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Shop Online on Black Friday

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Every November I eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving. Turkey with all the trimmings, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed by the beginning of the holiday shopping season on Black Friday, never failed to spark my holiday cheer. However, this year is slightly different. No longer must I wake at 3 a.m. and brave freezing temperatures to catch those department store bargains. Instead, I can nestle deep into my warm comforter and shop earlier or later in stores or online.

Black Friday proved to be a victim of its success. Stampeding crowds, shopping cart gridlock, and low quantities of advertised items began to deter many consumers—like me!—who decided the hassle wasn’t worth saving a few bucks on holiday gifts. Stores now offer Black Friday Online. Like anything else, there are pros and cons. Some deals are only offered online and shipping costs may increase the final price. And popular items may sell out quickly.

Many retailers are now offering Pre-Black Friday sales that oftentimes offer the same, if not deeper, discounts. Early shoppers have the advantage of cashing in on gift cards, rebates, and deal-of-the day sales. In yesterday’s mail, I received a $10 gift card from Kohl’s, as well as a coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase at Bath & Body Works.

In this struggling economy, retailers are looking to sell even if that means lowering prices as much as 75 percent off the suggested retail price. Big-ticket electronics, such as HD TV’s and laptops, are ideal to purchase at this time. For instance, Target has a 40-inch HD TV for under $500!

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you with your holiday shopping.

Online Auction: Sites like www.ebay.com and the new www.Quibids.com offer great items for less. On Quibids, you can even bid on gift cards from stores like Target and Home Depot from 60¢! You will not pay over the retail price for any of the items listed.

Re-gifting: Passing along a gift is a great way to save, as long as you make sure not to re-gift to the same circle of friends. Attach an easy-to-peel label with the giftor’s name and the store unopened gifts in a plastic storage bin until they are ready to be wrapped.

Use your phone: Thousands of Apps are available that will help you located bargains, find store locations, and compare prices. I’m able to scan some product barcodes using my Android phone and then shop online in a matter of minutes.

Lay-a-way or pay later options: Use these options to get what you want before the item is sold out. K-mart.com has an eight-week long lay-a-way program that has become a major success, especially among those shopping for electronics and toys.

Shop consignment: Look for great items that still have the tags in new condition. I found a pair of brand new Coach® slip on sneakers for $16 in the original box! You will be amazed at what you find towards the end of the year when people make room in their closets for holiday gifts.

Gift baskets: After the holidays, Christmas ornaments, candy jars, baskets, and other holiday items are discounted as much as 90 percent. I spend $200 and stock up! I pack these treasures away to be used the following year. Often I make up gift baskets with each containing around ten items for a male or female relative or friend. Not the hands-on type? Try www.gifts.com

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