Category Archives: Shopping

Cyber Monday Can Offer the Best Online Shopping

The rise of the internet brought about an online shopping sale where consumers find the best buy on Cyber Monday.

Most holiday shoppers are familiar with Black Friday but more and more bargain hunters are getting geared up for Cyber Monday, which is when many retailers offer their best online shopping deal. With internet shopping now such a part of the mainstream, many consumers head to cyber space in search of their best buy. Cyber Monday is traditionally the day that kicks everything off.

Unlike Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving when many Americans head to the mall for considered the start of holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday shoppers stay at home in searching for the best online shopping sale.

The quest for the best online shopping deal really took off in earnest in the middle of the first decade of this century. During that time stores began to notice a drop off in holiday traffic. By the end of the season, large retail chains found that there profits weren’t affected by the drop in holiday traffic. Upon analyzing the data, those retailers came to realize that shoppers were beginning to avoid the mall, opting instead to use their computers to locate the best buy. Cyber Monday was born.

Retailers have embraced these shoppers. While large chains still offer outstanding deals to their Black Friday shoppers, many are now also offering an online shopping sale, too. Online retailers also go all out during this time frame. For example, ReStockIt.com, an online retailer of home and office supplies, offers the 12 Days of Deals where everything holiday related on the site is available for up to 60 percent. The promotion features giveaways like an iPad to shoppers.

As the internet continues to become a more integral part of our lives, and increasing number of shoppers will look online for their best buy. Cyber Monday is here to stay.

After Cyber Monday, the next big shopping day to look for doesn’t yet have a name. It’s found in the middle of December, but doesn’t have a set date on the calendar. Look for the last day most retailers will guarantee shipping in time for Christmas and you will find what some are calling the last cyber shopping day of the holidays.

Women and Shopping Tips

Shopping is something that most women love to do. Window-shopping is a great past time. The woman takes her time to go from store to store to research and compare store prices. Most women don’t need expert shopping tips because shopping is so natural to them. However, there are some that do.

I think shopping is a talent. Women have even made personal shopping a career where they do other people’s shopping for them and get paid. Doing something that you already love to do and getting paid to do it is truly a dream come true for a personal shopper.

The mall is a popular place where women go to shop for clothes, shoes, jewelry, gifts, phones, and household items like bed linen, bathroom rugs, pots, pans, and lamps. Women are passionate about this past time and take pleasure in spending hours and load of cash on buying items that peak their interest or that can fit.

People shop at certain times of the year for gift items. Christmas, Birthdays, Valentines, Easter, Mother’s day and Father’s day are some special occasion that calls for shopping for loved ones, friends and coworkers. For birthdays, women shop for their husbands, children or boyfriend. Birthday gifts range from books, clothing, games to spa treatment or dining out. Children’s birthday gifts are easier for women to buy because they usually know that toys, games, books, and clothing are what most children love anyway. Valentines shopping comes with flowers and chocolate as well as a night out on the town.

Christmas is where most women spend their money on family and friends. This is where commercial shopping meets credit card payments. Women go all out to buy items for Christmas gifts and do not consider the aftermath of the bills that follow. The day after Thanksgiving is also a big shopping day for most American women. They get up early in the morning to join a long line of shoppers to purchase discounted items especially jewelry. This sale prepares them to fill up the Christmas gift wrappers and avoid spending more money than necessary. It is sometimes amazing to watch women stampeding and pushing each other the moment the store doors are opened.

Easter is mostly bunnies, eggs, gift baskets and cards. This is the time of year when women get sentimental and get involved with Easter because of their children and because they love the season. Children love to paint eggs and have egg-hunting contest. Women will purchase the eggs and make the pretty gift baskets and bunnies to make their children look good at the school event.

Mother’s day and Father’s day are more personalized. Depending on what the woman’s mother or father loves, that is what she will shop for. A mother may love diamonds, household goods, a mother’s day card, gift certificate, flowers, and a variety of other selections. Fathers may like things like jewelry, apparel, gift certificates and much more. Each woman will know what her parents love and may even shop for something different on occasion.

How to Buy Vintage Jewelry

Some of the best places to find great vintage costume jewelry are thrift shops. You’ve seen the big stores – Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers…and then there are the charity shops run by churches and non-profits. All of them receive donated jewelry, and I have found some amazing pieces in thrift shops. It seems to me that the larger chain shops have better prices than the smaller charity shops, but it really depends on who is pricing the jewelry when they put it out for sale. Some shop employees are very savvy about values, but some aren’t and they often price jewelry very low. Maybe they figure that if it isn’t real gold it isn’t worth much. Good for us!

Thrift shop shopping has lost the stigma of being just junk shops or places where the down-and-out shop.

A great tip is to become friendly with the staff of the shops that you visit. One clerk lets me rummage through the jewelry bins before she prices them and puts them out on the floor. Another lets me know when they get a large amount of jewelry donated.

Find out when the shop has their specials. One store in my town has a 30% Senior discount on Wednesdays. Guess which day is my shopping day!

