Post-Thanksgiving – Time to go shopping! [Money Tip and Action Steps]

by Belinda Rosenblum

This year, let’s try something totally different.

Instead of suggesting you stay home and pretend all of the amazing sales and deals aren’t happening this weekend, here is an alternate approach…

(This was inspired by a recent read of behavioral economist Dan Ariely’s blog where he likens Black Friday to splurging occasionally for a “cheat day” in dieting.)

MONEY TIP: Before you head off to the malls or on-line, remember these 2 things:

Gift-Card-Images-for-Scrip(1) Money can come in a lot of different forms. Gift cards and store credits spend just as well as cash, yet are widely overlooked. This way you can go shopping (including for yourself) without spending a dime!

You can even sell your gift cards for up to 92% of the value OR buy gift cards for 5-50% off the value on popular gift card exchanges. Go to www.CardPool.com or check out one of these other top 10 rated exchanges.

(2) Shopping with a list when everything is at great sale prices can be a fantastic “own your money” move. You just need to make sure it is intentional and not impulsive. Consider bringing a fixed amount of cash with you that you are willing to splurge and leave your credit cards at home. (I know this takes a ton of self-control, AND it can really save your bank accounts.)

ACTION STEPS: Want to shop for yourself, for free, and with my blessing this weekend…? Search your house, wallet, email, and desk drawers for gift cards or credits. These can come in one of three forms:

  • Physical gift card – you likely received this as a gift or in exchange for a merchandise credit.
  • Emailed gift card – think back to any gift cards that you would have been sent for a special event and then search in your email (for instance, “Amazon.com gift card”) to find it. Then print it/them out and keep it in your wallet or handy to have the virtual money accessible.
  • Receipts with store credits – these are probably the hardest to find but might have the largest amount on them. Now think of any items that you received as gifts, items you have returned, or stores that only issue you store credit. Then search the receipts in your wallet, the box where you unload them all into in no particular order, or perhaps the organized receipts by month and pull out these special receipts. Then take a highlighter and write on the top or the back CREDIT and the dollar amount. Keep this in your wallet and be sure to spend it so you get the benefit of the value without spending any more money.

BONUS #1 – Make a list (when you are clear and conscious) about what you want to buy, for who, and what your price range is to buy it. Bring that max amount of cash and gift cards.

BONUS #2 – Check your closet for any items that still have tags on them. Find the receipt and then return them to the store. Then follow point 3 above.

BONUS #3 – Once you find the gift card, happy shopping!  And, if you don’t like the ones you have, check out a gift card exchange site to exchange them for cash or another better-for-you retailer.

If aren’t ready for this much self-control, then you may still want to consider staying home and off the computer. Hang with that great family and those wonderful friends you have who love you…

Follow the steps above to save big bucks this holiday season and then let us know by commenting below how much you saved. Plus Join me on Tuesday December 2nd for a special opportunity to help you get into action (if the tips above sound good, but you’re not certain you have the follow-through in you).

Seth in pilgrim hatAnd lastly, from my family to yours, here’s to a special Thanksgiving holiday. What a fantastic reminder to be grateful and appreciate what and who we have in our lives – yummy food usually included. Pilgrim hat optional. What’s better than all that really…? (-:

Enjoy the holidays and shop responsibly (and even better if for free)!

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