Tag Archives: holiday shopping

Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

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Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I can’t say that I’ve ever gone Black Friday shopping before and have no real desire to, either. BUT, after working retail for four years, I’ve grown savvy to some pro tips that will get you through the madness with some great deals and your personal safety/sanity still intact. Take a look:

DO:

Know your sales: Most stores do the same Black Friday sales every year. PacSun does, The Body Shop does, Claire’s does, Piercing Pagoda does (All stores that I’ve worked at.). Investigate the sales from year’s past and see if you notice a pattern. That way, you can determine if it’s even worth it to go out and hit the shops. Most stores won’t give you their Black Friday sales info before the day – but it doesn’t hurt to ask, either!

Know your sales Pt. 2: Normally, Black Friday sales don’t end on Black Friday. At PacSun and The Body Shop, their sales didn’t end for a solid month. If you don’t get to the stores on the actual day, I wouldn’t sweat it too much – especially because Cyber Monday is still a thing.

Cyber Monday Savvy: And speaking of Cyber Monday, get hip to it. In some cases, Cyber Monday sales are even better than Black Friday deals, especially if the stores you prefer to shop at have a stronger online presence. Do your research of sales from the past as mentioned in the above sections and make your decision on which day to shop. Or throw caution to the wind and shop on both!

Get there early: If there’s something that you really want, I’d recommend staking out at that specific store front at least an hour before opening. That way, you can get in, grab the item, and get out. It also doesn’t hurt to see if you can put items on hold prior to the Black Friday date so that you can purchase them with the sales and you don’t have to run into the store like a madwoman to get it.

Let it go: If you find yourself in a stand off for the last of something, just let it go. People are literally crazy and I’d rather leave the store in one piece than get the last of something that I’m sure you can buy at a later date.

DON’T:

Be that person: Black Friday is, by definition, a crazy time. Please have some respect. At the mall that I worked in, the store manager of Victoria’s Secret got punched in the face THREE YEARS IN A ROW. That’s pure insanity. You are all better than that. Don’t be that person.

Go in willy nilly: It’s essential to have a game plan during Black Friday. What items do you want? What stores are a must to go into? Can you and whomever you’re going shopping with divide and conquer to get everything on your lists? Devise a plan and stick to it so that you can make the most out of your Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

Buy in excess: Yes, it’s great to get a good deal. BUT do you really need everything that you’re buying? It’s nice to see all of the money that you saved, but don’t buy stuff just for the sake of buying it on Black Friday. As I mentioned before, check the deals. Some stores already have their sales going on now. Think of what is really necessary to purchase and try and do it beforehand, if you can. Being involved in all of the Black Friday hubbub can make you feel inclined to overspend so DON’T FALL FOR IT!!

Black Friday is not everyone’s cup of tea. It certainly isn’t mine! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know a thing or two about how to shop during it. Use my pro tips and have the best Black Friday shopping experience yet! What are some of your Black Friday do’s and don’ts? What are some of the best Black Friday deals that you have scored? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

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Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

Due to how Christmas has developed over the years, the holiday has become more about giving presents than anything else. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – you can easily show how much someone means to you with a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You don’t have to spend millions; a smaller budget can actually make you think more about the meaning behind the gift that you’re giving.

It’s also a great opportunity to slyly slip forward your wish list for gifts that you hope will turn into reality. And for people with slightly more expensive hobbies, like photography, it can be a rare chance to get something you really really really want. Like some of the following:

Lens:

A lens can cost anywhere between fifty and five hundred dollars easily. And it really depends on the camera you have, the quality of the lens you want, and the type of lens you’re after. If you ask for a lens, maybe ask for a case for one, too. You wouldn’t want any breaks to happen immediately after you get your gift!

Cases:

Speaking of cases, a new case could really change the game for you. You might need a waterproof one, and that might just be for the camera while in use or for storage. You can get a branded case, which is designed to fit your particular camera or a generic one which is designed to house a range of sizes.

