Category: Holiday Shopping
Saving and spending are the two most important elements of your life and your money. Unfortunately, money does not control many factors in life. It controls where you live, what foods you can buy, and many other things. For those who spend more than they earn, they can “look comfortable” but those looks can certainly be very misleading. We call these types of people “keep with the neighbors,” because they are deep in the debt and buy things that may be out of their price range so they can have as many cars as nice a house as his neighbor in the street. This can get you far in debt you may have to declare bankruptcy. Of course, this is not what the goal is.
Save your money, even if you are only 10 dollars an hour, it’s very doable. Ot just a small bit of your weekly income and put it in a savings account. A great way to make sure you save is to create an “allowance” that takes money directly from your paycheck or direct deposit and put it in the savings account and you never need to touch the money. Do not know what it is in the savings account. Some people literally can not save money is in their hands. The temptation is too great. Therefore the allocation of savings to the idea is great. Even if only $ 5 a week, saving something is the key here.
When it comes to spending money, you simply need to evaluate your budget. Of course, you want to subtract all your needs such as electricity, water payments, rent or mortgage payments to pay car loan, or credit card payments, and any other important projects of the total money available. You also have removed everything you put in savings and just pretend that this is not if you have never tried to touch him. Simple as that, you can skip all that is excluded from this number when you subtract your total cost of your total cash.
However, a great thing to do is to spend only what you need and maybe a few luxuries you can afford. If you have something left after spending some money, you can put in your savings account to accumulate leave. Some people have a hard time doing this, but it is very important. You can save this much more than you ever expected when you can just control your spending. It is obviously easier said than done, as many people spend every penny they have available, and a few cents, even they are not spending and borrowing from creditors and the interests of payable on these things and sometimes to pay 20 percent more than what you paid for it because of that interest.
Saving and spending are simple but what is really important is self-control and discipline. If you can control your spending and at least put some in savings and not to plunge into it, you are really great! You do not have to be rich. Sometimes being rich means being debt and buying things you can not afford. So you buy a smaller house, but at least you have money in your poche.
Is there a new television, tool or bicycle on your holiday shopping list? Hold on there. While you can find many great deals during November and December, you’re better off making some purchases at other times of the year. Here are 10 items that are even cheaper before or after the holidays.
Prices have plummeted over the past seven years for some amazing flat-screens and big-screens. But if you really want to give that special someone the gift of HDTV, you might want to wait until February. Retailers will start lowering prices on last year’s models before new models start hitting the stores in March. The best deals follow the Super Bowl in early February. You could save a few hundred dollars.
Wait for “white sales” in January before buying sheets, blankets, towels and more. The tradition of department stores discounting linens in January started back in the 19th century. Now, even some catalog retailers follow suit, offering deals in their issues that come out at the beginning of the year. Look for discounts ranging from 10% to 60%.
Dad always has a list of fix-it projects to tackle around the house, but the holidays aren’t the best time to score deals on new tools. Consider giving tools as a gift for Father’s Day in June — when prices will fall by 25% — instead of Christmas. Frugal Dad will be happy you saved the cash.
The Winter Solstice is the worst time to buy a snow blower. In cold, wet climates, March is the month for purchasing this big-ticket item, says Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There. You might really appreciate a back-saving snow blower before winter’s heaviest storms arrive, but you’ll appreciate even more the 30% to 40% savings you’ll find as winter ends.
Sure, it would be nice to give your spouse a new camera to take pictures of the kids throughout the holiday season. But you might want to wait until February for a better deal. The biggest electronic trade shows of the year happen in January and February, when new models are revealed. By late February, older models are being sold at discounts of 30% or more. Look for Presidents’ Day to be an especially good day to shop for sales.
February and March are the ideal months to pick up winter outerwear, such as coats, hats and gloves. Retailers realize that most people have already bought their winter clothing by then, so you can take advantage of discounting to fill your closet for winters ahead.
