Try smart holiday shopping, don’t overspend last minute

It’s the season for shopping. Whether it’s for yourself, the winter season or Christmas, retail prices shoot up after mid-November. Lucky for Winnipeg shoppers, we’ve got our own versions of Black Friday, savings parties and events like Behind Closed Doors at St. Vital Centre to help us shoppers out. Prices to go up in-store and online from now until Boxing Day.

Here’s my guide to smart shopping!

Read the flyers. I’ve started scanning the flyers over the last few years around birthdays and holidays to compare prices. It’s easy to eliminate stores you don’t shop at, but it’s also easy to see the promotions stores are running. Stores that sell similar products will often match competitor prices. If there’s a store you prefer to shop at, bring in a competitor’s ad and ask about their ad match policy to get the best deal.

Subscribe to newsletters. Choose stores you frequent for yourself or for gift buying and sign up for their email list. You’ll be notified of sales and promotions, shopping parties and new store information. Birthday lists are usually paired up with newsletter subscriptions. Enter your birthday at places like Booster Juice, or American Eagle Outfitters and receive a discount or free product on that day.

Member cards. Some stores give cards for free and stamp it with each purchase. There are also some that have a fee for a VIP access card – not usually more than $10 and definitely worth it if it’s a store you shop at often. The cards, like the Prestige VIP cards at La Senza typically offer a discount on each purchase for one year. Membership cards are great to have for personal purchases and can be used for purchases in-store and online.

Shop during promotional events. One type of promotional event is ‘buy now, save later. An example of this is the option to answer a survey, usually found at the bottom of a receipt, to save a certain per cent next shopping trip. Another great promo is ‘spend ‘x’ amount of money now, and get a coupon to save next time’. Stores hand out savings passes for each $50 spent during the original trip. They have redemption dates on the cards and during that time, when $50 is spent, $25 is saved.

Savings events are usually timed. They can be weekend-only events, one-evening-only, one early morning, or one late night.
Sears Days is usually the best option for around the house items, offering up to 50% off kitchen items, mattresses and bed and bath necessities. This promo usually runs once or twice a year on a weekend.

Shopping parties are usually held in the evening, a few hours before store closing. Promotions for these events can include: 20% off the entire store, free gift bag with purchase, savings coupons, product demonstrations, or an in-store DJ!

Behind Closed Doors is an awesome after hours event. St. Vital Centre is open late from 7-10:30 pm and participating retailers offer special event discounts, product demos and food and beverages. There are door prizes and tickets are only $5 with proceeds going to local charities.

With Black Friday coming up, Canadian retailers are having deals of their own to keep customers shopping locally. Kildonan Place has a Facebook page set up specifically for its Black Friday sales events. Polo Park has a similar page on its website. Both pages will announce which retailers will open early, and the discounts they’ll have early next week.

REMEMBER to read expiration dates on discounts, coupons, flyers and promotions. Some companies are awesome and will honour the discount, usually up to within the week if you do miss the date. Ask before you purchase to avoid conflict at the counter.

Happy shopping my friends.
-Enjoy the ride.

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