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Archive for the ‘holiday shopping’ tag

November 17th, 2014 at 10:24 am

Online Shopping Tips


Online shopping has become a popular way to handle the purchase of holiday gifts. It’s an easier and quicker way for busy people to shop. If you are new to online shopping, here are some tips to help you become a savvy online shopper!

  • Companies often offer sales online that they don’t offer in store. Coupled with coupons you might be able to use, you can not only save time, but money as well, by shopping on their website.
  • Create an account on sites you shop the most. This makes purchasing easier because your information (shipping, billing, order history, etc.) will be securely stored in the account. Additionally, you’ll be able to check your order/shipping status, facilitate returns, and sometimes even contact customer service through live chat or a direct account function.
  • Sign up to get emails from companies you frequently purchase from. They will send you exclusive emails with sales and coupons to use for future purchases. It can make a big difference when you have a significant percentage off your total!
  • Don’t throw away packaging and receipts once your item arrives. Most companies allow you to send the item back in it’s original packaging for a full refund with free postage. Sometimes you decide the item isn’t exactly what you wanted, sometimes there’s an issue with the item itself, or sometimes it doesn’t fit or work the way you need it to. Don’t get stuck keeping an item you don’t want or need.
  • Early Black Friday sales are already being posted, and even more appear on Black Friday itself. The best day to shop online is Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. It is a good day to find significant sales of up to 40% or 50% off!

Also, you can earn cash back from your online holiday purchases (and any other time of year as well) by signing up with Ebates is paid by a number of popular online retailers to drive sales on their online platforms. Each retailer offers a different percentage of cash back, some on certain items or type of purchases, some on your total purchase of any items. Walmart is one of the major participants, so you can earn cash back from buying Garanimals!

Some great sites to monitor for online sale information are:

Brad’s Deals

Penny Pinching Mom

Saving with Shellie

Passion for Savings

I plan on getting A LOT of shopping done this way for Christmas! How about you?




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December 6th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Gadget Lover on Your List

So December is here, the lists are made, the shopping is being done in earnest, and we find ourselves devouring any article with the term “gift ideas” in the title. I know I am.

I have a big list, including 6 birthdays in December. Every year I spend so much time poring over the list, browsing for ideas, and hoping, always, to find just the right gifts.

As for tech-gifts, it’s getting easier to give them now that so many of us have some sort of technology that can be enhanced or upgraded with a gadget or a gift card. While I would love to give everyone on my list something really cool like an iPad or a Kindle Fire, an XBox, or a big screen TV, I wasn’t one of the recent Powerball winners. So here’s a few ideas from the affordable aisle.

For the Traveler:

  • Cocoon Grid-It gadget organizers are brilliant. Think of a tray with a grid of elastic bands to hold your stuff in place. One look and I immediately bought one for a frequent traveler friend. And I bought one for me too. I can tuck my chargers, earbuds, a lip balm, pens, flash drive, tissues, and business card holder under the elastic bands, slip the organizer in my messenger bag with my laptop and I’m ready to hit the road. No more rifling through every pocket of my bag to find what I need.
  • The New Trent portable device charger. I wrote about this one during the power outage back in October. I love having this on hand and it will have a place of honor in my Grid-It organizer. Anyone with a smartphone would appreciate this.

For the Reader:

  • I recently rediscovered the joy of listening to audio books, especially in the car. It’s a nice diversion from the non-stop Christmas music. A subscription to or might be a good gift for someone who spends a lot of time driving or would just enjoy listening to a book for a change.
  • How about an e-reader? Kindle, Nook, and Kobo are just 3 of the e-readers on the market. And the pricing on them has dropped considerably, making them more affordable than ever. And gift cards for buying e-books are always a great idea.

For the Movie Lover:

  • One of my favorite gifts last year was Roku box with a 6 month subscription to Netflix. This device allows me to watch movies on demand on my television, via the internet. I love it. There are multiple versions of the box and they start at just $49.99.

For anyone:

  • Another really cool gadget is the mini capsule speakers for your iPod or MP3 players. They’re inexpensive, portable, cute and make a great gift.
  • When in doubt, there’s always the gift card. Maybe you can’t afford to give the big gift, but you can help them towards it.

Hopefully this will give you a few ideas for those gadget lovers on your giving list. Without breaking the bank. Happy shopping!

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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December 5th, 2011 at 9:41 am

I have become THAT mom…..

I never thought I would become that mom.

I remember back in the 80′s when my aunts fought other moms while trying to score a Cabbage Patch Doll that my Grandma wanted to give my sister and I.

I didn’t think I would ever become that person. My youngest wants one of the Hottest Toys of 2011 and now here I sit in the same situation trying to find it. My experience is a little different, though. Times have changed.  I’m trying to be quicker than other people over the internet most the time. Unlike standing in line in the past, I am now waiting by my computer at all times of day, setting up alerts and reminders and waking up in the middle of the night when text messages hit my phone.

The worst part is, when I actually think I have one, I end up getting messages from the retailer saying that it is now on backorder for a date closer to Christmas. So, the search goes on, but I might as well share some of the things I have learned along the way…….

When looking for a special item that is sold out, become a fan of the company’s Facebook page. The information you can gain from the company and other customers is priceless. The company may share an insight as to when the product may be shipping again to stores and customers can share where they have seen product or ways to track online product.

Check out stock tracking websites. There are several great websites that I have been using to track when stores change their sites to having an item in stock – Now In Stock, WiiAlerts and Zoolert . These sites allow you to track a specific item, set up alarms, text messages, and email messages. During the day I just leave the browser minimized and when the rooster crows I know there is stock of the item I am tracking. You have to be quick though! Plus, sometimes your item may get placed on backorder or canceled after ordered. So, it isn’t for sure until you have it in hand.

Monitor retailer websites to see if the item is in stock. Most retailers share on their website if an item is in stock at a store. Very handy if you don’t want to run all over.

Drive from store to store to see if they get stock in. Since I am running a lot of errands for the holiday season you may see me dashing to the toy department when certain stores open. This is totally not in my normal character, but If there is only one on the shelf I won’t say that I wouldn’t fight another mom for it.

Yes, it has gotten that desperate.

Hopefully my original order will come through, but until that time I will be waking up in the middle of the night, checking websites, and stopping at stores.

What have I learned? I should have just bought the item in October when I saw it and thought that it might be neat for my youngest. A valuable lesson for the future. Didn’t we always hear the saying, “The early bird gets the worm” – so very, very true.

How is your Christmas shopping going for the kids? Any specific item you are desperate to get?

Photo Credit: PinkMoose

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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