As Black Fri­day ap­proaches, make note of these shop­ping tips

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - Kris­ten Hagopian is a Syn­di­cated Ra­dio Talk Show Host, Colum­nist & Au­thor of Bril­liant Fru­gal Liv­ing. She co­hosts WCHE 1520’s Morn­ing Show, and “Dad and Daugh­ter Talk Real Es­tate” with lo­cal Keller Wil­liams Real­tor John Her­reid Wed­nes­days at 5:00P (

Happy Thanks­giv­ing, ev­ery­body! While many of us are still in deep plan­ning (panic?) mode putting the fin­ish­ing touches on Thanks­giv­ing din­ner, there are others – more or­ga­nized than my­self — who are al­ready do­ing deep knee bends in an­tic­i­pa­tion of shop­ping on “Black Fri­day.” If you’re one of those brave souls an­tic­i­pat­ing some Black Fri­day handto-hand com­bat with other shop­pers while you’re still di­gest­ing a pound of turkey, sweet pota­toes, crois­sants and a mon­ster help­ing of desserts, you’re not alone. Read on for out­stand­ing hol­i­day shop­ping tips that will have your gift list wrapped up faster than you can say “Tums.”

Rule #1 – Re­mem­ber that it’s called “Black Fri­day,” not “Black Thurs­day” – don’t get me wrong, I re­spect a re­tailer’s need to ex­er­cise all op­tions to stay afloat in this in­sane econ­omy. When a hard-work­ing re­tailer jumps into the shiny boat of “Black Thurs­day,” open­ing their doors on Thanks­giv­ing day with spec­tac­u­lar sales, they’re sim­ply try­ing to get an edge over their com­pe­ti­tion and keep their staff em­ployed. There’s noth­ing wrong with that. If you find it com­pletely nec­es­sary (per­haps due to work sched­ules, etc.), by all means join them with aban­don. But keep in mind that no hu­man be­ing ever left this earth feel­ing like they should’ve spent less time around the Thanks­giv­ing ta­ble with loved ones … and more time gift shop­ping. Just putting it out there.

Rule #2 – Re­mem­ber your best shop­ping buddy – your lap­top! Gang, the days of fight­ing over park­ing spa­ces only to wres­tle into an over­crowded mall so you can ar­gue over the last over­priced bell-en­crusted rein­deer sweater are over. In­stead, grab a cup of cof­fee, put on some Christ­mas mu­sic and do your shop­ping on­line in a frac­tion of the time. For kid’s gifts, re­mem­ber Craigslist for gor­geous toys, clothes, bikes, books – you name it. It’s all wait­ing for you, usu­ally about 90 per­cent off re­tail. For adults, give a look to Craigslist as well! An­tique china, any­one? How about beau­ti­ful crys­tal, cash­mere sweaters, jew­elry, fur coats or an­tique books? I’ve bought them all on Craigslist, and I highly rec­om­mend it. Your lo­cal Good­will is also a gold­mine of gift good­ies. When it comes to elec­tron­ics, if you’re buy­ing for any­one un­der the age of 18, re­mem­ber that last year’s must-have, over­priced gizmo is now avail­able on Ebay or Craigslist for eas­ily 50 per­cent off, and it’s one of the light­est gifts on earth, mean­ing low ship­ping costs. Min­i­mal (if any) driv­ing, no park­ing, no has­sle – and it all comes right to your door. Boom.

Rule #3 – Re­mem­ber how you felt last Jan­uary when the credit card bills started rolling in! You might fall into the group that opened their Jan­uary credit card bills with shaky hands, look­ing at it with your fin­gers cov­er­ing 99 per­cent of your eyes (as though the num­bers could scorch your reti­nas) and then — upon see­ing the amount due — promptly fall­ing into deep de­spair. Or, you might be part of the crowd that opens your bills with­out a care in the world, look­ing at the amount due, cack­ling with glee and shout­ing “WOOT-WOOT!” as you do the “Stir The Pot” dance move from the mail­box back to the house. You work hard folks, you de­serve to fall into that sec­ond cat­e­gory – this year, make sure “Black Fri­day” means that your books are in the black by the end of the day as well.

Happy Shop­ping, ev­ery­one!

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