As a “professional shopper” who is paid to shop, I have learned a few things about shopping for the best deal and finding just the right items to fit my clients’ needs. Here are a few of my tips to make your holiday shopping more productive and less time consuming.
Do your research. Looking for a deal on cashmere gifts? Learn the difference between two-ply and three-ply cashmere and the longevity of each. Tempted by the early morning three-hour sale on fine jewelry? Learn the different grades, cuts and sizes of diamonds to make knowledgeable buying decisions. Shopping for winter coats? Check the content tags usually found on the side seam of the garment. For maximum warmth, dress coats should have at least 60% wool in them. Learn the weight of fleece that will be the most useful for the person or activity in which it is intended.
When purchasing clothing during the holidays, do not purchase it unless it is at least 40% off of the original price. Luxury brands rarely discount so if you see them on sale at 30%-35% off, scoop them up.
Make a budget and stick to it. There will be other deals, I promise. Cyber Monday and night owl sales on Thanksgiving night offer deals meant to break your bank before the Christmas lights are strung. Be strong!
Use store cards for deeper discounts. Promise yourself to pay it off immediately. Some stores will let you pay it off at the register as soon as the transaction is completed. Lost your receipt and need to return an item? It’s not a problem if you used the store credit card. Not comfortable with store cards? Use cash or credit cards to protect from fraud. Leave your debit cards at home. Remember to get a gift receipt!
Do you have a favorite retailer? Sign up for their email alerts. Some retailers offer exclusive deals for those on their email lists. Right before the holiday shopping season begins, I sign up for my family members’ favorite retailers’ email lists to get the best discount on the items they want for Christmas. It is easy to unsubscribe after the New Year. If purchasing on-line, before checking out, open another browser window and search for coupons codes from that retailer. www.retailmenot.com is one of my favorite sites to find free shipping and discount codes.
Be polite to the store employees. They have gotten up earlier than you and will be in the store long after you are gone. They are the “keepers of the stock,” and may be the only thing between you and the last must-have item in the backroom. I always befriend the store employees. They make my shopping experiences easier and so much more enjoyable. If purchasing many items, especially clothes, ask for a possible deeper discount. Remember, if you don’t ask it is a ‘no’ and ‘no’ doesn’t hurt.
Final Tip: If you see something that you would like to see for yourself under the Christmas tree (I always do), fill in your dog’s name as the giver. Daisy the dog has great taste in workout wear and running shoes.