Christmas Shopping…Check!

Tonight, I did most my Christmas shopping. That’s right, and I did it all online. Jeff and I were sitting here trying to figure out how to get all of our shopping done with our busy schedule. It didn’t look promising. We always end up waiting until the last minute to shop and, therefore, can’t shop online. Not this year. I opened up the laptop and logged into Upromise. I hit a few stores and after about two hours, I was done with most of my list.

I did the majority of my shopping at Red Envelope. I got a ton of gifts and got a pretty good deal. My purchase was originally $403. The site was having a 20% sale if you purchased more than $125. That brought my purchase down to $325. My rewards from Upromise will be $52, bringing my total purchase to $277. Not bad.

When Christmas shopping this year, don’t forget rebate sites like Upromise and Ebates. They can really add to your savings. Ebates let you accumulate rebates and then receive the cash. Upromise allows you to do a number of things with your earnings. You can save them for college for yourself or a family member or you can use them to pay off a Sallie Mae student loan. Now you can put rewards into a Sallie Mae savings account which will give you a 10% bonus on your earnings each year. If you don’t like any of those options, you can also request a check. The rebates you earn vary by store but most major online stores participate in one of the two programs. Many sites participate in both programs.

What sites do you use to get the most bang for your buck when shopping online?

Do you Black Friday?

I have never been one to wake up at 4am for anything, especially Black Friday. It’s too early, too crowded and unless you are looking for the 10 laptops that Best Buy is selling for $3 each, the deals aren’t that great.

My husband, the techie, seems to think that Black Friday as a day is almost dead. I’ve been getting emails for the past two weeks about Pre-Black Friday, Not-Black-Friday Friday, and Super Not-Black-Friday-Black-Friday-on-a-Thursday Sales. It’s pretty insane. All these retailers trying to get your cash before the Black Friday sales begin. With the internet, most of the sales have already been leaked so other retailers can try to do better beforehand.

I also learned a few months ago that retailers have to order their holiday merchandise in April. In April of this year, the economy looked like it was growing at a good clip and economists had a rosy outlook for the rest of the year. Retailers, therefore, ordered a lot of inventory. The economy has cooled a bit and many retailers are now worried they are going to be stuck with excess inventory this holiday season. I think this is why we are seeing so many early sales. Retailers understand that the days of huge credit card Christmases are over for many people and there are very limited dollars out there this season. Those retailers are going to be scrambling for your business.

So what is my plan? I’ve put my budget together and I’m going to start my list. I will be checking Amazon’s deals on Thanksgiving via my smart phone since they generally have some interesting deals. I will then check the retail sales figures the Monday after Thanksgiving. If the numbers are worse than expected, the sales are going to get much better in the coming weeks. If the numbers are good, but not great, the sales will continue after Black Friday is over. If the numbers are somehow great, I’ll be doing most of my shopping online. I have signed up for emails from all the retailers I plan to shop with and I’ll be checking my ebates.com and Upromise.com accounts for bonus cash back offers.

I will be sleeping in on Black Friday and enjoying my day off. Where will you be? How do you do your holiday shopping? What’s your plan to be the best deals?