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Save on holiday gifts and entertaining

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

Black Friday sales get a lot of buzz, but waking in the wee hours and battling department store crowds the day after Thanksgiving isn t the only way to save money on holiday gifts. People get in a little bit of a frenzy [on Black Friday], thinking they have to buy because it s on sale right now, says Teri Gault, founder of The Grocery Game (thegrocerygame.com), author of Shop Smart, Save More, and co-producer of Super Saver Showdown on The OWN Network. It pays off to do your homework, and you can do that online pretty easily. Gault says to look for steals online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, dubbed Cyber Monday (see Plugged in column, page 4). You can maximize already-low prices by using promo codes for extra discounts or free shipping. Find promotional codes online by doing an Internet search for the name of a store with the words promo code. Gault also recommends the website RetailMeNot.com, which provides reliable promo codes for many online retailers. You enter the code at the checkout screen, and the discount is automatically applied to your order.

Unexpected places

Bargain hunters may find deals in unexpected places. Gault says many convenience stores, supermarkets, and home improvement stores stock specialty gift items around the holidays. You might score a perfume set at a deep discount at a convenience store or a children s toolset at a home improvement store, Gault says. You may also find perfect hostess gifts like boxes of chocolate or scented candles on sale at supermarkets. Convenience stores and supermarkets have all kinds of gifts they don t want to have the day after Christmas, so they will start putting those things on clearance, Gault says. Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch (AndreaWoroch.com), who has been featured onGood Morning Americaand CNN, says sometimes procrastination can pay. She tells shoppers to put off some purchases until December 17, known as Free Shipping Day, because that is when many online retailers begin offering free shipping in time for Christmas delivery. She says to visit FreeShippingDay.com to check which online retailers are participating. This also gives you time to research gift ideas and save up so you don t have to charge everything, Woroch says. For big-ticket electronics like iPads, Woroch says you can get significant discounts by purchasing refurbished models. Refurbished electronics may be nearly good as new and often come with a manufacturer warranty. She says Apple, Dell, and Best Buy all sell discounted refurbished electronics. Since many consumers return electronics after opening, even though there was nothing wrong with the item, retailers still have to sell those goods as refurbished or previously owned so the quality is still there, Woroch says. Gift cards make great presents for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list (like teenage grandchildren!). Woroch says you can save on gift cards by purchasing them on GiftCardGranny.com, a site where people sell unwanted gift cards at a discount. You can save up to 20% on e-gift cards to retailers, restaurants, and movie theaters and have your selection delivered immediately, Woroch says.

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