Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Shopping Incentives

A recent news program detailed that a sluggish economy has changed the way people shop. Often people won’t frequent stores unless they have a really good sale, or a special offer. Gone are the days of people casually window shopping, and buying something on a whim. This is why stores have to offer you an incentive.

Next week, will be the day I step out with ten different incentive cards to do my Christmas shopping. Incentive cards can come through the mail or email and their purpose is to get you back in the store offering you very good deals. Kohls, Penneys, and even Carsons have found good luck with offering a flat ten-dollar gift card. I find most of these cards have so many things you can’t use it on that I always go with clothes.

I also willing fill out their surveys to gain additional cards or 20% off my total purchase. I get several offers from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Ulta for percentages off.  I also have relatives who give me their coupons. I will shop with family and use multiple coupons for one store. The only stipulation is you have to check out separately.  I also get multiple cards and offers because I use all my email addresses.

Other deals will include buying $30 of product and getting $10 off. I recently bought a beautiful winter coat that retailed for 215.00 for $85.00. It was on sale, then I used the fifty dollar coupon I was emailed. Some stores will allow you to use multiple discounts. Trust me, I ask.

Then there is buying your charitable discount. Many stores in an effort to be community minded will allow certain charities to sell a $10 coupon for $5. You are still saving $5, but the store will actually feature tempting deals to get you in to use your coupon. I have my $10 coupon, plus my $20 card for doing the survey. I am ready to save.

What if you don’t have any sort of coupon, incentive card, or discount to give you a reason to hit the store? Two things, I’ll ask for a discount. I usually go with the fact I am a good customer. This works for me nine out of ten times, but to be fair I frequent the same stores so they do know me.

The second one is I Google the store I want to shop.Surprisingly, I do find coupons. This works for online stores too.  Often Groupon has good deals this time of year. I did a great deal of my shopping via Groupon last year.

Before you go, read your coupon closely. I highlight everything it isn’t good on. Sometimes I make notes what I would like to get at that store. This allows me to buzz through the store, pick up the desired item, get my discount, and be gone. There is no strolling through the store stacking my cart full of items as the retailer might wish.

 As the season goes on, you might get better incentives. Bath and Body always puts a new incentive card in your sack dated for the next week to get you back.  
Now, you can shop all year around using incentives, but you seem to get more of them this time of year. You’ll also get catalogs that promise you free truffles or cheese with your first order. Online stores will
promise you free shipping or discounts. I really don’t like to use anyone who won’t give me free shipping.

As with anything, use your head. It isn’t a good deal if no one can use it and it is woefully overpriced. Don’t overlook clearance either, unless your card specifies you can’t use it for clearance.

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