Tag Archives: deals

Taking advantage of after Christmas sales today? Not so fast.

I’ve never been a fan of Black Friday. Instead, I wait until all the holiday hubbub is over to find the best deals.

It’s no secret that there are usually a ton of sales this time of year. Stores that overstocked for the holidays are trying to make room for new inventory by dropping their prices.

However, I generally avoid big ticket items in the days after Christmas. Why? I’ve found that prices fall even further in the bleak retail month of February. You may see sales on big ticket items right after Christmas, but the prices are nowhere near rock bottom. Retailers are counting on post-Christmas shoppers with gift cards to spend.

If you’re planning on dropping a big chuck of change, even if it is holiday gift money you’re spending, do yourself a favor and wait a couple months.

Smaller electronics and appliances that were overstocked for Christmas like DVD players, computers, and small kitchen appliances are likely to have big discounts this week. If you’ve been in the market for these items, now may be the best time to buy. Make sure you do your homework, though. Just because the deal looks good doesn’t mean it’s the best deal out there.

And don’t forget, now is definitely the time to shop for the holidays next year. We didn’t buy any holiday decorations this year, because we bought them last year at drastically lower prices (about 75% off). Then we threw them into storage to use this Christmas.

Look for holiday decorations, greeting cards, scented candles, artificial trees if it’s time to replace yours, and other holiday items that retailers are practically giving away. Now is also the best time to pick up calendars for next year. But hurry! The best items never stay in stock for long after the holidays are over.

Start your after Christmas shopping today

Many of you are probably eagerly anticipating the great after Christmas deals this year. You may not have to wait until December 26 to get started, though.

Today is the deadline for most online retailers to ship items by Christmas. Even though the holiday is a few days away, online after Christmas sales will start tomorrow.

Most people are already done Christmas shopping (especially online), and they won’t start shopping for post-holiday deals until this weekend. Get a head start online in the next few days before all the best stuff is sold out!

Remember, though, only shop the deals if there’s something you genuinely need. You’re not saving anything if you’re only buying it because it’s on sale!

Online or in-store shopping: which is more frugal?

Photo by engnr_chik

Who doesn’t love online shopping? It’s fast, convenient, and often offers lower prices. But it’s not always the most frugal way to shop.

I bought all of my nieces’ and nephews’ Christmas gifts through Amazon. They were shipped right to my door, and I did all of the shopping right from my couch. It doesn’t get more convenient than that.

But what happens if one of them already has the gift? What if it’s defective or they just don’t like it? In the past, I loved including gift receipts with any and all gifts. There’s no way to include a gift receipt with gifts purchased online.

It’s also easy to overlook shipping costs when shopping for online deals. Sure, the item itself might be $5 cheaper than in stores, but you’re not saving money if you’re paying $6 to ship it.

Time is another important factor. Are you shopping at the last minute? If so, it’s best not to risk holiday shipping delays for a few bucks off.

Shopping online may be more convenient overall, but it requires extra research and care.

Compare online and in-store prices, and be sure to factor in shipping costs when shopping for the best deal.

Consider the likelihood that the gift will need to be returned. For gifts like clothing that must be tried on, it might be worth it to spend a little more in-store so you can include a gift receipt. If it’s an appliance, book, or other item that you know the recipient wants, online shopping is the way to go.

Find out the person’s clothing sizes before you start shopping, and make sure they don’t already have the item you buy.

Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to include a gift receipt, I was extra careful when I shopped for my nieces and nephews. I checked with my sisters to make sure the gifts were a good fit. I also read product reviews to ensure I was buying quality toys that weren’t likely to be defective.

Shipping was free, and I paid for the gifts with an Amazon gift card I received through MyPoints. You can’t get a better deal than free, but if I had been paying out of my pocket, I would have comparison shopped to make sure I was getting the best deal.

In our culture of convenience and technology, it’s very easy to convince yourself that online is always better. Be sure to look at the whole picture before you make a decision, though.

Black Friday? No thanks.

Sigh. Black Friday.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite frugal holiday. Nothing but friends, food, and relaxation. Aside from food, I typically don’t spend any money at all the entire weekend after Thanksgiving. I’ve never headed out to the sales on Black Friday. I’d prefer to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving in my PJs grazing on leftovers and watching movies.

