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Save Time and Money This Holiday Season

I have a confession to make, I used to go a little crazy with the Black Friday sales. Now that I’ve had 10 years experience I think I’ve almost mastered holiday shopping for our family.

The hardest part for me every year is not to overshop as I start early, and getting home by 6:30am so my husband can go to work. As the kids are older I can’t take them with me anymore… unless we are shopping for daddy.

I just realized that the holidays are fast approaching. It’s time to start making those lists!

To get the best value for your money, requires a little planning.

Look online and find the best prices for the items you want to buy and write them down. Then start checking the weekly ads. When a great deal comes up grab it. Save your receipts (I highly recommend taping them to the item) in case you change your mind or you get a great doorbuster deal so that you can return them.

For example Toys R Us is running a Buy 2 Get the 3rd Free promotion on Video Games at the moment. Our son would like a DS this year and many of the games in the promotion were already reduced in price. I got three games for $42 including taxes and I’ll pick them up in the store. That way I don’t have to worry about the UPS guy leaving a toy store box at the front door and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. I’m on the lookout for a DS now. I’m not sure if I’ll get one in the weeks leading up to Black Friday or on the day.

Ordering online and picking up in store is a great option at Toys R Us and Walmart. It allows you to get the best prices and avoid the shipping costs. Your items are waiting for you at the store to pick up. One reason I do this is because I’ve found that Legos are cheaper online at both stores, sometimes up to $10 less. Toys R Us will price match to it’s own website but I’ve found it to be time consuming if you get the wrong checker and I’ve often ended up back at customer service getting a refund because there was a mistake. There may be a smaller selection available for store pick up but it beats driving from store, to store looking for that one, must have item.

I should mention that I found one snag with this on Black Friday for some high demand online doorbusters as stores have accidently oversold items and buyers were not notified until afterwards. Personally I got a fantastic deal on a large toolbox for my husband and got free shipping from Sears a few years ago.

My plan for our holiday list is like this. Start scanning the weekly ads for deals on our list. Keep the receipts for price matches or return if they go on sale in the next 60 days. As the Black Friday ads start popping up on the internet I check to see if I’ve gotten a good deal and start making my Thursday night shopping plans. Last year I got a great deal on a cricut machine for our sons teacher.

This year I also plan on keeping track of our total spend and all our items to avoid going overboard like last year. We are saving for a family vacation so the kids are more than happy to get a few less items this year.

Have you started your holiday shopping?

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