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Last minute shopping tips

by Minden Press-Herald

Christmas is eight days away and shoppers will be scurrying to find the perfect gift for that special someone.

Amanda Rowell, local shopping expert, offers a few tips to make those last few frenzied days of shopping a little easier.

  • Coupons. Before going into a store, Rowell says to check for online coupons.

“Most retailers will have a coupon on their website for a percentage off in store,” she said.

“Simply show the cashier and they will scan your phone.”

  • BOGO. Many stores, especially smaller retail stores, will offer a “Buy One Get One Free” deals on small toys. Rowell recommends checking with them before heading to the larger chain stores.
  • Rethink getting out the Saturday before Christmas.

“Most seem to think Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year,” she said.

“Statistics show that it is actually the Saturday before Christmas. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, you may want to rethink getting out this Saturday.”

  • Don’t buy gift cards at full price. Rowell says many retailers offer deals on gift cards right now.

“For instance, if you buy a $100 gift card, you will get a $25 card for free,” she said. “Also, many online coupon sites offer gift cards at a discounted rate, such as a $100 card for $80.”

  • Make a plan and stick to it. Before leaving the house, have a list in hand and do not stray, she said.

“You will save a lot by not going in the store with a vague idea of what you want,” Rowell said. “Also, call the store ahead of time to make sure they have the item before wasting time and money to go search for it.

  • Put creativity to use. Pinterest and websites offer a wealth of creative ideas for DIY gift ideas.

“This is great when shopping for teachers,” she said. “You’d be surprised at the quantity of presents you can make on a budget.”

  • Register coupons. Many retailers will offer coupons at the register after you check out.

“They print out with your receipt and usually offer discounts for the upcoming week, like 20 percent off your entire purchase,” she said. “Don’t just throw them in the trash. Save them.”

  • It’s not too late to order online.

“For most places, it’s not too late to have your order shipped,” she said. “However, many retailers offer a free pick-up-in-store option. It’s like paying the in-store price with less the hassle.”

  •  Stop with the name brand.

“Most young children do not care about how much an item cost and definitely don’t notice the name on the box,” she said. “If there is a cheaper brand that is comparable to the name brand go for it.”

  •  Always price match. Many stores price match their competitors, Rowell said.

“Check online for others’ prices or use the Amazon app and scan the item in store to get the Amazon price. If it’s lower, just tell your cashier at the checkout. Be patient as they may need to get their supervisor for approval.”

  •  Price Drop. Many retailers will offer a one-time price adjustment if the item purchased goes on sale within seven to 10 days of purchase.

“Be sure to stay up-to-date on this so you can save big bucks,” she said.

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