With the holiday shopping season about to jump into high-gear, a group of women looking to save more money gathered for a Black Friday shopping clinic this week. They were the guests of the American House Senior Living Community in Rochester Hills. However, the lessons they learned were for bargain-hunters of all ages.
"I am looking to learn how to save on my shopping," Patti Adams of Rochester Hills told Ruth to the Rescue.
"My kids are getting a little older and their gift choices this year are a little more expensive. So, I need to learn to shop more frugal, so I can buy them what they want, but at a price my husband will be happy with," said Shannon Lazovski of Washington Township.
The Expert on Saving
Melissa Buckles is the woman who hopes to help them find better deals. She runs the website www.bargainshoppermom.com She tells Ruth to the Rescue she hardly every pays full price for anything. However, holiday shopping is a much bigger project and it starts with planning, planning, and more planning!
First step, she says, is to map out all the gifts you're buying and any entertaining you might be doing. Think about everything that goes into the holidays, so you're not surprised later and busting your budget.
"I think once you write it down and look at your list, and look at who you're buying for, and what your budget is.... that makes it a lot more concrete for people," she advised.
This year, Melissa is excited about the price matching program at Target. She points out that Target will match prices even after you buy qualifying items, although Black Friday prices are excluded. If you see it for less later, you can get money back from Target. So, hold onto those receipts from Target!
"Don't forget about online, because I think this year online is going to be huge," Melissa Buckles of bargainshoppermom.com told Ruth to the Rescue. She says she's seen online deals the week before Thanksgiving that are as good or better than some of the prices you might see on Black Friday.
Melissa says you should never go shopping online, or to the store, without checking her website for coupons. She also suggests using a website called ebates which gives you cash back for shopping online. Her advice made an impression.
"I actually learned a little more about ebates. I never used ebates, and I didn't even know they existed," said Shannon Lazovski of Washington Township after the seminar.
Adams said she learned a new habit, "Just getting the coupons off line, and checking that out first before I go."
Here are some other quick tips from the bargain-shopping mom.
- Take a friend with you to go shopping on Black Friday. Help each other shop and take turns waiting in line.
- Stop for a break and eat breakfast, is needed.
- Plan your Black Friday shopping trips carefully. Map out which stores are open and maximize the hours you have to shop.
- Make sure to prioritize what you really need, and don't get distracted Black Friday promotional hype.
And, finally, Melissa says, "Have fun, you know, don't take it too seriously!"