Tripods:

Ranging from large and traditional to small and versatile, a tripod is a great way to take your photography to the next level. Plus, they aren’t that expensive. Most tripods can fit a bunch of different cameras, so you don’t have to get the branded one. If you’re going to be shooting off in the wild, you might want to look a bit deeper into the specs before choosing.

Camera:

And then, there’s an actual camera. We all know how costly a good camera can be, and it’s likely that you’ve been saving for a while so you can get one yourself. Rather than asking one person to get you one this Christmas, why not ask it of multiple people? It will spread the cost, and it’ll be more likely that you can get the one you’d really like. Or you can always offer to go halfsies.

When looking for the camera you’d like, don’t just go for the flashiest model. Think about what you actually want the camera to do. Are you shooting outside or in? Will you be using a tripod more than going free hand? Do you need the best low light camera or the best portrait camera? Or even one that’s decent at doing both? There are many things to consider, and if you’re just starting out, it’s worth getting one that covers a lot of different options. As your skills develop, you’ll know exactly what kind you need when you get around to upgrading. Maybe next Christmas?

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

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Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

Howdy! I have been asked a lot recently for advice on holiday shopping, since I finished my present purchasing way ahead of the game last week. I take holiday shopping and birthday present buying very seriously, because I love to spoil my family and friends. Of course, random prezzies throughout the year are nice, but it’s fun to go hard on the major gift giving occasions. Now, I’m going to walk you through a step by step guide on my holiday shopping process to help you finish your purchasing with December to spare:

Make a list: I know that I say this all of the time, but it’s true. Type or write out all of the people that you need to shop for and then start narrowing down the best gift for him or her. What are their hobbies? What is their favorite food or type of music? What is something that they would like to have but would never buy for themselves? These are all excellent places to start.

More on gift selecting: Still stuck? Let’s talk about some of my go to present selections:

  • Alcohol is always a good choice if you’re buying for one of your girlfriends or brothers. Who wouldn’t want a six pack of Christmas ale or a bottle of vino?
  • If you’re buying for a couple, how about treating them to a date night? Gift cards for restaurants and movie theaters are a great place to start.
  • Groupon vouchers can also be a nice surprise. I received two vouchers for a Paint Nite event at a bar one year and my guest and I had an absolute ball.
  • Lotions, candles, and other bath and body care treats are also a fool proof selection if you are buying for a sister, your mom, or a girlfriend. Customize a gift set for them filled with smell goods, fuzzy socks, and a sleeping mask for the ultimate pampering party.
  • Buying a subscription is another really good option. Popping for a few months of a Netflix, Hulu, Ipsy, or Birch Box subscription is the gift that keeps on giving and they are not overly expensive.

Purchasing time: After you’ve made your list and checked it twice, it is time to move on to the actual purchasing of the presents. I prefer to do every possible bit of my shopping online, and then buy the rest of my presents in store as needed. I am a faithful member of Amazon and a majority of my shopping was done on there this year. I then went to the shops on a week day afternoon to do the rest of my buying and eliminated all of my holiday purchasing in one huge swoop.

Online shopping tips: If, like me, you prefer to shop online, then there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are always getting the best deal. Such as:

  1. Signing up for emails or rewards programs. Most websites will give you an extra incentive to sign up for their email updates, like ten percent off a purchase or free shipping. Every little bit helps!
  2. Using websites like Retail Me Not or Honey to find coupon codes for different websites. Note that some websites rarely have promotion codes like Amazon, TJMaxx, and Zara.
  3. Do your research. Read reviews of the products that you are going to buy and Google them, as well. You can’t physically touch and look at what you’re thinking of purchasing so this is the online equivalent.
  4. Check out multiple different websites to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

In store shopping tips: I avoid shopping in store during the holidays like the plague. However, it has to be done sometimes and this is how I avoid the hustle and bustle of hitting the shops:

  1. Go shopping during non peak traffic times. A week day afternoon is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for that, then try going late in the evening or early in the morning. The less people around while you’re shopping, the better.
  2. It’s also important to make a game plan while shopping in store. Know exactly who you’re shopping for and where each item that you need is located in the store. Wandering aimlessly can be stressful and ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Use coupons, in store sales, and apps. Plenty of stores now use apps and rewards programs to give their customers great deals. Find them, use them, and love them. Every little bit helps!

