Holiday Shopping: Looking for the Best Deals

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

Holiday shopping cart

Holiday shopping season is already under way, as stores attempt to draw in consumers preparing for the gift giving that comes with this time of year. The National Retail Federation thinks that holiday sales will rise by 4.1% in 2012.

Even though that’s a slower pace than last year, retailers are still looking forward to the coming holiday shopping season, hoping to encourage shoppers with the help of good deals. Some of the things you can expect this holiday season:

Extended Layaway

Some of the more expensive toys can take a long time to pay off when you put them on layaway. However, since layaway started making a comeback a couple of years ago, the terms have usually been limited to four to six weeks.

Now, though, extended layaway is making an appearance. Some stores have been offering up to 12 weeks for layaway. As long as you put a certain amount down (20% is common), you can have a longer period of time to pay off your purchases. This can be helpful, especially if you want access to some of the more expensive hot toys of the year — and want to make sure that you get yours reserved.

Price Matching

In the past, some retailers have struggled as online stores like undercut their prices. Additionally, WalMart’s prices have also undercut some retailers. In order to take advantage of consumer preference, some stores are advertising price matches. One example is Target, which is agreeing to match the online prices at Amazon, WalMart, and Best Buy.

Don’t just assume that it’s only major retailers agreeing to price matches, though. You might find that local stores are willing to match online prices for similar items. If you like a particular retailer, but aren’t impressed with the prices, find out if there’s a match. You might be able to shop where you want and get the price you want.

Early Sales

I’ve already received information about one holiday “friends and family” sale, and one of the local furniture stores had a holiday season sales event, where we picked up a new bookcase. Even though we’re just barely coming up on Halloween, there are holiday sales already underway.

Keep an eye out for early sales, and find out about the price protection guarantees that each store has. In some cases, you can buy something on sale now, and if, within 30 or 60 days, you find it for less somewhere else, you can get a refund of the difference. Find out about the store policies, and you can be prepared to make the most of the deals that stores are offering this holiday season.

Bottom Line

You’re likely to be able to find some good deals this holiday season. Whether you can take advantage of price matching, or whether you use layaway to help you pay off your presents in a more manageable way, there are many ways to save for the holiday shopping season. Find out about store policies and look for online coupons. You might be surprised at what’s available and how much you can save.

What are your best holiday shopping tips? 

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  • Arminius Aurelius says:

    I send out about 45 to 50 Christmas cards every year. What I have done for a good many years now is to buy next year’s Christmas cards the day after Christmas. The same goes for Christmas decorations. They are available for less than half price, BIG SAVINGS.

    Also for anyone with kids or if you yourself likes candies, Christmas candies or cookies are sold dirt cheap the days after Christmas.

  • b says:

    Comparison shopping gets better and better. The apps we have for our smart phones makes us better and smarter shoppers. The layaway plans have been around forever. Walmart and Kmart knows that their clientele needs a way to save by another name. It is very smart.

    I personally love RedLaser on my iPhone. It give me a comparison for prices of item I am shopping for in the location I am shopping. I just scan the UPS code and it tells me what the prices are at store that are close by.


  • Kate says:

    I buy books for the kids, regardless of their age. One of the most popular is called “It’s a Book” — a picture book in which a “modern” young donkey, quite bewildered, queries his friend, a young penguin, about what exactly it is he’s got there. “Does it sing? Does it whistle? How do you change the fonts? How do you charge it up?” The young penguin answers patiently, “No. It’s a book. You can’t change the fonts. It’s a book.” and so on. Finally he reads a page aloud — it proves to be “Treasure Island” and once the young donkey gets his hands on it, he gets intersted and won’t give it back. The last words on the back page are “It’s a book, jackass.” Another popular book is “Monsters Eat Whiny Children.” Plastic electronic crap will fade away in a week. Books are forever.

  • peth says:

    I have not used lay-away but with a daughter-in -law this year I may have to give it a try. Thanks for the good advice

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