I sell is sold and paid for on a mobile device.  That's so handy.  I know one time my mother wanted something and she asked me to look it up later and order it for her.  I placed the order never leaving her side in the hospital room thanks to my 4G iPhone from U.S. Cellular.

One site I have always loved is Slickdeals.  One thing they have new this year is Price Tracker where you put the URL of an item you want and it will tell you where the cheapest price is online.  (The board game I want to purchase for my 30 year old brother-in-law has only a $2 variation on different sites, but it's quick and easy to see what site has the lowest price online.  

I love shopping bargains, but last year I did something I promise I will never do again -- go to a big box store.  I wanted to buy an iPad mini for my fiance and one for my mother.  (I should have used common sense and bought them at U.S. Cellular!)  While I got a good deal, the wall to wall people, police presence, and having to move in a direction I didn't want to go because of the crowd going that way is NOT something I want re-visit.  I'll stay home and shop online, thank you very much!  I know not everyone shares my ideas on this.  My mother had a co-worker who would leave to shop in the middle of the night, and only take half a day of from work because she would be home before noon -- and our mall is an hour away.  Not me.  Hand me my iPhone, Slick Deals app, and my credit card, and I'll stay in my jammies and not have to fight the crowds.  But if this is your thing, something new Google Maps has is store specific maps to help you navigate through the crowds in your local brick and mortar store to find the item you want.   So if that's your cup of tea, that's certainly a handy app.  

A third and very useful app is Key Ring.   My fiance came home from work one day and told me all about this really cool app a customer he rang out uses.  I pulled it up on my phone and said I had it already.  (He always says he can never show me anything new online because I've already heard of it.)  What Key Ring does is store all your rewards cards in one app.  I just counted the rewards cards I use often and there are SEVENTEEN of them.  That doesn't count the ones I only use on occasion.  It saves so much time being able to pull them up on my iPhone rather than having to hunt for that store's reward card.  (This app even works for my library card.)  However, it only works for cards that can be scanned with a handheld scanner, it does not work for cards that need swiped.  Even so, it's so much quicker to be able to pull up my rewards card for any of my seventeen regular stores by doing so on my phone and not having to stand there going "This isn't it, not this one. . ." while people behind me in line are getting impatient.  

But again, that's for those who shop at Brick and Mortar stores.  I will admit I do that on a small level.  Drugstores often have great deals on Black Friday.  I'm hoping to put together welcome bags for my wedding and hoping I can get some great deals on toothbrushes and other small items to include in those.  So I will be hitting pharmacies on Black Friday, but for the most part, it's going to be my U.S. Cellular 4G iPhone, the Amazon app, and my credit card.  One thing I like about Amazon is they sell almost anything.  In the last year I have purchased everything from carpet shampoo to my bridesmaid dresses from Amazon.  The one stop shopping certainly is convenient and time saving, not to mention they often have the low pricing.

I'm looking forward to the holidays, but I'm not looking forward to the fact my gifts are not yet purchased, so I think I better pull out my iPhone right now and start on it! 

1 comment:

  1. Your advice is good but I don't go near any stores on Black Friday. Cyber Monday, oh yeah!