5 traps to avoid when shopping for the holidays
Yes, it is nearly that time again – time for holiday shopping. Black Friday is looming on the horizon and a slew of stores including Macy’s and Kohl’s have announced they will open Thanksgiving evening.
Already signs that proclaim “Door-Buster” or “Holiday Special” are popping up in advertisements and store windows. While it may seem like it’s incredibly easy to score the best deal during the holiday shopping season, there are a few traps you have to be on the lookout for:
1. Be an informed shopper. The temptations of the so called “special” holiday sales are difficult to resist. When preparing to make a purchase, do your homework. Determine the retail price of the item and the competitors’ pricing before making your decision. Remember, just because an item is a Black Friday deal or “Door-buster” sale does not mean it is well priced.
2. Do not give into the pressure of a deal. “Today only” and “While supplies last” are commonly used terms to inspire shoppers to purchase quickly. Be aware of these terms and proceed with caution. When making your purchase, carefully determine whether this is truly a deal that you need to take advantage of or whether you are being motivated by the fear of being left out.
3. Extended warranty plans are rarely necessary. When debating whether to purchase an extended warranty for an item, know that most items rarely break during the warranty period and for those that do break, the repairs are typically less than the cost of the warranty. Depending on the item and the type of repair, the manufacturer may repair or replace the item to keep you happy. Don’t fall victim to pricey warranty plans especially on lower-priced electronics and appliances (ex. microwaves).
4. Return policy limitations. Many companies relax their return policies during the holidays, but not all. Know and understand the return policy associated with your purchase and if it is for a gift, be sure to inform the recipient as well.
5. Do not spend more just to qualify for free shipping. Online shopping is a wonderful convenience, but one of the less than appealing aspects of shopping online is paying for shipping. Retailers are aware that no one enjoys paying for shipping thus they attempt to motivate shoppers to spend more by offering free shipping once a minimum purchase level has been reached. Do not buy additional items simply to achieve this purchase level unless the cost of shipping is more. Otherwise, you are wasting money on items you do not need and did not intend on purchasing.
If you’re wondering when to get started on your holiday shopping research, assuming you’re not a football fan, do it during Thanksgiving football games. This year, avoid falling victim to some of the more common holiday season traps.
Kelli Bhattacharjee is the owner of Freebie Finding Mom, where she blogs about the best daily freebies, coupons, online bargains and savvy money saving advice. The advice Kelli provides comes from world experience and a financial background. She is passionate about helping consumers save big money and have fun along the way.