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9 December 2013

Cyber Month: A Non-Stop Shop-aganza

Still waking up to emails in your inbox with subjects such as, “BIG SAVINGS NOW!”, “SURPRISE 40% OFF SALE!” “EXCLUSIVE HOLIDAY DEALS!” and “LAST CHANCE FOR 60% OFF!”?

You aren’t alone.

In fact, any consumer who’s ever signed up for a retailer’s newsletter (that’d be pretty much everyone on the planet) has been wading through a flurry of such emails for a while; since before Thanksgiving and before Black Friday and certainly before Cyber Monday. And here we are, over a week after the turkeys digested, still receiving those same emails.

Welcome to cyber month.

Cyber month: A month full of blowout sales, mouth watering markdowns and can’t-resist-pop-up specials designed to get consumers to spend as much as humanely possible. You can expect those emails to flood your inbox up until the day before Christmas.

Sure, the thought of seemingly endless discounts is reason to celebrate for some. Heaven knows I’ve spent more than I should have in the past week alone. Not just on gifts, but on myself! How’s that for holiday spirit?

Still, for some consumers on a mission to snag the best prices, all these deals can be overwhelming. For starters, there’s a lot to choose from, making anyone on a budget feel a little panicked and unsure of their purchases. It’s also hard to tell whether a retailer’s inflated prices on items just to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal than you actually are. Lastly, people are wary of pushing the “complete checkout” button for fear they’ll find the same item on sale in tomorrow’s batch of retail emails.

One of those worriers? Know that there are ways to side step the stress of holiday shopping.

1. Ultimately, your best bet is to only buy things you previously had on your “to buy” list. It’s hard to resist sales, but if you didn’t need it before it went on sale, you don’t need it now.

2. It’s also smart to do some research to see what the price the item actually retails for (especially on electronics). This is harder to do for clothing, but if it was previously on your “to buy list” you likely had an idea of what it cost in the first place.

3. Review the retailer’s return policy and then save your tags and receipts. If, after a week, you begin regretting your decision or find another item you like more for a better price, return your purchase.

4. Lastly, when you can, shop at retailers who price match. The website/app DealScience has compiled a short list of stores that do price match:

Department stores:

  • Sears: 100%
  • Kohl’s: 100%
  • JCPenney: 100%
  • Target: 100%
  • Walmart: 100%

Specialty stores:

  • BestBuy: 110%
  • Fry’s: 110%
  • Home Depot: 110%
  • Lowe’s: 110%
  • Staples: 100%
  • Expedia: 100%
  • Hotels.com: 100%

What are your thoughts on “cyber month”? Overwhelmed and shopped out? Or are you reveling in the joys of two fortnights of discounts supreme? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

By Wendy Rose Gould



Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 11:00 AM
Opinions , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |


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13 November 2013

The Best Things to Buy Throughout Winter: Boots, Coats, Champagne and .......

Obviously winter calls for clothing that keeps you warm, makeup that makes your skin glow and travel tickets to visit family (or leave family…). Today, though, we’re dishing on the best shopping deals throughout the winter months — buys that make financial sense in the long run.

Boots

While flip flops and strappy sandals reign supreme during the hot and humid months, boots take over the feet of women across the globe once temperatures turn. No matter the style, boots keep your tootsies warm and toasty, making them the no-brainer choice when putting together your cold weather ensembles.

You’d think they’d be most expensive now, but that’s not the case. Designers are already thinking about spring and summer shoes again, which means fall and winter kicks are on sale. Whether you’re shopping for classic riding boots, dressy ankle booties or furry, cozy Uggs, buy during the winter.

Winter Apparel

The same rule that applies to boots also applies to winter clothing. In the same way designers are thinking about spring and summer shoes, they’re also thinking ahead to warm-weather apparel. Look for deals on layer-able clothing (e.g., cardigans, blazers, scarves and vests) and outerwear (e.g., coats and jackets).

Tip: The later into winter you go, the lower prices will become. Keep in mind, though, that merchandise dwindles and the selection becomes sparse as spring approaches.