This year, we’re attending a potluck Thanksgiving on Thursday. We weren’t invited until last week, and we’d already spent the month collecting food for our own meal. So we’re having Thanksgiving 2 on Friday. That makes me feel even less motivated to go out and shop.

I think my problem is that there’s just nothing I need. Our Christmas shopping is done, and I usually try to avoid crazy sales unless I need something anyway. I don’t want to be tempted to buy just because the deal is great.

I’m curious about the deals, but I’m afraid to look at the circulars because I don’t want to be tempted. With our big trip back to Indiana for the holidays coming up next month, we really don’t need to be spending extra money right now. Even if it’s a good deal.

I know how hard it is for me to turn down a great deal. So I’ll most likely stay home this Friday relaxing. I probably won’t be able to resist looking through the ads, but hopefully there won’t be anything so compelling that I can’t resist. I’m not so into the crowds, to be honest. I don’t like feeling like shopping is a competitive sport. :)

My advice to those of you braving the sales racks? Look through the ads, make a list of ONLY what you need, and stick to it when you hit the stores. Don’t be tempted to buy just because it’s a deal!

Are you heading out this year? What are you buying?! (I have to ask. :) )

I just earned $8 for buying $57 worth of toys

Photo by .bean

Christmas giftWhew. I got a lot of Christmas shopping done this weekend. Well, not a LOT since we’re not buying a lot, but I’m about 75% finished with my list.

This year we decided to cut our shopping list down to our parents and our 5 nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, we have huge families, and we don’t a lot of money in our budget for gifts (or anything other than bills, debt, and savings, really). I’ll do some baking for my sisters in the spirit of the season, but we just couldn’t afford to shop for everyone.

In true frugal holiday spirit, I found a way to get a great deal on toys for my nieces and nephews.

I redeemed about 7,500 MyPoints for a $50 Amazon gift card. (Have you joined MyPoints yet? If not, email me so I can send you a referral link! I’d love to get some points for telling you about it! :))

I found 4 of the 5 toys we need at Amazon. We bought one of the toys last month when we came across something that we knew one of my nephews would love. I made sure everything shipped directly from Amazon, so all the toys qualify for free shipping since my total was over $25.

My total came to $57. I used my Amazon gift code to bring the total to $7 and some change.

Here’s the best part: Right now, Amazon is offering a free subscription to Cookie magazine when you spend $25 on toys. (Thanks Kacie at Sense to Save for letting me know about this!) According to the promo information, you can pass on the subscription and request a $15 rebate instead. I should be receiving an email about it in the next few days. According to the promo, all I have to do is send a form along with my order confirmation to Amazon and they’ll send my $15.

If it works out, I’ll actually end up earning $8 on this transaction. Even if it doesn’t work, I bought Christmas presents for all 5 of my nieces and nephews for just $7. Not too bad considering I got $57 worth of great toys. :)


$1 tarts and votives at Yankee Candle

Now through Tuesday, you can use this link to get Yankee Candle tarts and votives for $1 each. As I’ve explained before, tarts and votives are a good opportunity to try a variety of scents. Even at the regular price, they cost just as much as the larger Yankee Candles per hour of burn time. Unfortunately, at the regular price of $1.99 each they’re pretty overpriced for candles. I usually stock up during these sales.

I received a printable coupon to take advantage of this deal in the store because I’m signed up for Yankee Candle’s mailing list. If you’re a candle person, I suggest you sign yourself up. They send deals like this one every few months.

If you didn’t receive this coupon in your inbox, you can take advantage of this deal online using the link above. The discount should automatically be applied to tarts and votives in your order. If not, use the coupon code XF810TS. Unfortunately, their shipping rates are a little high (flat rate $6 for orders up to $100), but if you plan to stock up on a lot of tarts it might be worth it even with the shipping.

Tarts and votives make a wonderful addition to Christmas gift baskets. Enjoy!

Victoria’s Secret bras for cheap

I’ve admitted before that I love to shop at Victoria’s Secret for bras. I can’t afford the high prices there, though. So how do I fund my Victoria’s Secret habit? I wait for deals like the one Thrifty Mama posted yesterday.