Maybe you want to impress visiting relatives over the holidays by sprucing up your living room. But hold off on buying that new sofa. New furniture inventory hits showrooms in February, so look to save 10% to 50% if you buy in January, as retailers push to clear the showroom. Old models tend to be just as good, using the exact same frames as the new.
Forget the notion of a car in the driveway on Christmas morning. Instead, think New Year’s Eve (during business hours, of course) to get the best deal. Car dealers want to clear their inventory before the end of the year. TrueCar, which collects automobile data, estimates prices on all vehicles nationwide will average 9.3% below sticker price on December 31 — the steepest discount of the month.
Looking for a used car? Hold off until April for the best deals because it’s the month that dealers tend to buy the most at auction, giving you the best selection.
The cold weather creeping up may spark thoughts of escaping to far-off, warm destinations. For those who want to hit the seas, though, booking a cruise is best after the holidays. Wait until “wave season,” which is January to March, to book a summer cruise, says Jaime Freedman, of TravelZoo. You’ll be met with an onslaught of deals as cruise lines compete with one another for customers. Rising airfare prices have made cruises increasingly enticing with their all-inclusive pricing, says Freedman.
As the riding season winds down for most people, you may think that bicycles are ripe for discounts. And you’re right, if you just wait a little longer, until after the holiday season. After the holiday rush, discounts are steep on older models. Shops are also more likely to throw in a few extra free accessories because they are looking for business during the slow winter months. Better yet, fewer customers means you’ll get more personal service.
Watch out for these marketing ploys to get you to pay more for fall clothes.
Stores are trying everything they can think of to conceal the fact that you will pay more for clothing this fall.
Some use less fabric and call it the new look. Others are adding cheap and it seams like a trumpet overhaul. And buttons on this coat? Chances are that you will not think it’s worth paying a few dollars more for the shirt just to have them.
Retailers are rising prices of goods an average of 10 percent in the board – this fall in an effort to offset their rising costs for materials and labor. But traders are worried that cash-strapped customers who are burdened by economic hardship are grumbling against the price increases. Thus, retailers are trying to raise prices without tipping off unsuspecting customers.
Retailers have long tried to hide price increases – for example, jacking up more than necessary so they can offer a “sale” on the higher price. But the new production strategies that are traders and labor costs to increase by 10 percent to 20 percent in the second half of the year after having remained low during most of the last two decades. The costs can add up quickly: Raw materials account for 25 percent to 50 percent of the cost of production of a garment, while the work varies from 20 to 40 percent, analysts estimate.
Stores have already passed along their higher costs to customers by raising prices on certain items. The index of consumer prices, which includes all expenses except food and energy, rose 0.2 percent in July, the Labor Department said Thursday. But now that production costs are rising even higher, traders are increasing prices on a wide range of goods. Because of their fear that buyers will retreat, however, retailers are in the gray area between the style, quality and price.
Some merchants are inexpensive tweaks —- additional seams, buttonholes false, fancy labels —- to justify price increases. These embellishments can add a few cents to $ 1 for the cost of a garment, but retailers can charge $ 10 more for them, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with market research firm NPD Group .
“We do not see deflation or inflation, we see con-inflation,” he said. “The stores are making consumers think their getting more for their money.”
After the price of fabric to corduroy pants of his young daughter has almost doubled, catalog retailer Lands’ End, based in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, increased the price of the pants from $ 7 to $ 34.50. The company, a unit of Sears Holdings Corp, has also added buttons and stitching on the pockets to dress.
“Consumers will notice the difference in price,” said Michele Casper, spokeswoman for the end of a Lands’. “But they will also get many additional benefits so they know they are not getting short-changed.”
Others are removing things, but marketing it to customers as the latest trend. Elmen Spencer, owner of Cupid’s lingerie, which operates five stores in Arkansas, said it is to see more items in the store that are still skimpier than usual, from underwear mini dresses. He says it’s because the designers are finding clever ways to disguise the fact they have less clothing fabric.
