Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Costco raising their membership fees…

Thanks to for making me aware of the upcoming Membership fee hike from Costco. I didn’t get any notice from Costco or saw in the club but may be its on the way. Anyway, He also posted a real good analysis on how Costco makes money and still shows profit. Check it out at […]

Blackfriday 2009 – Final Shopping Plan

Are you excited about the Black Friday shopping deals with all the hype around?

If you are a first
timer, you better be.  In the last two articles, we saw the trend of Black friday, how you can put together your buy list under the budget using the 5 step strategy.

You have one last thing to do which is plan for the big shopping day. In this article you will see a simple plan that makes your life easier with safe shopping. Whether you are going to start your shopping season on the Black friday or later, the plan filled with tips will surely come-in handy. 

1. Prepare a plan

With families around, it might be hard to find time to draft a plan on the Thanksgiving day. Either involve your family in preparation or do it before Thanksgiving day. It is important to have a plan on which store you want to go and when you want be at the store.  For example, if you want an unbeatable deal of fully powered, high peformance Sony laptop for just $399, you should be at the store at least 5-6 hours early so you one among first 5-10 people for the chance to get this deal. These hot deals are mostly limited in quantity so you have to be among first 10-20 people.  If you only plan to get not so hot items, you can plan to be at the stores couple of hours early before the door opens.

Also with your finalized buy list, you should have an idea which stores you want to hit. Check their opening times and see whether you can go one store after another if they are not opening at same time. Otherwise you might want to decide which item is important to you and go to that store first. If you can join hands with your family and friends it makes easier and fun.

2.Partner with Friends and Families

Divide and Conquer method works very well for Black friday. Partner with family members or ask them to join with you. You can pair up and take different routes and hit different stores. This way you have chance of getting more things on sale instead of hitting them alone.
3. Things you need to take

  • Print outs –  Don’t forget to take print outs of your buy/wish list of items and store flyers if you collected/printed them from blackfriday websites like,
  • Bundle up –  Depending up on your city/state, dress accordingly. In most places it might be cold so bundle up if you are planning to stand in line for hours as per the weather.

  • Cash and Credit cards –  Obviously don’t forget to take enough cash or credit cards to purchase the items. As I mentioned in the previous article, avoid using credit card unless you can pay full next month. If you do plan to use cc, choose the credit cards which adds extra warranty or safety on your purchase.

4. Retailers going High Tech

This Black friday in many ways different from the past as we discussed in the first article of this series. Most importantly, many retailers like StaplesToysrus are using social networking media like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to advertise last minute deals to their subscribers. Don’t forget carry your iphone or  cellphones equiped with text messages to the track and avoid the latest  minute deals.

5. Fast Check out is key

Another trick for faster shopping is to check out faster. You will lose more time in checking out/billing the items at the cash register than picking up the items. So if you are going to shops as a pair, ask one person to stand in check out line as soon as possible when you are crabbing the things. This way as soon as you are done shopping, you can bill your items and on your way to next store.

6. Mail-In Rebate(MIR) reciepts

Don’t forgot get the mail in rebate coupons and reciepts to go with your items. Most of the stores are avoiding MIR this season to reduce cost involved in MIR’s but if you happen to buy an item with MIR, do collect all paper work needed to claim it.

7. Know retailers dirty secrets

Look at the fine print that appears next to an advertised “doorbuster deal” at the bottom of the page in this year’s circulars. It will either say “While supplies last,” “Minimum 2 per store,” “No rainchecks” or “All items are available in limited quantities.” If it says any of these jorgans, you either plan properly to be at the store early to get them or plan to get in different store if it cost bit more.

8. Avoid rush’in

After last year stampede at a Wal-Mart store in New York that led to an employee’s death they are planning to keep it open for 24 hours. The stampede happened because so many of the deals were advertised as limited supply. Plan properly to be at store early and avoid rush’in or try to avoid congestion. 

9. Don’t give up

Many times you can go late to the store even after thee actual opening times and get items on sale if you are lucky. How? Some stores put out the doorbusters in batches and your might be lucky to get them. In other case,  many people who crabbed sale items decided not to get them and throw them in other shelfs, you can just browse the store and might endup getting what you wanted. So don’t give up if you are going after all the opening time. 