Sometimes the shop management will put a large amount of jewelry in a plastic bag and sell the bag for a fixed price. If you find these, examine the bag as closely as you can – you won’t be allowed to open it, and there’s lots of junk in there, mostly stuff that didn’t sell, and often lots of plastic Mardi Gras beads. I bought these bags a few times, and it was fun sorting through everything, but I wound up donating most of it to a nursing home for crafts projects. I have found a few really nice pieces this way, but I don’t think it was really worth the time and trouble.

Most thrift shops have a glass case where they keep the better stuff. Ask to see pieces that interest you, and examine them closely. Look closely at the racks where they usually hang the cheaper stuff. I found a sterling silver Native American belt buckle, with a turquoise stone in it and signed by the artist, hanging in a zip lock bag on a rack. I bought it for $2.80 and sold it on eBay for $52! It was badly tarnished, but I polished it up and it was beautiful.

There always seem to be lots of watches in those cases. Beware of copies of famous makes, and buy only name brands that you recognize. Make sure the band is in good condition and that there are no scratches on the crystal. The watch probably won’t be working, so plan to spend $5 to $7 for a battery. If you’re buying for resale, be sure to include the cost of a battery to see if the watch is worth buying. You’re taking a chance there – it might not work even after a new battery is installed.

Whether you are buying jewelry for your own collection or for resale, there are several things to look for when examining thrift shop jewelry.

1. Condition, condition, condition: You are going to come across all kinds of jewelry in all kinds of condition. Look for broken clasps, missing stones, worn metal finishes, and any green material on gold tone jewelry. The green stuff is corrosion, and it can’t be cleaned off. Pass on that one. Check that stone settings are tight, and if they aren’t, be careful with the piece – you should be able to tighten them. If the piece is dirty you can clean it. Bring a jeweler’s loupe or strong magnifying glass so you can examine the piece closely.

2. Is the piece signed? The name on the back of a pin or earring, on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet, or on an earring clip is the “signature” of the designer. Signed pieces can be more valuable than unsigned, but there are also many many “unsigned beauties” out there. Look for the name, and if there is a copyright symbol ©, that means the piece was made after about 1955. No symbol – you probably have a real vintage piece. Look for the numbers 925 on silver jewelry – that means it’s sterling silver, and if the price is right, you’ve got a steal.

3. Price: It’s hard to put a price on thrift shop jewelry – the cheaper, the better, of course! I try not to spend more than $3 for a pin, bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings. You might come across something really spectacular that costs more, and if you think you can profit from it, or you want it for yourself, go ahead and buy it. A good rule of thumb when shopping thrift shops is this: If you like it but aren’t sure, set yourself a limit, say $5. If it turns out to be not so great, you’re not out that much. As mentioned, some thrift shop employees know more about jewelry, and will price some pieces too high for you to sell and make a profit. But there seems to be quite a bit of employee turnover in these shops, so the next person pricing jewelry might not be as knowledgeable.

After Christmas is a good time to pick up Christmas jewelry. Some shops will mark down holiday items to get rid of them, other shops just store them away for next year.

I love shopping at thrift shops – just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Every trip is a treasure hunt. Some days are slim pickin’s, but some days are very rewarding. Just yesterday I got 10 pieces for $15 – several are sterling silver, and one piece may be jade – I’m still not sure.

Be consistent in your thrift shop shopping. Try to go out every week, and find out when the shops have their special promotions. Most of the large chain shops put out new merchandise all day long, some other shops restock on certain days. Find out when those are, and get there early.

Read books about costume jewelry, and become knowledgeable, so when you shop the thrift shops you’ll be armed with information. Have fun with it, get to know the thrift shop staff, and you’ll come home with some fabulous jewelry at fabulous prices.

Tips for Getting Fabulous Cyber Monday

For as long as I can remember, Black Friday was THE shopping day of the season. Since it kicked off the official holiday shopping term, it was the one day when you could save some serious cash on everything from socks to electronics. In recent years, though, Cyber Monday has quietly usurped the top position with over 95 million Americans doing their shopping on this day vs. the 79 million Americans who shopped in retail stores Black Friday in 2009.

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. It developed over the years because it was the first day that people went back to work after the Thanksgiving. Employees would use the company’s high speed internet to do their holiday shopping online. Retailers took notice of the spike in their web traffic and began offering Cyber Monday deals that rivaled their Black Friday offers.

In addition to being incredibly easy and convenient, you can score some good deals with the Cyber Monday specials offered by retailers. Here are some tips for getting the most out of this popular online shopping event.

Tips

Do your homework – Since you are shopping online, you won’t have the benefit of being able to see or touch the products. Therefore, do some window shopping and get the model numbers, sizes, colors – all the pertinent information about the products you want to buy. This will help make sure you order the right thing.

Shop at places that offer free shipping – If you are not careful, the cost of shipping can easily gobble up the money you save shopping on Cyber Monday. Look for places that offer free shipping deals. This can save you another 20% off the cost of the product.

Get online early to avoid digital congestion – Just like the stores on Black Friday, websites will be inundated with internet visitors on Cyber Monday. This can affect the site’s loading time and slow your shopping to a crawl; especially if you are using a dial up service. Get up extra early to avoid the rush.