Elmen said Teddy $ 39.99, which are $ 5 more than they were last year, have a studded heart that brings the material to conceal the fact that less tissue is used. He also noted that the corset with fishnet patterns are priced about 5 percent to about $ 49 more, even if they also have less material.
“They are just being more creative with less fabric,” said Elmen.
Adolescents retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is advertising “redesigned 2012” Jean collection in its stores and on its website, boasting that the jeans are “softer, with the perfect amount of stretch.” They are mostly sold between $ 78 and $ 88, or about $ 10 more than last year, according to Jennifer Black, head of research firm Jennifer Black & Associates.
Sozzi, Wall Street Strategies analyst detail, examined the jeans and believes they are “thin” and “cheaper quality.” Stretching further, he said, could simply say that the retailer is saving costs by using less denim.
Eric Cerny, a spokesman for Abercrombie & Fitch, declined comment. But what the leaders reiterated Cerny told investors in recent months: most of the increases on items will begin arriving in September and the chain will not sacrifice quality to achieve cost reductions.
Bill Melnick, director of strategic planning at the SAI Marketing, which studies consumer behavior for consumer brands, said most consumers may not notice the tactic to disguise the retail price. But he says buyers will not buy if they can not afford it.
“Shoppers are pragmatic,” he said, nothing they think “” If it fits in my budget, so it’s a sale. ”
Rhonda Sayen, a resident of Stephens City, Va., said she checked the prices on the items and noticed that new fall jeans were about $ 40 a year ago are now close to $ 60. She also said she has spotted a low-grade T-shirts to some of the stores.
“I know that prices have changed,” Sayen said, adding that she and her husband stick to a budget of $ 400 for clothes and supplies for her four children aged 3 to 18. “You do not fool me.”
New York, long thought to be the top spot in the nation, doesn’t even make the list.
Move over New York. When it comes to shopping, everything’s bigger in Texas. Forbes’ first-ever ranking of the best U.S. cities for shopping takes a look at the real numbers behind what makes retail sparkle in the biggest cities in America.
One look at the top 10 shows that NYC, long thought to be the best city for style, sophistication and putting your pocketbook to work, is nowhere to be found. What? Why? How? The truth is, in deciding what makes a city “best,” it all depends on what you’re looking for.
America’s Top 10 Cities for Shopping
1. Houston, TX
2. Phoenix, AZ
3. Dallas, TX
4. Baltimore, MD
5. Columbus, OH
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Philadelphia, PA
8. San Antonio, TX
9. Jacksonville, FL
10. San Diego, CA
When it comes to shopping, everyone has their own style. Some of us are in-and-out. We know what we want, we know where to find it and we’d like to be on our way, thank-you-very-much. Others are in heaven strolling through well-lit retail centers, window shopping to our heart’s delight, even if there’s nothing we “need.” And some of us are on the hunt for a bargain—if it isn’t on sale, it’s not on our list.
In compiling our list of America’s best cities for shopping, we took the interests of all types to heart to find the urban centers with the best combination of options, ease and affordability.
Of the 525 major shopping centers in the country’s biggest cities, there are nearly 257 million square feet of gross leasable retail area, according to data provided by Esri, a geographic information systems firm that tracks the leasable area of major U.S. shopping centers of more than 225,000 square feet. Of that, nearly a quarter of the retail space (87,879,057 square feet) is in the Lone Star state, more than explaining how three Texan cities landed in our top ten cities for shopping. Like their football and BBQ, Texans take their shopping seriously.
Houston comes in at No. 1 one the list. “Houston might be a big city, and sure you can spend days buying up the shopping malls, but for me the best thing has always been the boutiques that are somehow both 100% Southern and completely chic,” says stylist Kate Barash, a Houston native now living in Los Angeles.