Using the coupon codes at Thrifty Mama, I got two bras and a pair of underwear for about $20 including shipping! My total before coupons was almost $60. And that’s with the sale price for the bras. I think retail value for this order without the sale would have been over $100.

Thrifty Mama suggests going with the 2/$40 bras, but the deal will work with more expensive bras, too. It’ll just be a couple dollars more. I bought he 2/$44 bras, and it worked fine. She also gives a specific item number for black panties, but the deal will work for any style of cotton panties as long as they’re a plain color (white, black, ivory, buff, or whisper pink).

These deals only come once or twice a year, so I suggest you hurry before it expires!

Saying “yes” to an extravagant purchase for a great price

In August, Tony and I spotted a deal on cookware that was almost too good to be true. Originally priced at $200, the set was 50% off. We’d been looking for cookware for some months, and the amount of cooking we do would have made it a great investment. But we walked away from it to avoid blowing our first successful budget. In hindsight, I think we made the right choice.

Today, we stopped in at the Linens ‘n Things liquidation sale. I wasn’t expecting to find anything great. Last time we were in there, I wasn’t impressed. In my opinion, their prices were so inflated in the first place that even on sale they were still too expensive. But some weeks have passed, and the prices have been lowered even more.

The shelves were almost completely empty today. For the most part, I wasn’t impressed with what was left. Until I wandered over to the knives.

We have a knife set that we received as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. Unfortunately, the knives haven’t aged well. Some of the handles are even starting to rust. We rarely use them anymore.

Instead, we use a Chef’s knife that I bought Tony for Christmas last year. It was a fantastic deal at $25. It’s been a great knife, but it’s starting to dull. Though it’s a wonderful knife for what we paid, Tony has always wanted a high-quality knife set.

Today on the bottom shelf of the locked cabinet, we found a J.A. Henckels knife set marked down from $160 to $100. It was marked down an additional 20% off the liquidated price because it was missing the kitchen shears.

For $80, we got an extremely high-quality knife set including a Chef’s knife, paring knife, serrated utility knife, santoku knife, honing steel, and wooden storage block.

We decided a while ago that we wouldn’t buy a big knife set. Though our previous set had 10 knives, we never used most of them. Instead, we decided to buy a small set with just the knives we need so we could afford higher quality knives. This new set includes all the knives we use and none of the unnecessary knives that we won’t. Because they’re top quality they’ll last us for years.

The best part? Tony used $50 he received as a birthday gift last month to cover most of the cost. Since we never included that $50 in our regular budget, we’re only paying $30 out of our regular budget for these knives. To me, this is the kind of deal that’s too good to pass up.

If there’s a Linens ‘n Things closing in your area, I recommend you check out the deals. Even if you’ve already been there and you weren’t impressed, now might be the time to take advantage of lower prices as they try to clear out the store.

Just make sure you only purchase items you really need. Even an extreme clearance price is too high if you don’t need the item.

A fabulous, frugal (free!) date

Tonight, Tony and I wanted to get out of the house, but our budget is pretty tight this month. Armed with some coupons, we headed out to have some fun without spending any money.

First, we headed to the mall where I redeemed a coupon for a free pair of underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Honestly, I haven’t made a charge on the card in probably close to a year (other an $2 and some change to buy some mascara purchased with a $10 off coupon. Long story short, I had to use the card to redeem the coupon). They just keep sending me coupons for free stuff. It’s a-ok with me! I rarely have to spend a dime to redeem the coupons, and when I do it’s just a dollar or two for some underwear, makeup, or lotion. Fine by me.

I also planned to redeem a coupon for a free diffusor starter set from Bath and Body Works that’s been floating around the frugal blogosphere. I first saw it at BeCentsAble, I think (linked above). Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link to print the coupon today, I got a message that said the offer was expired. Bummer, especially since the coupon wasn’t supposed to expire until next month! Lesson learned – from now on I’ll print the coupons right away when I see something good!

Finally, we stopped by Barnes and Noble where we browsed some books and redeemed this coupon for a free coffee at the Barnes and Noble Starbucks cafe that I picked up at Nothern Cheapskate and Sense to Save.

We had a great night, and we didn’t spend a single cent! I love frugal dates. :)