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  • Writer's pictureTerra

The Holidays are upon us are you ready?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

* Activities

I love the fall, I am a September baby so it is my time of year. Actually, we are now 3 generations deep on September birthdays with my mother and daughter also having September birthdays. We follow that with my anniversary and Halloween.

My favorite holiday however is November 1st - Halloween clearance day. A day I have celebrated since before I got my license. When one year my mom's friend worked at Spirit for the season and hooked all of us up with slightly damaged bits and parts of everything. It was glorious and marked the start of my yearly celebration of November 1st.

Alas, those are stories for another post because this one is about the chaos that comes next. Some how the big box stores have managed to take over Thanksgiving with their black Friday nonsense. I am very type A and the only way I can enjoy my holidays is by getting the work of it done early on. That way I can just coast till January. Which means my shopping start on November 1st because thankfully the majority of the people I shop for much prefer the style of gifts available that time of year. Starting my shopping so early has given me an inside look at how the big box stores operate. Honestly, I'm going to get real with you for a second its fucked up. They truly do things to raise your anxiety and pit you against one another.

Take target for example... this actually happened a few days ago. I looked online and they said they had Tracker from Paw Patrol but not available for shipping. Instead I could go to the Target 40 min from my house and find it in aisle E5. Ok, fine I have to take my daughter to gymnastics in a few days and we pass this target. As we are leaving I check it again to make sure it's still in stock. On our way home I stop by Target to run in and grab it and be on our way. Nope, no where to be seen. I check everywhere I can and give up thinking someone just grabbed it. So I head home... I look it up again...STILL says in stock. I call Target after finally getting an answer and transferred and again waiting for someone to answer. The kid offers to go check in back. It seems all the toys in the series share a UPC, which is ridiculous but ok. He says they have a full pallet in back he'll go check it. He comes back on the line to tell me it is wrapped up and under lock till black Friday and they will not be stocking anything from that series until then?!?!?! This is still 2 weeks away. They are intentionally playing mind games with consumers and depleting toys so they can raise the price then "drop it" for the sale. I have held 2 separate ads in my hands and looked at products currently on sale for cheaper than they will be on black Friday. Yet we have stopped even eating our Thanksgiving dinners to go stand in line for some random thing they've convinced us that this is the only time we will get a good deal on it. Do you know when I do my black Friday shopping? 12 am the morning of Thanksgiving from my bed right before I go to sleep. I order it all online and have it shipped to me. If I'm out and about later in the day on Black Friday I may pop into a store when it's a ghost town and half the stuff is still fairly well stocked. The madness is their version of the hunger games. They just want you to give them more highlight reels on the news for free advertising. Why do we continue to subject ourselves to this nonsense?

A few tips and tricks I've developed...

1- Shop online -

*Be smart check more than one store

*BuyBuyBaby and Bed Bath and Beyond are the same company. Coupons work at both store but more importantly Bed Bath and Beyond has a lower minimum free shipping amount and carries almost everything BuyBuyBaby does plus the coupons. If you open a free account with them they have coupons for you right on your account when available.

*Most stores start their sales online well before Thanksgiving dinner so you can sit back and enjoy dinner.

*Log into your store accounts and put the items you want to get this season in your cart. It makes it easy to monitor sales. Just pop onto the site every few days and check your cart to see if anything is at a price you want.

*Target is currently offering free shipping for the season

*Check what your site offers free shipping at. I have found several times it would be cheaper to add something small on and qualify for free shipping than to pay the shipping. You can search by price just do a general search for say a certain toy brand under 5 dollars and get a extra stocking stuffer and free shipping.

*Take advantage of the buy online and pick up in store to save the shipping and time. Most stores have their systems streamlined fairly well for this now.

*Download the store's app many have coupons right on the app. I will not shop at Joann's or Micheal's without the app. I ALWAYS save money. Dollar generals app is a favorite in the couponer community.

*Check Groupon for great deals on activities and products. I once got a really nice 2 at home teeth whitening kits for $25.