Barash, who describes her own fashion sense as “date night feisty,” shares her two favorite Houston stops for shopping: 310 Rosemont (1965 W. Gray Ave.), where she stocks up jeans from trendy 1921 and Seven For All Mankind. She also scores pieces from Milly and James Perse; and Lot 8 (6127 Kirby Drive), where she finds “the best L.A. designers without the Los Angeles inflated prices.”
Now that the holidays have decided to move into the express lane of time and travel towards us at the speed of light, we had better ready ourselves for the 5 S’s of Christmas: 1) selecting; 2) shopping; 3) savings; 4) spending; and 5) Santa. For the next 5 weeks we will be looking at one of these S’s. This week we will begin with Spending.
There are many different methods of spending for those “must have” gifts that your loved ones have been drooling over for so long. Many years ago there were only two methods of having the money to buy the desired present. First, the method of choice for most “over 70” crowd, is called “savings”. Second, a method that is used many times with “savings” is the “buying only what you can afford”. These two methods are somewhat of a lost art and I personally have only heard about them in books and the reading of ancient artifacts.
One of these historical writings mentions a ritual known as Christmas Club. This amazing tool was used by banks to aid members to set aside a certain amount, on a weekly or bi-monthly basis, to help them have money for Christmas. It was like a reversed credit card, with the payments being made before the purchases and instead of the patron spending 29% interest each month to make up for the credit card monthly fees, they would receive the interest (yes, the interest would come to them). This in turn would give them more money than they put into their account. As late as 1966, this was determined to be the American way of Christmas spending. That was before credit cards spending for Christmas became as customary as the artificial Christmas trees.
Today, the method of choice by most Americans is just the complete opposite as the first two methods mentioned: put every Christmas item on credit card and “never refuse a child of whatever they want”. (“New $500 game machine? – sure, let me apply for this new credit card!”) If I sound slight fuchsias, it’s because I am still paying off my Christmas shopping debt from 1972.
To get the most out of using this plastic god for holiday cheer there are certain rules and secrets that you need to learn to have a safer, cheaper, happy holiday.
Rule #1- Make sure that you shop only on secure, trusted Internet sites. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Are they a known reliable online company? Are you shopping at Amazon.com or Grannysdiscountbooksandadultsite.com?
2) Do they have a physical address?
3) Is there a method of contacting the business?
4) Is their shopping cart secure? Do not enter your credit card on a site that is not secure. A secure site online is just as secure as using your card at your local Wal-Mart or grocery store.
Secret #1- When Shopping online use your credit card and not your debit card. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Federal law says that you are only liable for $50 if your card is misused.
Rule #2- Pay you bill off each month. Any credit counselor will tell you that this is the best way to manage your money and keep yourself out of financial ruin. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
Secret #2- When using a credit card make your purchases the same day you receive your credit card statement in the mail. This will give you a few extra weeks of non-interest time to save up to pay off your debt.
Rule #3- Don’t save your credit card information on the web site or for that matter on your computer. Even though the web site may be secure there were a few reports last year of hackers getting into different system of online stores. It really doesn’t take that long to re-enter the information.
Secret #3- Pay your credit card online and make your payment at least 2 business days before it is due. This may seem like a contradiction to not saving the credit card information on line but it is not. The credit card information for the lender maintains your credit card information in their secure data base. Once again, it is a similar retrieving system as if you made a purchase at a department store.
Rule #4- Protect your password. Don’t save your password on your computer and don’t use the same password over and over. Keep a written log in a safe convenient place. There have been hackers who have been able to access information from personal computers. Protect yourself.
Secret#4- Use a formula for your password: have a prescribed combination of letters and numbers you use for a common word that you are sure to remember, then a number you use for the site you are at. For example ReginAmaz might be a formula for a password password at Amazon if I used the first 5 letters of my name along with the first 4 letters of the sites name. ReginBarn might be a password for Barnes and Noble.
Secret#5- More secrets on passwords: use numbers in place of letters at times. Use 1 for an i or l, 0 for o and maybe even 9 for g. For example, with the above password for Amazon might be Re91nAmaz.
