2010 Shopping Season: Smart Gifts

2010 Shopping Season Smart Gifts

With the holiday season local and national retailers want to be successful and they’re turning to some new tactics to improve their chances.

Retailers are trying to make everything available to customers knowing that last year was kind of rough. They are seeking market share and are willing to offer greater discounts to get it.

Holiday sales are expected to increase 2.3%, which is better than the past two dismal years, but shy of a normal year, which would be a 2.5% increase, a trade group says.

Many shoppers will be pinching pennies during the 2010 shopping season. But with a bit of planning and a few financial tips, shoppers can survive the season by spending wisely and avoiding debt.

Specialist advices:

1. Plan out how much you are going to spend for each person and stick to the plan. Make a list and try to decide your gift items ahead of time.

2. Try to find retailers that offer ‘gifts under a certain dollar amount’ strategies. They generally merchandise these items in one location at the store and you know what (price range) you’re getting into before arriving to shop.

3. Make your shopping early to get the best results. Promotions and sales start earlier every year. Not only do y ou get what you want, but it might be less expensive.

4. Use a credit card, make it work for you with a payback or rewards system, redeem points for gift cards and use these as holiday gifts.

5. Use layaway plans at retailers. Such programs were phased out in recent decades, according to www.todaysbudget.com, many retailers are bringing back the programs as a way to promote buying during tight economic times. Layaway is putting money down on items at the store that are then saved in the storeroom allowing customers to make payments over time. Once the item is paid in full, the buyer simply takes the item home having spread out the payments for the item.

Avoid mistakes:

You don’t track holiday spending. You spent how much on decorations, wrapping paper, and stocking stuffers? Those little holiday spends can add up to a lot if you’re not careful. Not tracking all those little splurges and expenses can leave you with a huge bill to pay in the months that follow.

You don’t look for a discount. Paying full price for anything when a better deal can be found can turn any Santa into a Scrooge! Many last minute shoppers are too desperate to find a deal when the big deadline looms.

You buy the cheapest items only to discover that they do not last long. Look for durable and quality items from known and reputable brands. High quality gifts can be found at bargain prices due to the competitiveness nature of retailers during the holidays.

You don’t shop at home first. Filling your shopping cart with holiday decorations, gifts such as stocking stuffers, and food supplies is a big money mistake if you already have the things at home. Buying stuff you already own adds clutter and costs money that could be spent in better ways.

Photo by flickr.com/photos/9621958@N04
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