All Articles Tagged "shopping"
You don’t have to wait until next Black Friday to find ridiculously low deals on the stuff you want.
Every month of the year features rock-bottom prices on the things you need and want — as long as you know when to buy.
How do you plan to spend your holiday weekend. It’s okay if you’re not into the craziness of Black Friday as some folks just don’t want to deal with unnecessary chaos on their much needed days off. Should you be looking for things to do, here are some ways you can enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend.
If you have been patiently twiddling your thumbs until this time of year, the wait is almost over. Thousands of people will hop in their cars, stand in long lines and deal with crowds in the celebration known as Black Friday. Some may decide to hold off on their purchases, but should you be interested in filling up your shopping cart, it’s good to know about the deals. Here’s a look at some of the biggest Black Friday sales you can expect this year.
Do you get excited each holiday season to find gifts for the people you love? You certainly aren’t alone as many of us plan to hit up malls, boutiques and the internet for the best presents our money can buy. It’s no secret how much retailers look to capitalize on our holiday shopping with deals and specials, but are they really saving us money? Take a look at some of the lies companies try to sell us.
Have you been having trouble keeping money in your wallet? You might think you’re savvy when it comes to shopping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t and won’t fall victim to the marketing schemes of retailers. Here are some retail tricks to make you shop.
Related Read Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Grocery Store
Admittedly, I have never been the curviest person. But contrary to my friends’ and co-workers’ beliefs I haven’t seen a size XS since I was a freshman in college. But even then I’m not sure if my size was result of my fast metabolism or retailers tricking me into thinking I was a size I really wasn’t.
If for some reason you aren’t familiar with the term, “vanity-sizing” refers to the practice of naming a garment a size that doesn’t exactly match the item’s true cut so that women feel better about making that purchase (and more likely to buy more of it or continue shopping at that same retailer). For example, labeling something a “small” that is actually a “medium”. The practice is popular in areas where sizes aren’t standardized, and The United States is famous for it.
TIME.com is reporting that J. Crew has now taken vanity-sizing to a ridiculous new level by now introducing the size “000”. The size is for women who simply can’t fit an XXS because of their 30.5” bust and 23” waist. Think waspy figures like Keira Knightley or burlesque performer Dita Von Teese who has been squeezing into a corset for years to keep her 22” waist. The retailer has received harsh criticism for forcing women to scrutinize the minute differences of their figures and experience unnecessary “size shame”.
The problem with vanity-sizing for me is that it plays a complete mind game with exactly what size a woman is, which can be extremely frustrating for those trying to lose or gain weight if not just for vanity reasons, but for health reasons. It seems that the heavier the average woman becomes over time, the more the practice of vanity-sizing occurs. According to the 2003 SizeUSA study, the average woman is about 5’4″ and 150 pounds, which is 20 pounds heavier than 40 years ago. Jim Lovejoy, the industry director for the SizeUSA survey recently revealed to Newsweek:
“According to standard size measurements, that average 155 pound woman should be wearing a size 16, but thanks to vanity-sizing, she’s probably buying a size 10 or 12.”
“Most companies aren’t using the standard ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] sizes any more. Sizes have been creeping up a half inch at a time so that women can fit into smaller sizes and feel good about it.”
J. Crew insists the new size has nothing to do with vanity and that the smaller size comes from demands from Asia where women typically tend to be smaller:
“We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried.”
“Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small.”
I think we should all just buy whatever makes us feel and look good and save the numbers for the register.
Do you shop at J. Crew? Do you think vanity-sizing is dangerous for women’s health and self-esteem?
When you decide to pull-up your big girl panties and take charge of your finances like a grown woman, you may begin to realize that everyone will not be happy with your new frugal lifestyle. Your shopaholic friends will become your new financial frenemies and say things to keep you chained to the door of revolving credit, conspicuous consumption and living beyond your means. But they will never outwardly admit that they want what’s financially worse for you. They are like wolves in sheep’s clothing–they will sugar coat what they have to say the way a true financial enemy would do—with flattery and platitudes.
Discerning between you financial frenemy and financial friend is a cornerstone to developing a healthy financial backbone. But be strong and of good courage when you come across the forked tongue of your financial frenemy. Your wallet and your financial future depend on it.
Here are five things that financial frenemies love to say to appeal to keep your financial situation in critical condition:
1. “You only live once (YOLO)”: It’s true; you only live once, but here is something else to remember: each of your credit card bills, mortgage payments and car notes has their own life cycle OAM (once a month.)
2. “But it is on sale…” If you are desperately trying to adhere to a budget, a financial frenemy will gladly try to throw you off your course to debt-free living by saying, “but it’s on sale” to justify something that is not scheduled in your budget. What your financial frenemy fails to understand is that buying unnecessary items whether for a little or a lot is wasted money if it is not a need.