Secret#6- If the systems are down, don’t ever call your order in. Wait until the systems come back up. If the Internet site is down, it is possible that their computers are down as well. Therefore when calling an order in, depending on the call center, your credit card information may be written down on paper instead of being entered into a secure location.
Secret#7- If you’re in need of extra money and decide to sign up for a new credit card, read the fine print. One of my credit cards recently sent me a letter saying that I qualify for their platinum card. The fine print says that there is a $72 annual fee! Watch out for low interest rates, the companies have to make their money somewhere. These introductory rates may lead to an astronomical rate or exorbitant annual fees.
With these rules and secrets now firmly placed before you, your holiday spending should be safer and wiser. Next week we will look at “Saving”.
These seven clever come-ons often push holiday shoppers to overspend.
The road to the mall may be paved with good intentions, but retailers know just how to get inside that part of your brain that yells, “Buy me!” And this holiday season, they’re rolling out more tricky marketing strategies to encourage recession-scarred shoppers to spend. “Shoppers are dealing with a whole new arsenal of tricks,” says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing and Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Merchants have always used marketing tricks and rotating sales to encourage consumers to open their wallets, but this year, they’re pushing every psychological button they can, retail experts say. Competition for shoppers, plus a tepid holiday shopping outlook, means retailers are doing whatever they can to attract deal-hunting consumers’ attention — all in an effort to entice them into spending more than they’d planned. That means adding worry-inducing purchase limits to indicate scarcity, promising free gifts to shoppers who spend just a little more, and offering rewards today to redeem later just so people will come back to the store.
These strategies work in part because they tap into hard-wired behaviors that go back to our days in caves. Long before we were confronted with half-off Merino turtlenecks or buy-one-get-one-free smartphones, we learned to stockpile in the event of shortage and to compete for scarce resources, psychologists and neuroscientists say. The stakes are considerably lower when you shop, but studies have shown our brains react similarly nonetheless. The effectiveness — and proliferation — of these mind games are a big part of the reason you’re apt to look back and wonder why you thought that buying three itchy sweaters for $50 or a $200 no-name television was such a good idea.
Its official name is Cyber Monday. But the first day on the job after Thanksgiving — when shoppers hit the Web for steals on holiday gifts — may as well be called the most unproductive workday of the year. Last year, Americans spent $733 million in one day, making hundreds of online purchases when their bosses turned their backs.
1. Be loyal.
Create an online shopping-only e-mail address and sign up in advance for newsletters and e-mails from your favorite retailers. Then you’ll snag surprising deals — Eddie Bauer, for example, lowers the free shipping barrier for loyalty program members from $100 to $50, though you have to enter a code. Gifts.com’s Gillian Joseph agrees it’s essential to sign up for the spam. “You can usually shop starting at midnight and don’t have to worry about waiting on line,” she confides. “And they often have a little promotion code at the bottom of the e-mail to see how far into the e-mail you’re going to read.” In other words, don’t just scan the subject line.
2. Make a list and check it twice.
The hype and deals of Cyber Monday can be overwhelming — and wallet-threatening. Avoid impulse buying by building a detailed list of must-haves. Sticking to a smaller number of stores is not only more manageable, but you will save on shipping (and single shipments aren’t just cheaper, they’re more eco-friendly, burning less jet fuel for delivery).
3. Get your browsing done.
Window-shop online or at your local mall — preparation is key to maximize time on Cyber Monday. “Do your looking online over the weekend, put your items in your cart and save them, then wait for an off hour to place your order,” suggests Christine Frietchen from consumersearch.com.
Instead of ploughing through Google’s vast, unsifted results, let someone else do the editing for you. For inspiration, check Luckymag.com’s 200 choicest boutiques or the recommendations on storeadore.com and shopstyle.com.
5. Think Cyber Saturday and Cyber Sunday.
Charlie Graham says smart shoppers (and those loyalty program members) can sometimes get online deals all weekend. “All the retailers are clamoring for the same dollars this year, so look a little early to get the scoop.”
