I never thought I’d be the one to jolt parents into a shopping frenzy…but after a few years of last-minute shopping blitz experience under my belt, I’ve decided to act on my biggest New Years resolution for 2010. It’s that I won’t put myself through procrastination-induced holiday madness this year…and there’s plenty of room for you on my bandwagon. And so with that, I offer a few tips below to help bring some organization to your festive chaos.
Make a list and set a budget. List the kids you plan to buy gifts for, the type of gifts you plan to buy, and how much you plan to spend. Make sure to include alternate items in case you can’t find an item on your list.
Research items before you buy. This is easier than ever with millions of product reviews at your fingertips…the best toy resource for parents is TTPM.com. They’re the only site with video reviews that feature the toys removed from the actual packaging, assembled and fully demo’d…so that parents know what to expect and how their child will use the product.
Deploy a virtual deal finder. A “sale” price isn’t always the “best” price. Check out shopping comparison on any toys at TTPM’s toy reviews. They aggregate by the category you’re shopping for and you can sort by price and related deals (free shipping, etc.)
If you’re not couponing…you’re throwing money away. Coupons are the best way to save money on what you’re already planning to buy. And today, Coupons.com is launching a new coupon code search site for toys that lets parents search by the item they want to find with at the best deals and prices, online and off.
Get ahead of the pack. Easier said than done, but it’s the best way to get the products you want and to avoid costly last-minute shipping. For instance, some retailers like Toys R Us (tru.com) are giving online access to their Black Friday deals the week before Thanksgiving through their Facebook page and loyalty programs. And “free shipping” and “price matching” offers will also abound early on retail and brand sites.
Get organized. Print and save all confirmations of your purchases – and make a note of return policies and dates. This will help with returning or exchanging items or verifying credit card and bank statements.
Shop on the eve of a big sale. Shop at a store after 6:00 p.m. the evening before a sale is advertised to begin. Many retailers program the registers the night before, so the sale may already come up in the register even if they have not changed out signs on the selling floor yet. Ask the associate in advance for any possible upcoming sales, especially on big ticket items.