Jewelry and Accessories

Post-Christmas through mid-January is considered a “non gift giving” period, making it an ideal time to snag hot deal on jewelry and accessories. Post-Valentine’s Day through March is also a good time to buy jewelry. This goes for fine jewelry (e.g., diamonds, gems, gold and silver) and less expensive, costume jewelry.

Keep an eye out for fliers in the mail or email updates from retailers during these short weeks. It’s also a wise move to subscribe to their social media feeds, where consumers have access to exclusive deals.

Electronics

January and February are some of the best months to buy electronics. This is true for several reasons. First, the holiday shopping rush has come to a quiet lull, inciting retailers to knock a few percentage points off their merch. Secondly, January is when the world famous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) occurs.

During CES, new electronic models are debuted and, consequently, the “old” merchandise gets put on sale to make way for the new goods’ imminent presence. If you’re in the market for a new smart phone, a fancy camera or even a TV, buy during winter.

Champagne

This December, celebrate your good deals on champagne with…champagne! Because New Year’s Eve is fast approaching — and because retailers are elbowing each other out of the way to make the sale — you’ll find that champagne, on the whole, is cheaper than normal. Why not stock up for the next few months?

Keep an eye out for coupons or store specials. Also sign up for email newsletters, where you’ll find some of the best deals, and social media blasts. Another tip for saving money: buy in bulk. Many retailers give a nice discount off your entire purchase when you buy six or more bottles of the same product. A discount on top of the discount? This calls for more champagne…

By Wendy Rose Gould



Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 12:00 AM
Opinions , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |


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4 October 2013

Compulsive Shopping. Buyer's Remorse. Shopper's Guilt.

Compulsive Shopping. Buyer’s remorse. Shopper’s guilt.

These are terms, and feelings, that many consumer are all too familiar with. Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked out of a store — or clicked the “commit to buy” button — not quite sure why you bought every item in your bag.  Or if, days or weeks later, you regretted a purchase and kicked yourself for spending all that money on an item you didn’t really need or want in the first place.

The truth is that we live in a culture that tells us to buy, buy, buy. A culture in which competing with or impressing your “neighbor” is high on the priority list. And when I say neighbor, I’m not just talking about the person who lives down the hall or on your cul de sac. I’m referring to coworkers, friends, family members and basically everyone who passes you on the street.

Over shopping and the resulting guilt is a real issue. Here are three ways to shop smarter and prevent any post-spree remorse.

3 Ways to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse


Don’t Get Swept Up in the Clearance Rack Frenzy

As shoppers, we often fall prey to clearance racks and big sales events. It’s why Black Friday is such a success year in and year out. “Clearance merchandise isn’t called ‘an irresistible bargain’ for nothing. Giant reductions and the way they’re presented in stores and online tap into some primal psychological impulses,” writes Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., on Psychology Today.

Dr. Yarrow says we subconsciously experience several things when we see a “big sale” sign go up. First, we fear we may miss out on something. Second, we have an innate desire to compete with others and missing out on a deal makes us feel like we’re “losing” in our minds.

Before you get wrapped up in the clearance rack, ask yourself these questions:

1. Would I buy this even if it weren’t on sale? (In other words, is this something you really need?)

2. When and where will I wear this item? (Basically, do you have a place to wear the item? And do you already own pieces that the item will go with, or will you have to buy more?

3. What is my true desire for wanting this item and is my reason valid?

 

Save Receipts, Tags and Know the Return Policy

It’s in your best interest to only shop at retailers who allow returns. Should you decide to return something, you’ll be able to get your money back and no financial harm has been done. Plus, the guilt associated with unworn/unused items hanging in your closet is immediately replaced with a sense of self control and glee.

My husband finds my shopping habits bizarre, as I tend to return a decent chunk of the items I buy. I simply let the item set for a few weeks in the original shopping bag and, if I find myself not loving it as much as I did at the store, I’ll return it. This has saved me lots of money in the long run. And if I don’t want to keep it in the bag and decide to wear it right away? That’s a good purchase and one I don’t regret.

Trust me. You may think that running back to the store to return an item is a hassle, but that extra errand is completely worth your time.

 

Tally Up How Much You’ve Spent Over the Years

Debbie Roes from the “Recovering Shopaholic” blog tallied up how much she’s spent on clothes and accessories over the last 10 years. Her figure? Close to 50k. Then she asked herself: “If I had that money in my hands right now, would I spend it on clothes and the like?”