10. Drive Carefully and Safe shopping

Black Friday is also one of days for many accidents. Everyone is trying to rush to get things. So be
careful and watch out. You don’t want to get into an accident and lose more than what you want to save to start with.

Hope the shopping plan with tips and tricks were helpful. Come back for Hot picks for this blackfriday and more on mail in rebates.

Photo source:

Black Friday 2009 – 5 Step Strategy to get ready

Yesterday, we started this Black Friday article series with an outlook from last year and what to expect for this year. Whether you are planning to hit the road on Black Friday or going to wait out to shop later, these things to do will come in handy. For easy purpose, it is categorized as Things to do before, on the day and after Black Friday. You should be able to apply these tips  for any shopping season.

1. List down

If you haven’t started already, start the list now. Jot down every shopping item in your mind to avoid forgetting them.  List all the needy and wanna items for you, your family or gifts to others. Whether it is an expensive Tool kit or wife’s big pan set or kid’s Wii game console or last year movie dvd’s, put them all down in one list. It is not your final list, so just don’t worry about scratching anything yet. One list helps you to avoid duplication and guides you to plan in order to accomodate under your budget.

2. Check and Track

“ON SALE” is a very tricky and tacky word and it is a powerful markeing tool especially in America. You can see big SALE sign everywhere during this holiday season. You would never know whether it is actually on sale unless you track the price for a period. Start tracking the prices of all items in your list  in the normal market which is few months early or atleast few weeks before black friday.  It helps you to avoid false marketing gimmicks and make a decision on the particular product to buy on sale or not. Let’s take an example, if an item’s actual price was $25 and they increased to $40 with 25% sales. You will end up paying($30) which is more than the actual price. If you don’t track the actual price and on sale price, you won’t find out the true savings. So don’t rush to buy anything just because they put a sale on an item. 

Few websites which can help you to list and track the items by creating your own shopping list and print them out before you head out.  – Need to register to create your shopping list – Don’t need to register. Start searching and add to the list.

3. Compare

Now you have the of items you wanted and been tracking the actual price and current sale price. It’s time to compare the products and prices. Sometimes you might not find the exact item you are looking and similar item may be on sale in different stores. In that case, you need to compare their quality and price. For example, I want an external hard drive with storage capacity 500 GB – 1TB. I like to be slim and portable. I saw Seagate 1TB hard disk will be in sale for $69.99 in Staples. A similar product’s actual price currently is $114.99 in costco. I also saw 500GB western digital my passbook sleek harddriveone for $69.99 as well. Now I need to compare and see which one is better. You should do the same thing.

4. Shortlist and Finalize

You have the comparison of products but you have to make a decision which one to buy or whether to buy now.  It is totally a personal choice depending on your preference. Someone like to go for quality whereas other’s would like to opt for affordability and priority of the need. Be your own judge and make a decision. In the above example, I am thinking of going for Seagate 1TB from staples since it is from reliable company and I am getting more space for the price.

The websites listed above already started publishing black friday deals. It makes your life easier to compare the prices of the items now and on the sale date and make a decision where and when to buy them. It saves you lot of time and money on the day and protect you from making spot decisions.

5. Start Scrambling…

Alright now you gotta the narrowed down list of items, next comes the tough part. You need to fit them within your budget. You better set you budget and fit in your purchases by priortizing your list giving importance to your much needed items first than your wants.

It is not a good idea to scramble for money at the last minute and I am not a big proponet of it. Usually I recommend to save early for your needs and want. If you already budgeted and saved certain amount, that will come real handy. If you haven’t, there is no better choice than scrambling now from place than worrying later.

If you are planning to use your credit cards, think again. Many credit card companies have increased their rates in the wake of new credit card bill. If you can pay full within a month, go ahead and swipe otherwise think again. You better come up with the amount by slashing your monthly expenses like cutting starbucks coffee or daily expenses.. Try to pay by cash or debit card to avoid future interest charges.   

These 5 step strategy worked very well for me  all these years. I am sure it will help you to have relaxing Black Friday shopping. Come back tomorrow for the things to do on the day of Black friday.