It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I know it, you know it, we all know it!
With that said, we all know it means family, friends, The Griswold’s and Kevin McCallister, gathering, laughter, joy, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Santa and his reindeer, the sneaky little elf cramming cookies in the DVD player, the tree and the food that brings everyone together..and of course..shopping! Shopping, shopping, shopping! Did you know that roughly 165.8 million people shopped between Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday just last year? Holiday sales also surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018! All due to physical and virtual shopping! That’s a lot of money, y’all!
Clearly, we are a world who loves the spirit of giving when it comes to Christmas. I wanted to go over a few smart ways to shop this year. There are obviously a ton of ways to make your Christmas shopping successful and I will undoubtedly miss a few popular methods but I wanted to showcase some of my personal favorites as well as my close family and friends way of doing things.
Here comes Amazon, here comes Amazon, right down my driveway! FedEx and the UPS man sortin’ and shippin’ Delivering all over the place! Horns are honkin’, Mom’s are stalkin’ Grabbin’ gifts, put’em out of sight Hang your stockings and say your prayers ‘Cause Amazon’s comin’ tonight!
Who sang this with me? It’s basically my fight song for Christmas because I am the queen of online shopping. There is nothing I love more than sitting at home in the comfort of my pj’s and shopping online. In fact, for years now, friends and I have all gotten together on Cyber Monday and let our children play while we all shop from our laptops. It is so much fun!
The first smart way to shop is definitely Amazon. I’ve compiled what I think are the most time effective and realistic ways you can shop and save.
– Smile Amazon feature:
This feature is operated by Amazon. It has the exact same products, prices and shopping features as regular Amazon. However, the difference is that when you shop on http://www.smile.amazon.com, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the eligible items you purchased to a charitable organization of your choice. For me personally, my nephew Kaden has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and this happens to be one of the many organizations available for donation. I shop this feature year round because I love the aspect of giving in such a loving and effortless way. There are so many charities to choose from. This is not a way to save money but you aren’t exactly spending any extra money either as the donation is taken out of the purchase price from your order. If you aren’t already using this feature, I highly encourage you to start shopping smarter and making donations to causes that mean the most to you this holiday season and throughout the year!
Amazon offers a yearly subscription service that includes free shipping at a quick delivery turn around, prime member deals, streaming on music and videos and so much more. I have been a Prime member for quite a few years now and it’s convenience makes it all completely worth the yearly cost. Who doesn’t love free shipping? Technically you’ve obviously paid for it with the membership but I order so much and keep a lot of my household items on subscription so, it totally makes sense to have it. Sometimes I shop online and places want to charge an arm and a leg just to get it to my house so I will literally close out of it and never order it. Amazon Prime takes the stress out of all of your orders costing so much to be delivered to your doorstep. With all of this said, I realize that not everyone is just chomping at the bit to pay the yearly membership fee which is $119 or $12.99 a month. You can actually sign up for a 30 day free trial and just cancel before your first payment would be due. Hello! Perfect time to jump on that train, am I right? Not to mention, you can actually cancel anytime. Better yet, if you are a student, you can register for an Amazon Student account and get many of the same benefits as the Prime members do and get it free for the first six months. Verified EBT and Medicaid cardholders can get Prime benefits for a discounted price of $5.99 per month for four years max. See? Everybody wins!
-Amazon Wish List:
This is actually a super cool feature within itself. You can create different lists that are public or private and add to them anytime you want to. What’s also really cool is the items you add, Amazon actually watches them for you in the even there is a price change. You’ll receive an email about the price change and if it’s a better price than before, great! You can jump on your purchase for a better price! You also run the risk of that item running out of stock. This feature has it’s perks but if it’s something you just have to have and you know it’s a popular item, saving it on your wish list might not be the best choice.
-Deal of the Day/Lightning Deals:
Every single day Amazon offers deals. Each deal gives the time limit left for each item and the Lightning deals go way faster than regular deals. There’s a limited amount available so not only do they go quickly but they go faster due to the time given for the sale. You can also monitor upcoming deals and have Amazon remind you about the items you have interest in.
This is actually pretty new to me. As in, I just learned about it as I was searching out smarter ways to shop this year and write this up for you guys!
So this is actually an app you can download to your phone. You create an account and the rest is basically taken care of by the app from what I understand. You shop online like you normally would and Paribus monitors your confirmation emails and watches for price changes so you essentially, don’t have to! If a price drop is detected, Paribus lets you know and they help you get refunded for the price changed amount. So for example, if you purchase a $90 sweater and the price drops down to $75 dollars, Paribus lets you know about it and you will be refunded the $15. How cool right? I have already downloaded the app and I am basically just waiting for magic to happen at this point! Paribus tracks purchases from over 25 major retailers including Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, Walmart, Gap, Macy’s and more. As if this doesn’t sound exciting enough, they also monitor the return window for your items as well.
This is actually what sparked the idea for creating this write up. I was listening to the Rise Podcast this morning by Rachel Hollis. She is so good. Her words just bring peace and excitement to my soul in so many ways. In her episode this morning with Tim McGraw, they had a break and she started talking about this website called Honey. Honey is 100% free and you can look into it at http://www.joinhoney.com. It’s literally like three whole clicks and you’re done. It adds a web browser extension and you can go shopping anywhere. Literally, they serve over 37,000 stores. So you can shop away on whatever website whether it’s Target, Sephora, Nike or wherever and it automatically scrolls the web and finds discounts and applies it for you! I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a couponer right? Except now, you don’t even need scissors or a game plan, you just download this to your browser and continue living your life and get discounts. Sign me up!
#4. Black Friday:
So, I actually went black Friday shopping when I was like 14 or 15 with my Mom and sister-in-law. We got up at like 1 in the morning, drove to the nearest city which was about an hour away. We got in line which was already eons deep. We waited hours in the cold before the doors to Sears opened and we ran. Everyone ran. There was so much running. We get inside, we grab a buggy, everyone is still running. And then it happens..a little old lady on a mission ran over my achilles tendon and ruined every ounce of me that wanted to enjoy Black Friday Shopping. Sixteen years later, I have yet to endeavor on a Black Friday journey ever again. And I lived happily ever after.
On the flip side, I hear that the thrill of all the running and chasing after your most wanted items at discounted prices are exactly what people enjoy the most! I actually reached out to my network to see what the hype was all about and everyone basically said it’s all about tradition and making memories. For some, it’s a way for stay at home moms to actually get out of the house and do something exciting for once, which I think is insanely special! I think I can definitely relate to that, since I have started my Rae Dunn obsession, I have found myself running in stores, drifting buggies and grabbing all the things. Some love being in the crowds and all of the excitement associated with the Holidays. I get it. If you know what you’re running after, I say go for it. Make those memories girl!
#5. Shop Small:
When you shop small or locally, it keeps the tax dollars in your community and encourages others to start businesses and aim for growth. You will also undoubtedly get way better customer service. Those with small businesses care about every single detail from the items they market, to the way they’re created and the way they are delivered. You can also connect with the people in your community and learn more about the things and opportunities going on around you. Not to mention, when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance. It helps puts food on tables, it helps pay for a child’s dancing class and ultimately, it helps to support someones dream.