Her answer?: “Absolutely not! I don’t even need a split second to consider my response.  I feel that I have very little to show for my exorbitant expenditures of the past ten years.  One might think I’d have an amazing wardrobe by this point and be one of the best dressed people around, but I don’t think so.  My wardrobe isn’t awful by any means, but it’s not exactly extraordinary, either.”

To prevent the sort of buyer’s remorse that bubbles up months and years down the road, evaluate your purchases right now. Roes has some great advice, which includes setting and sticking to a clothing budget, only buying for your current body and lifestyle, wait several hours or even days before actually purchasing the item and return anything you haven’t worn in a month since buying. My most favorite piece of advice she offers, though?

“Wear your favorite clothes when shopping and don’t buy anything you don’t like at least as much as what you’re wearing.”

By Wendy Rose Gould



Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 08:00 AM
Opinions , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |


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9 August 2013

If you’re like me, your smartphone is essentially glued to your hand. I mean, really — this is the future! Imagine telling someone even 15 or 20 years ago that you’d have a Mary Poppin’s-style amount of knowledge stored in a single coat pocket or pouch in your purse. The fact that we have such easy access to the weather, instant reviews on nearby restaurants, real-time pictures of our loved ones, and more, is quite impressive.

Today we’re talking about smartphone apps that deal with fashion, in particular. As you may be aware, there are gobs of them. This list highlights six, all relatively new, fashion apps that we deem worthy of downloading immediately. Oh, and they’re all free, too.

COVET Fashion

What it is: The COVET Fashion app launched in early July with stylist Rachel Zoe serving as the app’s first Style Ambassador. In short, the app is a “personalized styling and shopping game combination all wrapped into one” that allows users to “layer pieces together on a virtual mannequin” in order to create their own H2T looks. Those looks can then win real world merchandise from top brands.

Covet Fashion App

Beautified

What it is: A “booking” app that allows you to make a last-minute appointment at nearby salons. Whether you’re in serious need of a pedicure, are craving a good blowout or simply need a haircut, massage or brow wax, this app has got you covered. All you have to do is download the app, input your information and then select the type of service you’re looking for. You’ll be taken to a list of area salons with open spots, allowing you to book right there on the spot. Right now, the app services only certain metro areas, including NYC, San Fran, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, LA and Miami.

Beautified Booking App

TikTakTo

What it is: Launched in April of this year, the TikTakTo app aims to streamline and simplify e-commerce by aggregating deals and products from across the Internet. In short, it’s a frugalista’s veritable shopping wonderland. Once downloaded, you can peruse over 100,000 active daily deals, to which roughly 10k are added every day. TikTakTo allows users to shop around dozens of outlets without ever leaving the app window, ensuring they pay only the lowest prices.

TikTakTo App

ThreadFlip

What it is: Whether you’re in the market for designer kicks, vintage jewelry or this season’s most coveted clothing, ThreadFlip is a great place to start. Especially if you want said items at a price that won’t make you (or your wallet) feel guilty for purchasing. What’s also cool about this app is that you can sell goods from your own closet, hence the name “ThreadFlip.” Buy, sell, shop and make money! This one’s a year old now, but is really catching a lot of press and steam these days.

ThreadFlip App

E!’s Live From the Red Carpet

What it is: You probably have an idea of what this app is based on the title, but I’ll fill you in some more. E!’s Live From the Red Carpet is a fashion-centered app that brings you all the latest from the red carpet, be they fashion yesses or fashion messes. In addition to sharing up-to-the-minute pictures from the biggest award shows, the app also sends notifications updating users on all the goings on.

E!'s Live From the Red Carpet App

CREAM Style

What it is: This is an app ideal for style savvy women who want to keep up with all the latest trends in the fashion industry. As most fashionistas know, fashion is forever changing. This app provides an au courant feed of clothing and H2T looks to ensure you’re never out of the loop. Think of it as a fashion-oriented Instagram that showcases street style and new clothes. Users can also buy products through the app.

CREAM Style App

By Wendy Rose Gould



Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 09:30 AM
Opinions , Products , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |

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