Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Tips-#5, Smart Shopping Strategies + Savvy Saver Interview!

Hello Readers!

If you love the thrill of the find the day after Thanksgiving this post might not be for you totally (but please keep reading!).

I want to assure you that the day after Thanksgiving (even though the retailers want you to believe its the first day of Christmas shopping), it truly isn't! Believe me when I say those of you who plan ahead (or start planning now), can actually score better deals in true shopping hours than those deals that require no-sleep, grumpy associates (I've been there, it's tough) and lines, lines, lines! You can avoid all of that (if you want to), by following some of my tips this week.

Tip #1-Vendors are going to be fiercely competitive this year because business will probably be a bit slower due to the economy. They will try to lure you with all kinds of freebies...take advantage of the ones that you really need. Focus on...FREE items, there will be many or a substantial $ off purchases or credits to online shopping accounts to encourage you to buy. You will be able to get some great deals this way. This week already:

Haute Look is offering a $10 credit when you sign up for their website deals, Rue La La is offering a $20 credit when you sign up good through 12/31...both of these can be used on shipping too, so you can score some almost free deals! For items like these, watch my Facebook page...I feature several daily that will save you a ton and make your shopping easier this year! Old Navy has been offering all types of deals on Saturdays and coupons galore from many retailers allow you to get good deals NOW!

Tip #2- Gifts with Purchase, hit 2 birds with one stone! Right now Macy's Clinique counters are offering a nice pack of freebies with a $21.50 purchase. The trick is staying within that amount....I found a blush for $21.50 that I love and I have the free gift to give to someone this holiday season! Many stores are going to do these types of offers, so take advantage of them! You could buy someone a gift of a Clinique product and end up with 2 gifts for the price of one. Fred Meyer always offers some great toy deals from now through the holidays. Last week they had some action figures B1G1 Free, I stocked up for birthday gifts at 1/2 price!

Tip #3-The group buying sites are exploding! Mobba, Groupon, etc. Basically they pool individuals and businesses to offer you explosive savings on all kinds of products. Mobba sends emails out (sign up at their site). Groupon isn't in Eugene yet, but you can qualify for any of the internet offers they post in cities across the U.S. I have gotten a Cafe Press gift cert for gifts and they have also featured Red Envelope, Gap, Movies, etc. offers in the last few weeks that are awesome. These are time sensitive deals so watch my Facebook page for those and don't delay. This is a great way to get your gifts at 1/2 price and many deals can be combined with other discount codes getting you even more savings!!

That wraps up my Top 3 tips for the's time to check in with my Savvy Savers and let you know what they have been up to...we hope to inspire you to saving with the tips they are using!

This week I spoke with one of my team members, P. and she is a local teacher and mom that has limited time to shop, but loves a good bargain. For our project she choose 2 gifts that she needs to put together this holiday season. I asked each of my team members to select 2-3 strategies that they wanted my help with while looking for budget conscious holiday gifts. P. choose the following 4 strategies: Gift Baskets, Gifts of Experiences, Freebies and Home Parties. We discussed who she needed gifts for and we chose:
1) A friend who helps with her kids each day. She wanted a heartfelt gift basket with the theme of cooking. Her budget $20.

2) A family gift to a close family friend. She wanted a gift basket that included an experience based gift. Her budget $30.

You may recall from my post on gift baskets (please refer back for more detail), but you have a few things you MUST do to have an incredible gift basket. You need that anchor item...the thing that pulls the whole basket together, 5 or 6 or more filler items and a container that fits the whole basket together.

Upon discussing the cooking themed basket in more detail I found out the recipient loves to bake so that was the theme of that basket...baking! We would incorporate a baking theme, with a bit of experience and since P. was interested in Freebies and home parties this fit well together.

The family gift would become a gift of Dinner & A Movie. This provides a family "experience" of making a meal together and then some good 'ol family movie time. We were able to incorporate all that P. thought was important into these themed baskets. Getting the idea going is the start...finding the items is when the fun begins!

Again, I am focusing on strategies with my team this year to show them how these strategies can make gift giving frugal & fun and keep you within your budget! Those strategies are mentioned more in-depth on my blog (refer there for more info). Each of these strategies is proven to work, so the next few blog posts will focus on how to utilize these strategies.

P. was interested in "gifts of experience", we were able to incorporate that easily into the gift basket by having a baking theme were the recipient would bake an item and still have the products to use later. The family Dinner & A Movie will allow the family an experience of a night together (a treasured event these days!) and give them the ability to use the products in the basket for many years.

Gift Baskets were of interest because they could easily be obtained well within budget and would have the lovely WOW factor!

Freebies will be sought out to use as filler items for either gift basket. P. had used my tip about 1 Kings Lane to score some various items that may work as filler in these baskets or other gifts she intends to give. Freebies are great, but you can't rely on them solely to fill a basket because you don't know what might be offered. However, when something is offered that works for your basket...jump on it as FREEBIES go quickly!

Home Parties, P. was interested in this concept as it would allow her a chance to have a fun night in with friends and she could receive some great hostess items just for having a party. Based on her 2 themes (baking/dinner) I suggested she host a Pampered Chef Party. They have a very generous host incentive program and she could easily use her incentives to acquire the items she needs to fill her baskets for FREE! She will host a party in Nov (so I will let you know what she gets!), but the goal is to get a Small Batter Bowl and some baking accessories with her free host credit. The batter bowl will be filled with a dry mix recipe that the recipient will be able to make. She will get the gift of a baked good and the fun of having the products to use in her kitchen in the future. The dinner kit will be also achieved with the 50% off host incentive of the Pizza Stone Kit which includes a pizza stone, pizza cutter and pizza crust mix. This item can be purchased at 50% for about $24...a great deal! P. will include some fun filler items in both baskets along with the items she got for free. The dinner/movie kit will likely feature a movie gift card, movie snacks, etc. Her budget was $50 for both gifts, but it is very likely if she incorporates the strategies we have looked at she will be able to put both baskets together for under $40, keeping her $10 under budget! I love saving $ this way, it's awesome!

I hope this weeks tips have inspired you to put together some fun holiday baskets for inexpensive! It's fun to see what you can gather and put together!

Next week we will continue to look at what our savers are putting together this holiday season!

Happy Saving!

Summer H.

No comments: