SHOPPING SAVVY: HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING WITHOUT THE HEADACHE

I know moms have a lot to do during the holidays. Working moms and stay-at-home moms are all feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for their families and friends. I understand because I too am a mother of two children. For years making the holiday gift lists, shopping and wrapping, planning and decorating, cooking and cleaning were on my to-do list. I was primarily responsible for the holiday spending which was a blessing and a curse. My husband trusted me to make a lot of the decisions and at times I took on too much. 

Working moms and stay-at-home moms are all feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for their families and friends.
— Asalyn Coachman

As an “experienced mom” of college kids I want other moms to know that avoiding the stress of financial pressure is something that we do have control over. Last week we discussed taking some time to plan out your holiday gifting. Not only will this help keep spending in line but it will also help reduce stress levels. Armed with a plan for what gifts to buy, you are ready to shop—but wait! Before pulling out the credit card at the store or clicking “Complete Purchase” online there are some additional ways for a savvy-shopping-mom to save money.

Once you know what to buy finding the best price should be part of your holiday spending strategy. Start by comparing prices. Thanks to a ton of online tools comparison-shopping is easier than ever. A few minutes on your computer, tablet or phone could save a lot of money. Check out www.shopify.com, which lists the best online comparison sites including Google Shopping, NexTag and Price Grabber as three of the best. 

Now that you have narrowed down the best retail prices and places to shop, you still are not done when it comes to getting your holiday gifts at the best price. Consider the following tips to help keep more money in your pocket. You might be surprised by number five, but it has worked for me many times!

1.    Before making a purchase check to see if there are any coupons available by Googling the store name and “coupons”. Many sites will have coupons and codes that can be used immediately. Some stores will put coupons online that you can print and use, although most will simply have a code that can be downloaded onto your phone or a code that can be typed in at checkout online. Popular sites for online coupons include www.retailmenot.comand www.coupons.com. Even Amazon is getting in on the coupon craze offering Amazon coupons you can “clip” and apply to your purchase. Check them out at www.amazon.com/coupons.

2.    Do not forget to look for coupon savings when grocery shopping, too. For most moms gone are the days of clipping newspaper coupons on Sunday. Instead grocery stores advertise their specials and coupons online, so check out your grocery store website/app for savings. Recently, much to my surprise, my grocery store has started mailing me coupons monthly for products I buy frequently. Moms can now use a combination of low-tech coupons and high-tech coupons to get the most savings for their families. 

3.    Consider joining a store’s reward program. Often members get discounts and notice of sales before the general public. Rewards programs are not tied to a credit card; instead they track your purchases so you can earn savings on future purchases. If you frequent the store the savings could add up.

 4.    Some products are known to go on sales during certain times of the year so keep that in mind especially when making large purchases. November is a great time to buy kitchen appliances, TVs, electronics and yes, Halloween costumes and decorations. No surprise December is the best time to buy toys especially on what is now known as Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas.

5.    If shopping in person, an often-overlooked strategy for getting the best price is to ask the salesperson at checkout if there are any sales going on that will apply to your purchase? A kind greeting and warm smile might be something the checkout person does not see a lot of during the holiday shopping season. Your kindness might be reciprocated with information about a sale or coupon you did not know about. 

Asalyn Coachman is a Registered Representative of and offers Securities through The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC, 39395 W Twelve Mile Rd., Ste 102 Farmington Hills, MI 48331 (248) 482-3600. Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company.  Financial Architects, Inc. and Mother Honestly are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The O.N. Equity Sales Company or O.N. Investment Management Company