Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shopping After Christmas?

Headed to the mall to nab a few bargains at the after Christmas sales? If so, I certainly hope you have the coffee ready to go when running out the door because it could be a busy day with lots of shoppers! I would also bring a form of protection... Ok I am going a bit over the top but here are a few tips to help you get the best buys and avoid any pitfalls at the after-Christmas sales.

First off, watch the return policy. Some stores use after Christmas sales to clear inventory before year-end and institute special return policies to discourage bringing anything back. If you’re buying for someone else, or are not 100% sure that you’re sold on the items in your shopping cart, be sure to check the policy before you ring up the sale.

Next, shop online. If you hate the lines and parking at the mall, you can generally get the same bargains shopping on your computer as you can by going into the mall. There are usually two catches: You have to pay for shipping and you can’t try anything on. The shipping issue is vastly better this Christmas because a huge number of retailers are waiving shipping fees. As for trying things on, double check the first tip here and make sure that whatever you’re buying can be returned if it doesn’t fit.

Third, check for coupons. Seriously, coupons are everywhere. If you know what you’re after, Google the product and “coupon offers.” Not sure what you’re after? Offers.com has a litany of coupons from stores and manufacturers such as Dell, Macy’s and the Gap.

Finally, use those gift cards. By this time next year, new laws will be in effect to restrict fees and expiration dates on gift cards. But this year, it’s gift-card-holder-beware. Some of these cards last as long as the retailer; others can expire or get eaten up by fees. The best advice is to use them quick. The longer you wait, the more likely they get hit with fees.

Shopping after Christmas can be a bit of a hassle, but if you know what you are after and have a game plan, you can come out ahead and stress free! Thanks for checking out our blog post and from our Credit Union family to yours, Happy Holidays!

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