Shop early to get the good stuff – Another reason to shop early is that quantities may be limited. Many retail stores will have deals throughout the day. Since they don’t want to give away the store, they will often limit coupons and quantities to the first few hundred people who checkout online. If you want to get the deal, be at your computer before everyone else.

Shop for electronics online – Retailers know that most people who shop online for Cyber Monday deals are tech savvy. Therefore, they will usually offer some awesome deals on electronics. Instead of risking life and limb to get them on Black Friday, wait until Cyber Monday and enjoy front door delivery.

Make friends with RetailMeNot – This is a website that specializes in providing coupon codes for all of the major retailers online. To save additional money, you should have this site open so you can search for Cyber Monday coupon codes quickly and apply them easily.

Shop at an all in one website – To save time and money, pick a one stop shop website that serves as a portal to multiple retail stores. The main benefit of using this type of website is that you can comparison shop prices without having to surf from one site to another. The site where I shop has a powerful search engine that will help you seek out the best deals and potentially earn you cash back on your purchases.

Amazon.com is a big player in the online shopping world. Last year, it was the number one most visited retailer on Cyber Monday for the third year in a row. However, a fast rising competitor, Kaching Kaching, is giving the internet retailer a run for its money. The company directly contracts with manufacturers to get the best price on over one million brand named products including HP, GPS from Garmin, Canon, and Cuisinart. Every day they have an incredible Deal of the Day where you can get hot items such as Wii and Xbox below market price.

There is nothing like the thrill of getting the best deal. Be smart and you could save hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts this Cyber Monday.

If you are serious about saving money this Cyber Monday then check out my online shopping mall [http://www.debbierussell.net]. All the brands you trust at the prices you’ll love.

Will Global Warming Keep Them Shopping Thru Winter

In the summer time, great weather competes with the shopping consumers and hurts retail sales. This year retail sales are being hurt by Chinese Toy recalls, and the credit crunch in real-estate effecting consumer confidence and curtailing rising credit card limits. In the Winter time warm weather near the Holiday Christmas Season gives consumers more time to shop.

If Global Warming is real as per the expert Former Vice President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Inventor of the Internet Al Gore then this will be a warmer Winter and retail stocks will soar to new heights. If he is incorrect on Global Warming then there will be fewer shopping days and therefore retail stocks will plunder down further than the DVD sales of Inconvenient Truth, the academy award winning documentary by Al Gore.

This will be the test to see if Al Gore’s vision for the future flooding of mankind will come to fruition. Will the World flood into a new modern Waterworld, Hollywood movie and allow Al Gore a sequel to Inconvenient Truth? Will the surface of our planet turn into Hell on Earth as predicted with biblical style flooding? Will the flood of retail buyers go to clothing retailers to by shorter skirts, bathing suits and sunglasses to shade the sun?

This Christmas shopping season already looks as if it is dimming, but will Al Gore’s luck continue, is there are Part II to the first movie and will the world flood on schedule and as hoped for by the Nobel Peace Prize winner? Time will tell, if Global Warming is real, with the forth quarter reporting of America’s top retailers. Sincerely, Lance.

Shopping For Christmas Dinner

In the months before Christmas you have to start thinking about how much budget you’ve got to spend on the whole event.

If your food budget is going to be small then you need to plan ahead and pick up an extra item each week prior to doing your Christmas shop. This can result in you having all the extras in and ready before you do the big shop for your Christmas Dinner. Take advantage of special offers too – look for vouchers enticing you to spend money now. If the items in question can be frozen or stored until Christmas then it can be advantageous to buy them using a discount voucher.

Some people use savings stamps at the supermarket as a way of paying for their Christmas. It can work well if you’re not into saving at the bank, and you can often get a couple of free vouchers if you’ve started saving by a particular date. Have a read of the leaflets about the savings stamp scheme and you might find that it’s worth you saving a couple of pounds each week in savings stamps. The brilliant thing is about them, if you get short of cash part way through the year you could always buy your groceries with them!

Use the weeks when you don’t spend much to stock up on groceries that have long off use by dates. It’s a great plan to keep a couple of bags of pasta in the cupboard as it’s a cheap way of having a meal. Always read the dates on items when you’re shopping. This applies to cans on BOGOFs as well as items that are in the fresh or chilled sections.

Look at bulk buying items too. Bigger packs of meat can be split up and frozen separately so you can the food in portion sized amounts. If you find bacon and sausages on offer and freeze the packets whole then unless you always use a full packet at a time, this can result in wastage. If you use 2 rashers of bacon at a time then use greaseproof paper and bags to separate up the items into proper portions.

Buying your vegetables for Christmas as last minute as possible is a good way of getting them in fresh, but you run the risk of them selling out, so plan when you’re going and if you’re going on the last shopping day, go early!

If you’re planning on cooking turkey, ask at the butchers counter if you can order your turkey in advance. Many supermarkets will allow you to place an order for the size of turkey, or turkey crown that you want. This means you’re not forced into buying one that’s way too big at the last minute.

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.