Tag Archives: bargain

Tips for saving money on Christmas sales

Since Christmas is almost here, I thought I’d share some ways you can use after Christmas sales to help make next Christmas and occasions throughout the year financially easier.

After Christmas sales can be a great way to save money on things you would buy anyway, without paying full price. As you see the things that are on sale, try to predict which of those things you are likely to need during the next year.

Don’t limit your thinking to Christmas! Consider how you may use after Christmas items for other occasions in the coming year. Be creative!

Don’t go crazy and buy everything they have just because it is marked down. If you buy 20 of something you don’t need and eventually just get rid of it, you didn’t really save by getting it on clearance.

If you want to get some great deals but you also want a lot of selection, you’ll want to show up in the store pretty early on December 26th. You can get deeper discounts if you wait several days or a week for the stores to mark items all the way down to 75% off. The down side of waiting is that the item you want may be gone if you wait too long. If you really have to have it, you probably want to get it sooner rather than wait.

If there’s something that you want at Wal-Mart, you will definitely want to get there the first thing on December 26th because Wal-Mart attracts the die hard after Christmas shoppers who buy like hungry locusts. ;-)

You can often find good buys at grocery and drug stores a week or two after Christmas because there’s not as much demand for after Christmas items in those stores.

Here are some of the things to consider as you visit after Christmas sales:

Buy new Christmas decorations for next year. This seems obvious to some of us, but if you’ve never thought about it, you can usually get lights, lawn decorations, indoor decorations and other holiday-specific items for 50-75% off right after Christmas. We like to add to our display every year and it is much less expensive to buy after Christmas this year rather than before Christmas next year. Even our Christmas tree was a 50% off after Christmas buy. (Don’t try this with live trees! They don’t keep well! ;-)

Buy “Baby’s First Christmas” items (pajamas, bibs, ornaments, etc.) for those friends and relatives expecting babies in the next year.

Purchase holiday craft items. Christmas ribbons, needlework, and other craft supplies are often marked down to 75% off. Get started on those projects and get them done early. Don’t forget to get enough red ribbon and craft supplies for Valentines day.

Buy your red Valentine’s Day and green St. Patrick’s Day candy on clearance after Christmas. You can also freeze Christmas chocolate for year-round baking.

Christmas isn’t just red and green any more. You can get every color under the rainbow now. If you are decorating a room or having a special party, such as an anniversary you can purchase your supplies for 75% off. I’ve also purchased things like specialty lights for my son who collects anything that will light up.

Purchase gifts for next Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and teachers’ gifts. You can often find wonderful gift bath sets that make great gifts for teachers at 50% off. There are also bath sets for kids, make up sets for girls and cologne and perfume for men and women that you can give for any occasion. I purchase several extra girls and boys gifts sets for the kids to take to birthday parties. I buy hubby’s cologne for the year (again, as a gift set) and give it to him on Father’s Day. My sister in law liked a particular large red candle that I happened to notice was on sale after Christmas. I purchased it for $2 instead of the $10 regular price.

If you have a wedding coming up, look for decorations with your wedding colors after Christmas. You can also get tablecloths and napkins for your household on clearance after Christmas. You can buy these at up to 75% off and use them every day.

Look for wrapping paper for other occasions. Stores have colored and white tissue paper and wrapping paper that isn’t necessarily just for Christmas. You can also buy Christmas paper for next to nothing after Christmas and save it for next Christmas or use it white side out for other holidays.

I buy the pre-packaged gingerbread kits that are now available for my kids. For $2 each, it is much easier to have the house already baked and rolled out. I save them for the kids to decorate next year. (Of course we don’t eat them.)

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Christmas 2010

After-Christmas, Year-End, and Clearance sales are a great time get some good deals, but you can also end up with a purchase disaster. This is where the consumer needs to shop smart. Don’t just grab the newspaper AD and run down to your local consumer electronics retailer without arming yourself with useful knowledge and tools to get the most from your dollar.
This is the time of year when retailers try to do several things: Sell any overstock still taking up too much shelf space, sell items that are soon to be on the clearance list, turnaround gift returns/exchanges (both opened and unopened), sell through old display models, and sell old product that has been to service.

Overstock Items

This is where the consumer can get a good deal, depending on how desperate the store is to clear out shelf space. Overstock items are usually those loss leaders, such as those $29 DVD players, $99 Blu-ray Disc players, $299 LCD Televisions, and $249 budget home theater packages that are still new and in sealed boxes. Here you know that they haven’t been opened, returned, or used.

These may not always be the best known name-brand models, but can be a good value, as long as they are available. These items are usually the first to go in an after-Christmas sale, so get to the store early the day after Christmas for the best chance of grabbing one of these products.