And finally, make sure that you double check all of your items that you purchased in store or online for any defects in the products. The sooner you find a problem and correct it, the less you have to stress about it – especially if you have to ship back the item and rebuy it.

So there you have it, Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips! Was this guide helpful to you? What are some of your tips to holiday shopping that I didn’t cover? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

All Done Holiday Shopping!!

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All Done Holiday Shopping!!

HURRAY HURRAY! As of this week, I am officially all done holiday shopping and I seriously could not be happier. Being finished with gift buying less than halfway through November might seem obscenely early to some but, for me, it is just right. For as long as I can remember, I have never been one that enjoys last minute shopping or even going to the shops as Christmas draws closer. Don’t get me wrong, I love holiday set ups in stores and magnificent window displays just as much as the next person but, my god, the stress can be unbearable.

What if I can’t find just the right present in store? What if the gift arrives broken or the shipment gets delayed? What if the present is out of stock by the time I get to buying it? What if, what if, what if. AHHH! Just typing this out gives me anxiety!! I am far from the home stretch, just because Amazon packages still have to arrive, but the fact that I’m ninety-nine percent done makes me breathe easier.

Not only the aforementioned, but I’m happy to get one big bill out of the way now, rather than have it broken up into December when I’ll be trying to save moolah again. Hello, holiday cash! This is the earliest that I’ve ever completed my holiday shopping before, and I find myself wondering why I haven’t done it like this every year. The major stress of the season is gone and now I can sit back, relax, and sip my hot chocolate while the rest of my family and friends do the December Dash to get all of their shopping done in time! But that’s none of my business. 😉 😉 😉

Who else is all done holiday shopping? Who is a last minute gift buyer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Early Holiday Shopping Edition

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Monday Update: Early Holiday Shopping Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! I hope that all of you had a fabulous weekend. One thing that Lil Red loves almost as much as shopping for herself, is shopping for other people. I live for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas so that I can spoil my friends and family rotten with well thought out presents. I revel in making my holiday shopping list, mulling over the hobbies and favorite things of my loved ones, and coming up with the perfect presents under the tree for each of them.

Even though it is a bit early to start holiday shopping, I am pretty happy to have knocked out a solid chunk of gift buying this month. It was admittedly hard to spend the extra dough, especially because of my New York trip, BUT I was going to be buying the presents anyways so I figured that I would start getting it over with now. And since my preferred method for present shopping is doing it online, the earlier the better, in case any of the gifts are broken, take long to ship, etc.

Amazon has always been a godsend when it comes to gift giving occasions for me. What I usually do is buy a majority of my presents from there and then go to the mall (Yikes!), TJMaxx, or Target for the rest of the random odds and ends. Quite a few of my purchases have already arrived to chez moi, and I have to say that Amazon has really stepped up their shipping game. All of my packages arrived in about three days and all of the contents seemed to be handled and packed really well. When I opened the boxes and saw a solid amount of packing foam, I was confident that all of the items were going to be in one piece and ready to be given as a gift. And they were.

I’ve only had a handful of bad experiences while shopping on Amazon in the years that I’ve been a customer of theirs. But the success of my recent early bout of holiday shopping has made me feel safe in my decision to leave a majority of my purchasing in Amazon’s hands, once again. I’m glad to have gotten a head start on my Christmas shopping and am looking forward to checking off the rest of my list in November!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Early Holiday Shopping Edition! Who is done with their Christmas shopping already? Who is a last minute gift buyer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Mission: Impossible (Friend To Buy A Gift For!)

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Mission: Impossible (Friend To Buy A Gift For!)

We all have that one person, whether it’s your best friend, a sibling, or significant other, there’s always someone who is just excruciatingly difficult to buy gifts for. With Christmas just around the corner, now comes a return of those anxieties, you want to be a good and thoughtful friend/family member/partner, but you have no idea where to begin. So what is the best way to buy a gift for someone who is impossible to buy for? Let’s try and think outside the (gift) box:

A Gift Card Or A Certificate:

This doesn’t exactly scream “well thought out”, but it’s a worthy compromise if you need to buy something for someone who has either got everything or they just haven’t given any hints. A gift card can seem like a cheap gift, especially since you have to tell them how much is on the card! In this respect, maybe you want to give them a gift card that is in conjunction with a few other gifts, such as a dinner out, movie tickets, or maybe a donation to charity, all wrapped up in a bright envelope.

