Holiday Shopping: Ensure You Get the Best Deal

We are always bombarded with different holiday sale ads on TV, your mailbox, and even in your Sunday paper. Such advertisements vary from pre-holiday sales, preferred customer specials, early bird sales, midnight madness events, and even post-holiday sales. The titles seem deceiving and you are unsure whether the deal is real. Here are some tips to help you get the most for your money.

Canvass for prices – A sale price isn’t always the best price. Some shops offer sale prices for a limited, others offer discounts on a daily basis. Remember that when you are comparison shopping, make sure you have vital product information such as the item’s manufacturer, model number, stock number, and other identifying information.

Make sure the items are in stock – Read sales ads carefully. Some may contain phrases like “limited quantity,” “no rain checks,” or “not available at all stores.” So before you go outside and shop, call ahead to make sure the merchant has the item you want in stock. If you are shopping for a popular or hard-to-find item, ask the merchant if he’d be willing to hold the item until you can get to the store.

Consider time and travel costs – A sale item would seem like it is worth expensive if it sold way across town, considering the travel time and the transportation as well as parking expenses you have to shell out.

Look for price-matching policies – Some merchants will match, or even beat, their competitor’s prices. Read their pricing policy carefully as it may not apply to all items.

Go online – Check out Internet sites that compare prices for items offered online. Some sites may compare prices offered at stores in your area. If you decide to buy online, keep shipping costs and delivery time in mind.

Carefully consider bargain offers – Some stores offer additional price perks on purchases of additional merchandise, such as “buy one, get one free.” If you don’t really want nor need the item, it’s not a deal at all.

Ask about sales adjustments – If you buy an item at regular price and it goes on sale the next week, check if you can get a credit or refund for the discounted amount. Ask about the documentations needed for such.

Ask about refund and return policies for sale items – Merchants may have different refund and return policies for sale items, especially clearance merchandise.

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