*Ebay is an amazing place for books but more importantly kids books. I have found all of my daughter's favorites books and character's books on there for $4 just sort by price low to high. Often times if you get a couple they'll give you an added discount. What I do is search for the few books I'm looking for and add a bunch to my cart. Several of the same one in the same price range. After doing this with all the books I'm looking for I look at the cart and see which sellers has all or most and which ones have the best deals. Then I go on a book from a seller with a deal you want and go down to the sellers name.

Find the Seller's other items link. Now search that seller for the other books you're looking for or any suitable replacements if it's just a general series book. I got my daughter 7 paw patrol books for $21 bucks. We have only gotten 1 or 2 books that for various reasons could have been better but for the most part we have had great success. What's even better is normally most of the books sellers benefit charity. It is often second hand stores and other places where books go under appreciated.


*The dollar store is your friend- wrapping supplies, cards, and stocking stuffers. I always get my wrapping supplies here because I can afford to get all the fun ones.

*Price match-

Best Buy- If Best Buy has it they will price match right at the register just show them the price on your phone. I have done this, they are excellent. Remember they do have some of the popular toys. I got hatchimals and price matched them down to their normal price at game stop which was $1.50 less. They are very nice and convenient about it with the fact that they can do it right at the register.

Walmart- you have to join their website. It use to be that you scanned your receipt but now you need to use Walmart pay which I am not happy about. When you remember to use Walmart pay the savings catcher is awesome in the fact that it automatically scans your receipt against all local ads and refunds the difference to a Walmart gift cart that you can use online or with your Walmart pay. I've been using it for 2 year and have received over $22 bucks back from them.

*CNBC did a article in July (2018) covering other sites that offer price matching specifically off Amazon but often it includes any advertised store. I have not personally tried out these store so I can't comment on how easy or difficult it is to use. Some of the stores included at Target, JcPenney, Lowes, Dick's, Bed Bath and Beyond and Walmart. Each store has their own fine print but it doesn't hurt to ask when in doubt.

So the real take away here. When shopping pull out your phone and do a quick search. If a main store that's not a third party like Ebay or the extra sites that load on most major retailers has a lower price ask if the store will price match for you. With a little foot work you can save a lot of time and money.

3- Join the free reward programs and use them!- Take advantage of stores free reward programs and actually take a minute to find out all the perks. Now a days everywhere has their own free members program you would be amazed at what you are missing out on sometimes.

*Khols cash is one of my favorite things in the world. I have had great success there.

* Update 11/12/18*

4- A current trend I want to give a shout out to is getting people activities and memberships. I love this trend so much! Some ideas...

*Classes again Groupon is great for this.

- Cooking classes

- Horse Riding lessons

- Paint and sip/ Painting with a twist/ Paint night / Cork and canvas

- Glass blowing

- Flying

*Classes or programs they already do..

- Gymnastics

- Gym Membership

- Dance classes

- Sports membership fees

- Music lessons

- Martial arts

*Memberships to places..

- Zoo

- Museum


- Hands on museum

- National Comedy Center / Rock and roll hall of fame and other places they may frequent

* Activites

- Disney on ice

- Sporting event

- Concerts

- Comedy shows

- Musical

5- Gift cards- Now is the time of year to clean out your desk and wallet and see if any of those old gift cards can go to knocking a few gifts off you list. Save your cash for other things. Also certain stores offer extra reward/point incentives when you use gift card. It can be beneficial to buy a gift card for the amount you plan to spend and get some extra points. Kroger's was great for this with their gas points.

*Update*- Speaking of gift cards....

If you have a tops near you here's a great way to save money on gifts you have to buy from other stores.

With Toys R' Us out of the picture everyone including super markets are trying to take a bite out of the toy industry. Use it to your advantage and get the most bang for your buck this year.

I will be sharing a few holidays posts with cool things I have found, Tip, Tricks, ideas, reviews, Crafts and anything else that seems like someone else might want to know it.

Leave a comment and let me know if I helped you at all :-)



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