Soon-To-Be-Clearance Items

This is my favorite bargain-sale category. Here is the “scoop”. Every January, the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is held in Las Vegas in which all the consumer electronics manufacturers from around the World unveil their products for the coming year.

These products start to hit shelves in February and continue into the Spring and Summer. Needless to say, buyers from the big consumer electronics retail chains to small regional and home town independents flock to this show in order to place orders for new products.

However, in order to beat the competition in placing these products on store shelves, the retailers must clear out current products targeted for replacement from their warehouses and stores as quickly as possible.

This is where the consumer can benefit. If a retailer made the “mistake” of over-estimating the demand for a particular AV receiver, for instance, and has lots of stock left by February, it will be more difficult to move the older model as its competitors, who didn’t over order stock on the old model, sell the newer model when it arrives.

So, in order to “get rid” of the currently overstocked model, retailers will often place notice of a significant price drop on the older model.

However, many consumers don’t react well to the word “clearance”, which gives the connotation that the product may be, in some way, inferior to a newer model (that may or may not be the case in reality). Therefore, the promotion for the old model often carries an AD notice of a “Price Drop”, “Instant Discount”, or “Instant Rebate” or even “Special Purchase”. Also, an additional indicator of a clearance item is in the fine print; check for the phrases “While Supplies Last” and/or “No Rainchecks”.

If you are bargain hunting, this could end up being a great deal. The retailer gets rid of a product that will soon be discontinued and the consumer gets a great price.

If you don’t need the latest and greatest, and the “clearance” product has everything you really need, this could work out well. The key is to make sure the product meets your needs by checking out the features ahead of time on either the manufacturer’s or store’s website, if possible.

After-Christmas, Year-End, and Clearance sales are a great time get some good deals, but you can also end up with a purchase disaster. This is where the consumer needs to shop smart.
Don’t just grab the newspaper AD and run down to your local consumer electronics retailer without arming yourself with useful knowledge and tools to get the most from your dollar. This page offers tips on buying a returned product.

Gift Returns/Exchanges

When it comes to returns and exchanges, stores want to turn these around as quickly as possible. A great example is a $29 DVD player. You wake up on Christmas Day and find out that you got a $29 DVD player from your significant other and another $29 DVD player from your parents. Of course, politically you have to decide which one you take back, but, without opening the box you take one back and exchange it for something else. However, you are not the only one. When you arrive at the store you are in line with ten other people coming back to exchange the same DVD player.

Obviously, this presents a minor problem for the store. They don’t mind you returning the DVD player and exchanging it for something else. However, the store is getting stuck with something they thought they sold permanently, and now that the item has been returned it is beginning to take up store real estate that needs to be devoted to other products that can be sold at a higher profit margin. The answer, send it back to the department that sold it and turn it around quickly at a 5% to 15% percent discount, depending on whether the product was returned open or closed.

Once again, the consumer can make out, however, there are a couple of points to be aware of. The item may have been opened by the customer or by the store returns dept to check to contents. In this case, make sure you do four things:

ONE - Check for a discounted price sticker made by the store on the box and confirm with a sales person or store manager that the open box price is indeed a discount price over the same item brand new.

TWO – Check the contents of the box yourself, together with a sales person or store manager. Make sure there is an owner’s manual for the product and all accessories for the product are present.

In addition, note how the accessories are packaged. Are the cords, remote, and manual in their original packaging (which may indicate the product may not have been used), or are they obviously repackaged (which would most likely indicate the product was used for a period of time)?

Lastly, if anything is missing, negotiate for a lower price that would realistically make up the price of the missing items.

THREE – If the box has been opened, ask to see the item plugged in and working before you leave the store.

FOUR - Also, check to see if there is a date code on the open box label or price sticker. This won’t tell you how old the product is, but it does tell you how long the item has been sitting on the shelf as open box item.

After-Christmas, Year-End, and Clearance sales are a great time get some good deals, but you can also end up with a purchase disaster. This is where the consumer needs to shop smart.
Don’t just grab the newspaper AD and run down to your local consumer electronics retailer without arming yourself with useful knowledge and tools to get the most from your dollar. This page offers tips on how to buy old display models.

Old Display Models

Here is where things can get a little “sticky” for the consumer. Typically, most products at consumer electronics retailers are on display anywhere from 90-days to six months, however, some products can be displayed for as long as a year.

Personally, I am very cautious about buying display items, because many retailers will not accurately inform the consumer as to how long the item in question has been on display and won’t discuss how the item has been treated by sales staff and customers.

Products such as Camcorders, digital cameras, and televisions are especially suspect because, not only have they been on display, but they have been on and running for twelve hours a day for months, with camcorders and digital cameras being handled and bounced around by everyone from gentle grandmothers to small children.

