Monthly Archives: May 2018

Holiday Shopping Frenzy

The Christmas spending frenzy has begun. The shelves and racks are brimming over with products and goods just waiting for you to grab them. Special sales and discounts abound promising to be the best deal ever. Everywhere you look is a promotion or advertisement to buy now, it’s on sale… only for today!

The crowds grow; the push is on to get there before anyone else, to get the deal, to touch the item and to purchase it first. The excitement pulses in the air, the buzz of the holidays is palpable… the concern for fewer days to shop this year motivates us all! To compensate for fewer shopping days, many stores opened on Thanksgiving Day to give us a head start on our Black Friday shopping.

My sister-in-law shared with me that she went into a Target store late in the day on Black Friday and she described the store’s appearance as if a swarm of locusts had come down and swiped the place clean. It was shocking to her how bare the place was and in such disarray; normally the store is organized and well stocked. She asked the clerk what happened and the answer was, “Welcome to Black Friday!”

Truthfully this is shocking behavior, it is so extreme. I wonder why we are so motivated by a sale or discount? When did we hand over our personal power and buying decisions to marketers and advertisers? Are we even aware that we are letting them run the show?

Granted it is captivating and pleasing to get something that we truly want or need at a lower price than normal or expected. It does get the juices flowing to pay considerably less than what it goes for every day. When my laptop gave up the ghost it was satisfying to find a good quality one for hundreds less than I thought I would have to pay to replace it.

Yes it does “get the juices flowing,” just like a ride on a roller coaster, giving us the same thrill and sense of exhilaration. Our adrenalin pumps as the intensity in our bodies increases and as with the excitement of a ride, our focus narrows and all else fades away around us. Only the thrill of the ride, the hunt for the deal is important. We lose the ability to consciously decide to go any other way but the way of the deal. It is often too late to change your mind, as the safety bar comes down, holds us firmly in the car and off we go with a rush out the door or to our computers to buy. We hardly remember the real reason we are buying the thing let alone why we wanted it in the first place.

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, has the intensity of the holiday lessened? Or does the emotion that motivated us on those days still push us to buy, buy, buy? It all depends on you; only you can decide to do it another way.

For many the thrill of the shopping experience is so powerful there is no way to convince them to see it another way. It is not my intent to convince, it is my desire to share another way, to share another path.

What is that path?

The answer may surprise you, for it asks that you let go of something that is so strongly ingrained in our culture; it has taken on the qualities of something sacred. Yet it is actually harmful to your financial well-being.

Let go of the sale.

Release the grasp that buying at a discount, on special or with a coupon has upon you. We have succumbed to the belief that it is somehow virtuous or divine to seek out the sale as if we have been hypnotized by the very idea. To buy any other way is somehow seen as stupid or unwise at best. We take great pride in getting something deeply discounted, we wear it as a badge of honor to have done so.

It is this very belief that keeps you tied to the whims of marketers, advertisers and retailers. It takes away your ability to consciously decide and discern what is best for you and, surprisingly enough, the sale actually hurts you more than you are aware. Studies have shown that we actually spend and buy more AND the savvy retailers, such as the big box stores, know and exploit this psychological fact.

There is a fairly simple solution… do not seek out a sale. Instead, make your list, set your budget for each item on that list and go out on the day that is most convenient to your lifestyle, and buy what is on the list. If the item happens to be on sale, then you will have saved some money. If not, don’t worry, you planned on the purchase so buy it anyway.

One word, or two, of caution… do not be compelled or drawn into buying MORE of the thing that’s on sale. Only buy what is on your list. That will be your biggest challenge because the inner voice is very savvy at convincing you to take advantage of the sale. After all, isn’t that what a smart shopper would do?

My answer to that is NO. It is not what a smart shopper would do. A smart shopper, one that cares about having a healthy money life, would stick to the list and keep on going. The smart shopper would be pleased to have saved money in the process.

The second word of caution is to NOT buy the thing on the list if it costs more than you planned. Find something else that fits your budget.

Keep this foremost in mind… THE SALE is a money blind spot and as is true with blind spots, it is the area you cannot see or hear satisfactorily; your field of vision is impaired. So walk away, do not buy it just because it is on sale.