Thanksgiving is weeks away, but some retailers are dropping prices to entice shoppers.
We’re five weeks away from Black Friday and already major retailers are dropping prices to entice early shoppers into the stores and onto their websites. Amazon has been discounting prices for months and, as a result, its third-quarter sales surged 39 percent. We combed the websites and sale circulars of some major appliance and equipment retailers and found prices cut on some top performers. Some stores are throwing in free delivery and haulaway deals to sweeten the deal.
If you’re a subscriber to ConsumerReports.org, remember that you can access our Ratings and other shopping advice free through your mobile phone. Consumer Reports also just introduced its Mobile Shopper. With this application, available on iTunes for $9.99, shoppers can scan a barcode and access product and pricing information as well as Ratings for CR’s most popular products.
Related Link: Poster shopping at Art Canyon
According to an article in USA Today, Costly College Prerequisite: Decorate Dorm, 17.6 billion dollars is expected to be spent on back to school shopping for students in kindergarten through college this year. That’s $527.08 per family – an 18% rise from last year. Back to school shopping falls right behind holiday shopping for retailer’s most profitable season. Why?
Sure, there are some necessities that need to be bought when going back to school. My sons both have a page long list of items that they are required to have on the first day of school – pencils, composition notebooks, scissors, a box of tissues, etc. When I was a kid, schools supplied those things, but budgets are ever tightening and now families are required to buy them. I certainly won’t be buying $527.08 worth of necessary supplies, though. I don’t think anyone will be buying $527.08 of necessary supplies, unless their definition of necessary is different from mine.
There was an entire section at Target dedicated to the necessities for a college dorm room. This was separate from the traditional back to school section with school supplies. This section had coordinated dorm bedding, rugs, lamps, wall hangings and desk top accessories. Other items that many college kids consider necessities are computers (okay, I’ll give them that), microwaves, TV’s, DVD players, gaming consoles, mp3 players, hand held gaming systems, and stereos.
Kohls, Ikea, JCPenney, and other mid-priced retailers all have back to school collections of “must-have” items. And let’s not forget the new clothes. Having to show up to school in last year’s clothes just might make a child die of embarrasment.
Whether it’s stuff for a college student or a kindergarten student, many of the “must-have’s” simply aren’t. I can tell you from experience they aren’t. When I went to college, I lugged the bedding from my home bed including the pillow and comfortor back and forth to the dorms. Same with my towels (all two of them that my mom let me take from the hall closet). My stereo consisted of a radio alarm clock that played cassettes. If I wanted to watch TV, I could have gone to the common room. There was no big “our baby is going to college” shopping trip. But that was (gulp) 20 years ago.
Could today’s college freshmen do the same? Of course, they could. For most kids all it would take would be for a parent to say, “No.” Or better yet, raise them to be responsible, sustainable consumers from a young age so they won’t expect $1285 worth of new stuff (what the average college freshmen spends) when they go off to college.
A typical back to school shopping trip for a grade schooler or high schooler consists not only of paper and pencils but a new backpack, lunch box, shoes, clothes, and locker accessories (yes, locker accessories, I’m not making this up). When parents shop like this for kids when they are young, it’s no wonder college freshmen expect so much and retailers make it so easy for them to buy it in one shopping trip in one section of the store.
It’s time to curb the back to school shopping for so much stuff. Reuse last year’s backpacks and lunch boxes and sneakers and dorm bedding. When you do need to buy items, buy with long term in mind so things won’t go out of style. No self-respecting fourth grade girl will want to go to school with last spring’s High School Musical 2 backpack when everyone knows that Hannah Montana is where it’s at this month. So skip the pop pictures on the backpacks and buy nuetral.
If your kid doesn’t really need it, don’t buy it. Your child won’t die of embarrasment. I know this from experience, too, because my kids are still alive and well and carrying the same backpacks they’ve had for years.