A*North*Star

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Shopping Tips

So I did not snag any deals on Cyber Monday. Did a little browsing, but that’s it. I’m pretty shopping challenged though. Maybe next year.

The next month is a retailer’s money maker. While Christmas shopping does a lot for many businesses, it’s also a time where plenty of folks go into debt. So here are some tips to keep in mind while out at the stores this holiday season.

  1. Plan – Lists are your friends. Outline what you plan to purchase to avoid impulse buys. Don’t break your budget.
  2. Comparison shop – Make sure you’re getting the best deals by scoping out what your wanted items are going for at different stores. Factor in sales and coupons. Some stores will match their competitors’ prices. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  3.  Organize a Secret Santa – Before getting something for all of your family members, friends and co-workers, consider doing a Secret Santa exchange. The names of everyone participating puts their name in a hat, possibly along with a short wish list, and then everyone takes turns randomly selecting a name and gets a gift for that person. You can even set a price limit of how much each person can spend. Don’t forget to plan a fun little get together to exchange the presents.
  4. Consider homemade gifts – And I’m not talking about popsicle stick ornaments. My favorite is food. Bake your famous chocolate chip cookies or get the Tollhouse pre-made dough. Last year, my sister roasted sweet and spicy nut mixtures in her crock pot and in the oven. Yum! Another great option is making a CD mix of your loved one’s favorite songs. That is if they still use CDs.
  5. Eat before you shop – Shopping on an empty stomach is always a no-no. Chances are you’ll end up spending cash you could have used on your gifts at the food court or nearby restaurant.
  6. Cash over credit – You really don’t want to go in debt buying a little Christmas cheer. Trust, you’ll regret it when you’re still paying off the purchases come the following December. Leave the charge cards at home and only carry cash or your debit card. And if you do charge – pay it off ASAP. Minimum payments are so not the business in the long run.
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