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Who doesn’t love a gift card?!

Buy An Experience:

If you struggle to buy someone a physical gift, why don’t you buy them something that is going to stick in their mind for years to come? An experience is so much more than the typical presents that we buy for everyone. Maybe you want to plan a fun day trip or there’s a concert coming up by one of their favorite bands. At least with an experience, it shows that you put a lot of thought into what they like. And even if you haven’t had the opportunity to put much thought into it, the experience alone is so different from what they normally get as a present, that they will be totally psyched.

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 I want that trip!

Go For The Practical Option:

While this may not be the most earth-shattering of gifts, if you’ve noticed that their curling tongs have broken recently or their coffee machine is on the fritz, then you can buy them a new and improved model. It’s always difficult with these types of items to pick the best one, but there are sites that you can look at to get some reviews, such as top9rated.com, to get some opinions of the best items on the market. With a practical gift, it shows that you pay attention to them and have made a valiant effort to make life a bit easier for them.

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 Pixabay Image

A Subscription Service:

We usually think of a gift as a one-off, but with a subscription service, you can pay for something that they will enjoy the whole year round. Something like netflix.com will always be handy if they travel around a lot and end up getting bored easily. Or maybe they are work out addicts, so you could pay their subscription to the gym for a year. It’s always a nice thing to buy a gift that is part of their lifestyle so that they can think of you every time they use it!

Buying gifts for a loved one should be fun, not stressful. Take some time to sit down, have a think, and figure out the perfect gifts for your BFF/SO/siblings this holiday season.

Pros Of Being A Practical Present Presenter

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Pros Of Being A Practical Present Presenter

Are you tired of being a bad gift buyer? In order to be a better gift buyer, you need to think practically. When you evaluate the presents for your birthday or under the Christmas tree, the best gift buyer is almost always the person that buys something that has a purpose and a practical use. Read on to find out why you should become a practical gift buyer, too:

No One Wants Gifts That Turn Into Clutter: No one wants gifts that just get left lying around doing nothing. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who receive gifts that they don’t really want. These items just get thrown in a drawer and then they never get used again. This is probably not what you want to happen to the gifts that you buy for people. So, to make sure that you don’t buy bad gifts for people, you should make sure that what you buy can be used for something specific. It’s a great way to make sure that your gift doesn’t just become clutter but a new favorite household or wardrobe staple, instead.

You Can be Sure That Value Can be Found in Your Gift: When you do decide to buy gifts that have a practical purpose for the people who you’re buying for, you will find that you can get value for what you spend. Although the item will, of course, be used by the people you bought it for, it will still be getting used. This means that the amount of money that you spend will not be wasted in the way it would if your gift wasn’t used. No one wants to feel like they are just throwing money away and not getting value from it, so this is vital.

Being Practical Doesn’t Have to Mean Being Boring: Just because you are buying a gift that has a practical use doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. You can just as easily find a way to make your gifts interesting and practical at the same time. For example, you can buy stationery online, and have it personalized. This makes it that little bit more special and it becomes less of a blah item and a lot more personal and thoughtful. These things are important when buying gifts so put some thought into how you can customize practicality presents for the person receiving them.

You Can Make the Receiver’s Life Easier in Ways They Would Never Have Thought Of: Sometimes, you can make a person’s day to day life easier and more enjoyable by getting them a practical gift. And the interesting thing is that the person you’re buying for would probably never have thought to buy these kinds of things for themselves. This is often how it goes. Embrace this, and buy your friends and relatives a gift that they can make the most of. It could make their life better and that’s a pretty big deal!

Kitschy little gifts are all very well to a point but when it comes down to it, the practical presents always seem to take the cake!

Featured Image By: Public Domain Pictures