3. “You work hard, you deserve it.” This statement really kills me. When your financial frenemy starts whispering this yadda-yadda, ask them to be more specific about what “it” really means. Because when it comes to spending money that you do not have on things that you already own, “it” really means the following: less money, more debt, more crap, and more clutter. I doubt that that is something that you work hard for or deserve.
Read more about finances at HelloBeautiful.com
Every Christmas, there are one or two gifts in the bunch that you will return. But this year, new store policies may make it harder to take back unwanted gifts.
Retailers say they have reason to tighten the rules. Return fraud costs them an estimated $8.76 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). And a majority of the losses—$3.4 billion—happen during holiday season. “Based on its 2013 Return Fraud Survey, the NRF estimates that nearly 6 percent of holiday returns this year will be fraudulent, up from 4.6 percent in 2012,” reports CNBC. Throughout the year, 14 percent of returns made without a receipt are fraudulent.
In their battle against fraud most stores (74 percent) ask for a picture ID if you want to return something without a receipt. Also, 12 percent require ID even from customers who have a receipt.
Three major retail chains will now give you less time to return items, reports ConsumerWorld.org. Best Buy, for example, shortened its holiday return period by a whopping nine days. You now must return Christmas gifts by January 15. “The store had cut its regular return period in half (to 15 from 30 days) for most customers in March. Special orders are no longer refundable,” reports CNBC.
If you are returning major appliances and vacuums at Sears, you have half the time — from 60 days to 30 days. It excludes these items from its extended holiday return period.
While Toys R Us announced an extended holiday return period for most products — until January 25 — it shortened the return period (to 30 from 45 days) on certain electronics purchased on or after November 1. And the return deadline for cameras, camcorders, digital audio players, video game hardware, DVD players or no-contract cellphones given as Christmas gifts is January 9.
For items bought online, the Consumer World survey found that most retailers will allow you to return them to physical stores, saving you the return shipping charge. Sports Authority was one of the few exceptions; online purchased must be sent it back to the dot-com.
Stores don’t actually have to accept returns. It is a customer service and not required by law unless the merchandise is defective. “In some states, stores are allowed to replace a defective item rather than provide a refund. Some stores have a no-return policy. Others will provide only a store credit,” reports CNBC.
Here are some special policies:
- Overstock.com will not let you return any TV that’s 37 inches or larger.
- Amazon has stopped accepting returns on jewelry without all required documentation.
- Office Max doesn’t issue refunds on any product that it no longer stocks.
Restocking fees have declined, though some stores still charge them–usually around 15 percent—on electronic products when the box is opened and the factory seal has been broken. Some stores have restocking charges on other items. At Macy’s there is a 15 percent restocking fee for furniture and mattresses. Amazon has a 50 percent restocking fee on open DVDs and CDs, and 20 percent for late returns.
For full credit, most stores require that all returned items, unless they’re defective, be in new or like-new condition. They must be returned in the original packaging and contain all accessories and all the paperwork.
Gunshots, fighting, and thievery broke out last night as over eager shoppers and those looking to take advantage of the Black Friday frenzy caused trouble at retail spots across the country.
From fights in Southern California over people trying to cut the line, to a ghastly slashing in West Virginia over a Wal-Mart parking spot, Black Friday turned grim as news of the incidents poured into news outlets.
Reports were that Black Friday was going to be a bit of a bust this year, with polls and analysts saying that many people were going to save their shopping for another day. But Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart US told the TODAY show that the retailer had a “terrific” night. Still, he acknowledged that customers are “challenged” by things like food stamp cuts and he says the retailer is trying to take that into account. (Watch the clip of Simon speaking to Willie Geist below. He addresses issues of pay and Thanksgiving hours as well.)
Despite this craziness, USA Today says that the Thanksgiving Day opening is keeping the usual Black Friday madness at bay at a lot of retailers. With consumers given more time to get deals, there’s no need for bum rushing store doors or as much pushing and pulling at items in the aisles. Five years ago on Black Friday, a Wal-Mart worker was killed when he was trampled by eager shoppers.
“Overall, the National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up 4 percent to $602 billion during the last two months of the year. That’s higher than last year’s 3.5 percent growth, but below the 6 percent pace seen before the recession,” the paper says.
Investors are getting a good deal today as well with stocks up on a short trading day. Markets close at 1pm ET.
According to American Express, Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting the endeavors of small businesses. Founded in 2010 by the credit card giant, Small Business Saturday occurs the Saturday after each Thanksgiving. Small businesses and entrepreneurship are the cornerstone to our society as even the smallest of dreams can turn into something extraordinary. How many times have we heard stories about a mom and pop shop hitting it big, eventually launching multiple locations and even branching out to franchise opportunities?
Regardless how big or small a business gets, it’s important to support their endeavors as our commerce gives them a chance to succeed. Here are the benefits of Small Business Saturday. Hopefully you will allocate some of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday dollars to the little guy.