A Phenomenon Every Employer Has to Come to Grips With

Ever notice how online shopping days almost always occur only during the week, and hardly ever fall on a weekend? Furthermore, you are very unlikely to come across a shopping festival online that encompasses a weekend, unless of course there’s a special holiday or occasion on that particular weekend. And you know what, I have my own theory about this.

This theory has all to do with the fact that people spend lots of their time at work shopping for everything from gadgets such as phones, tablets, cameras, clothes, TVs, furniture, stationery and much more online. Heck, you can even get all your grocery shopping done online, and people are hardly going to spend some of their waking hours at a departmental store, when they can just as easily get it all done from the comfort of their desks at the office, securely ensconced in its oh so well-appointed environs! Furthermore, the internet bandwidth speed is a lot better and quicker round at the office, prompting more employees to put this bandwidth to good use, and get their shopping done quicker and faster. Now, that’s also the reason why you’re likely to find the best deals on anything from corporate gifts online, to the latest fashion accessories during the week.

So take note, employers – the next time any one of your employee seems overly involved with his computer screen, or staring intently into it as if his life depended on it, he or she is most probably involved in hunting for that amazing bargain on the phone that he or she has always coveted, or simply looking for one of the latest gifts for his or her beloved online.

Moreover, now that you think about it, most people at the office are highly unlikely to use up their personal time at home to shop online (unless they absolutely have to) when they can just as well get it all done during their work hours, for reasons stated previously. Besides taking a big bite out of their internet package at home, they would much rather use this time to kick back and relax or even watch the latest television shows or the movie they downloaded just last week. Given the choice between hunting for some corporate gifts online and watching the latest blockbuster, I’m sure you’re smart enough to know what any normal human being would choose to do.

That said, I don’t really think this phenomenon has any real detrimental effect on the way any office functions. Do you remember how offices tried to ban a whole lot of sites in the early days, restricting access to just a few essentials? Well, that’s quite crazy, and extreme given today’s office scenario. Moreover, that just made people look for alternatives such as proxy servers to circumvent these restrictions, and effectively ensured that people devoted less time to their work in the process. Now, however, businesses have woken up, and have allowed employees almost uninhibited use of the internet, and this helps people achieve and enjoy more work life balance. More importantly, this move respects the employees, and trusts them to do the right thing at all times. Sure, they are bound to go looking for bargains on groceries, televisions, mobile phones and corporate gifts online every now and again, but that’s not going to prevent any responsible and reasonable employee from doing justice to his or her role or job, now is it? I definitely don’t think so!

Jump Start on Your Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping is one of the most stressful, all consuming chores of the year and yet it seems to always sneak up on you. After 10 or 11 long months of peace and quiet, the malls fill up, the lights go up, and the season is upon us. But, Christmas doesn’t need to be a stressful, painful time this year. Instead, you can spend less money, get your shopping done earlier, and relax in those busy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a change. Here are a few tips to help you get there.

Stop Going to the Stores

Shopping online is a great option for most items on your holiday gift lists. Buying toys, electronics, books, and novelty items online can save you time and money. A lot of great deals can be found online. This isn’t the best way to shop for everything on your list, but you can take care of a lot of holiday shopping this way.

Also, most online retailers offer free shipping on orders over a certain size. It’s not too hard to meet these minimums, especially if you’re buying for several people at once. If you’re buying gifts for people you’re not going to be seeing over the holidays, or who live far away, you can have their presents shipped directly to them. Often you can even have them gift wrapped before they’re shipped. Just make sure you place your orders early enough so that you don’t wind up paying extra for expedited shipping.

Get Christmas Lists Early

The earlier you know what those special people on your list want, the earlier you can go out and get it. It’s as simple as that. Getting the bulk of your holiday shopping done early will allow you to avoid those crazy holiday crowds, as well as significantly reducing your stress as the holidays get closer. That way, you can sit back and enjoy the holiday season instead of fighting the crowds at the malls.

Skip the Big Shopping Days

Sure there are good deals to be had on the traditional major holiday shopping days. The truth is though that there are often better deals available during one day sales and other holiday promotions put on by individual retailers. In fact, most of the major deals on Black Friday are reserved for a few big items.

