Pinch A Christmas Penny

My favorite shopping day of the year is a toss up between Black Friday and the day after Christmas. The key to black Friday is to have a plan. After you are in a turkey coma on Thanksgiving day surround yourself with those fabulous adds, a notebook and a pen. Each page in your notebook will represent a separate store. Go through your adds and make notes in your notebook of awesome deals at each store. Make a notation of any time restrictions at each store for certain items. Ex. Early bird specials 5 -7 am. etc. Be careful to make sure your black Friday deal is truly a deal. $5 off a $50 product is NOT a good black Friday deal. But getting a $250 coffee maker for $70 IS a good deal. AS LONG AS YOU DRINK COFFEE OR HAVE SOME ONE TO GIVE THE COFFEE MAKER TOO AS A PRESENT! If you are getting the item JUST because it is a good deal does not make it a deal unless you have a purpose for said item. It has taken me a LONG time to learn this. Just ask my husband!

Items that I specifically go Black Friday shopping for are sheets, towels, duvets, feather beds, table cloths, kitchen gadgets and memory cards for your digital camera. For some reason I have always been able to find wonderful deals on these items. But you need to prioritize your list. If you know they have a wonderful deal on an electronic go to that store first. Electronics are always the first to go. Another tip is to see if more than one store is running the same or similar deal on the same item. That way if the Big Box store runs out of your electronic the smaller box store still might have some left over. If you are able to get several deals at one store that you know will be busy go there first, take a buddy and divide a conquer the store. Each of you going specifically for a particular item. The key is not to get distracted by other shoppers or in store specials. Go for your advertised item and get it. Everyone has the same add and probably will be going for the same thing. If you happen to see an in store, non-advertised special, make mental note of it and return after you have crossed off all your items on your list.

Also it is key to ASK a sales person where the items are located in the store. I also try to ask an associate whom I know is not seasonal help. The seasonal help is pretty easy to pick out. They usually have the deer in the headlights look as the public descends on the store. Their hands are usually in their pockets and they are trying to blend into display racks. Chances are if you ask this person they are going to have to go ask some one because they are "new' or "don't know". Save yourself time and just avoid them.

On to the day after Christmas sales. Use the same preparation as you did for Black Friday sales. This time you are going to be shopping for NEXT Christmas. Look for strings of Christmas lights, storage for your Christmas items, the bath products and candles that are holiday scented. These items do not go bad and will be just as fabulous next year.

After you get home with your treasures it is time to sort. Make a list either in your little notebook or in your computer of the items, what they cost and whom they are to be gifted to next year. The key here is to keep track of what you spent on whom. Come next Christmas you can pull out your list on Black Friday and see how much you have already spent on each person ( but you did get a great deal LAST day after Christmas) and use the adds to fill in the holes in your list. I also add to the list through out the year as I find items on clearance tables or have a great coupon. The idea is to look and see if you would buy the item for the person if it was NOT such a great deal. If you WOULD and it is a steal of a price....you are a great penny pincher!

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