However, other display items, such as AV receivers, DVD players, and VCRs don’t get quite the same abuse as they are only turned on when a salesperson actually demos the products. In fact, most displays of AV receivers, DVD players, VCRs, and other related components are usually just sitting on a shelf as show pieces with no power and can’t be used by the consumer anyway without sales staff assistance.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, you may get a great deal buying displays of HiFi components, DVD players, and VCRs, but my advice is don’t get too excited about buying display TVs, digital cameras, or camcorders. If you do decide to buy such items, remember, there is no box, when items are put on display, almost all retailers destroy the box. In addition, you need to consider the following questions:

ONE- Can you return the item if it is found to be defective?

TWO – Is the manufacturer’s warranty still valid?

THREE – Can you purchase an extended service plan for the unit, if you choose too?

FOUR - Are all the accessories and owner’s manual included?

FIVE - If there is a price already marked for the unit, check to see that it is a least 15% off its original price, if any accessories or owner’s manual is missing from the unit – negotiate a lower price, reflecting both the cost and availability of the missing accessories.

One great negotiating tool to get a good price on a display model is indicate that you would be willing to purchase an extended service plan on the unit an/or some additional accessories to go with it. Although, legally, the store can’t adjust the price of a product in order for you to buy extended service plan or additional accessories, you are buying a display unit that the store wants to get rid of.

The store can basically set the price on a display item how it sees fit; don’t settle for the posted price. There is no specific legal guideline that can determine the value of a product based on how many people have touched it, how long it has been on, any scratches or dents, etc.. from it being on display. The store can sell such items for any price the store or district managers choose to as long as they don’t violate store or corporate policy.

Of course, there is no guarantee that a customer will get get a better deal by using this strategy, but it is certainly worth a try. With a some firm negotiation, the consumer can, potentially, get a good price on a display item, and still get some protection for the unit and/or needed accessories with the purchase. It all boils down to whether the product, the negotiation time, and the final price is really worth it.

After-Christmas, Year-End, and Clearance sales are a great time get some good deals, but you can also end up with a purchase disaster. This is where the consumer needs to shop smart.
Don’t just grab the newspaper AD and run down to your local consumer electronics retailer without arming yourself with useful knowledge and tools to get the most from your dollar. This page offers tips on buying product service returns.

Product Service Comebacks

Its the day after Christmas and you walk into your local consumer electronics retailer and see “clearance tables” all over the store with out-of-box and open-box products. Although many of the products on the tables may be from the previously discussed categories (open-box returns and displays), there is another category that appears on these tables: The Product Service Comeback.

Basically, there are several types of product service comebacks:

ONE – Products that were in service, brought in by customers, that were never claimed after they were repaired.

TWO - Displays that were damaged in some way, repaired and sent back to the store to either put back on display or sell as a discontinued unit.

THREE - Service plan exchanges. This includes products that were previously owned by customers, but required several repairs within a specified time period. In such cases many service plans give the store and/or the customer the option of having the unit repaired again or exchanged for an equivalent current replacement unit. At this point, the service department determines whether to just dispose of the unit, sent it back to the manufacturer, or service the unit again and try to sell it as an open box item. If the unit is sent into service and sent back to the store for sale, it ends up usually shows up on the “Clearance” table.

How can you tell if you are looking at such an item? The product should have a service sticker (a sticker which looks similar to a UPC code, but is placed on the unit itself). However, chances are, the sales person or manager will not tell you the product’s service history.

One way to detect if something has been returned from service is to check to if the open box label is next to, or partially over, the service label. If the item has several labels stacked on top of each other (like when you put the latest year’s car registration tag over the previous year’s tag), there is a good chance that it has been serviced, and/or repriced several times, which may be a purchasing consideration.

To be honest, in many cases the service dept doesn’t give the repair history information to the sales staff. In addition, many times the accessories and owner’s manual are no longer with the unit and, in fact, the owner’s manual may not even be available (although there are online services you can try). To make matters worse, sometimes these items may be over two years old. This is, in fact, common with camcorders. As a side note, I worked for one CE retailer that had a 5-year old high-end S-VHS editing VCR repaired by service and returned to the store for sales staff to sell.

The key here, if you choose to purchase one of these items, is to look over the item very carefully and not conclude a final purchase without seeing the product in working condition.

In addition, follow the same guidelines as outlined in the previous page on purchasing display items. Many times, sales on such items are as-is, the store sale is final (no return), and the store may not consider the purchase of an extended service plan for the item because of the age and repair history of it.

I myself, would not consider the purchase of this type of item, but if you are an adventurous buyer and a determined negotiator, you may get lucky and get something that is actually practical for your needs. Always keep in mind that you are buying at your own risk.

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