Plus, fighting the crowds to save a few dollars often really isn’t worth it. If you’ve planned ahead and done a significant amount of your shopping online already, you can hit some one day sales later on in the holiday shopping season. You’ll likely wind up spending less money overall because you won’t be making rushed and impulsive purchases just to get one more name crossed off either.

Black Friday and Black Monday

Many People would like to make money on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Black Monday, the monday after Thanksgiving, but are not certain what to sell. Here is a list of some great items to post on eBay to make some great money:

Super Mario Galaxy. This game is going t be extremely hot, and with the limited sales of the Wii in retail stores, the internet sales of the Wii are going to be very high. If Super Mario Galaxy were included in the sale of the Wii, the profits would be great. Super Mario Galaxy is the first Mario player game for the Wii and has had rave reviews so far.

Star Trek Memorabilia. The new movie is on its way, and soon a new generation of Trekkies will be born. Also, the original movies are going to be shown on TV over the holidays and should generate some great traffic on eBay. Star Trek items usually sell for much more than the original purchase price, and one Titanium Powerseller in particular that I work with sells only Star Trek items.

Baby Alive Dolls. (UK and Australia site) The Baby Alive Dolls are going very fast in the UK and Australia site. Though they do well in America also, and should be a great seller over the holidays, the UK and Australia sites will make money, even if you buy them retail at your local Wal-Mart. The new dolls sleep, speak, and laugh as well as the old things they used to do. (eat and poop)

All things Harry Potter. Though the books may be over (supposedly) the items on eBay were hot and then died off. They will return in full force this holiday season. Harry Potter will be a huge seller.

Biggest Shopping Days and Seasons

Black Friday is not the only big shopping day of the year. There are plenty of other days that are giving it a run for its money. However, it is still the leader with its fantastic deals after Thanksgiving Day. But what are the other shopping days and seasons throughout the year that are proving to be quite profitable for businesses? We know that there are more than one.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day in which mom is honored for everything that she has done. It is that one day a year where everyone stops and thinks, ‘Thanks mom for everything you have done for me.’ There are so many gifts that are made available to buy mom such as flowers and even electronics. It has been advertised and hyped up to the point where mom receives gifts similar to what she would receive on her birthday or Christmas.

As for Father’s Day, unfortunately, dad is second place to mom. Father’s Day is still an incredible shopping day, but it definitely does not come with all of the hype that Mother’s Day does. This isn’t to say that dad isn’t appreciated, because he is. It’s just that dads aren’t really gift receivers like mom unless they simply don’t want to admit how excited it makes them, even if you do buy them a tie each year.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is another day in which appreciation is shown for your significant other. That’s when the department and food stores start stocking up on roses, various flowers, and boxes of chocolates. There are even stuffed animals and balloons thrown in there to make the day special. This is also a huge shopping day for jewelry stores because this is a day in which a lot of proposals for marriage are made. It may seem a little cliché, but a lot of restaurants seem to set the mood on this particular day, making it perfect for that marriage proposal.

Christmas and Black Friday

The Christmas shopping season is kicked off by Black Friday. It is that shopping day after Thanksgiving in which stores offer up door buster deals by opening their doors at 5:00 a.m. and letting the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people into their stores to scoop up the best deals of the season. In all reality, it is the best time of year to shop for such items as clothes, toys, and various other gift items.

Once Black Friday begins, the stores remain busy until Christmas Eve as shoppers are taking advantage of last minute deals to get their last minute shopping done. This explains why these stores have to have extended hours and why they have to have seasonal help. This is by far the busiest shopping season of the year. Where Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are all busy periods, the Christmas shopping season lasts just a little under a month. All of the rest only last for a matter of days to a week and that is it.

There you have it!

So there you have it, a rundown of the biggest and busiest shopping days and seasons of the year. Although there are other busy seasons, such as Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, these are item-specific seasons. You’re either buying food or fireworks. These other seasons are huge money-makers for businesses. They are also great times for people to do their online shopping because of all of the sales that encourage people to buy more. So whatever your favorite shopping season is, be sure to find the best deals and to have fun.