Use a Price Tracker to Find Online Deals

If you’re looking for something specific and don’t want to spend more than necessary, try a price tracker such as CapitalOne Shopping (formerly WikiBuy), Honey or Pricegrabber. Not only will such sites and apps seek out the best offers on the internet, some will also find the latest coupon codes to further reduce the prices paid. Almost any Google product search will also deliver price comparisons to help shoppers check everyone off your list from the comfort of your desk or couch, too. With supply chain issues and the dangers and frustrations that crowded stores bring, you’ll want to buy soon. #ShoppingTips

Building the Back-to-School Spirit Amid Uncertainty

This year’s back-to-school to-do lists likely include more than equipping the kids with new clothes, crayons and backpacks. #COVID-19 — and in particular, its highly contagious #Delta variant — has brought new uncertainties to reentry.

Parents must navigate mask mandates and consider the level of risk their children face in returning to in-person classes. One vaccine is approved for use in children 12 and up in the U.S., and availability may expand to all school-aged children in the next few months.

Until the #coronavirus is conquered, it may be difficult for parents and students alike to be enthused or unworried about the start of school. But there are some strategies you can follow to ease kids back into the swing.

The New York Times suggests returning to a regular school-year routine that includes regular bed and wakeup times, as well as consistent mealtimes. For grade-schoolers, a ban on screens starting an hour prior to bedtime can help establish a rhythm.

Outings such as hikes and picnics can help everyone cope with the transition back to in-person activity after a year-and-a-half of restrictions. Decide how much risk is acceptable when it comes to kids’ participation in sports and other activities, especially those held indoors.

Families may want kids to avoid “high-breath” activities held in close quarters such as choir, band or wrestling, for example. Follow the recommended safety precautions and try to emphasize what kids can do as they return to classrooms, CNN says — not what they can’t.

Students may not need as many new clothes if some of their classes are held remotely, but they may need new laptops and tablets to pursue their virtual lessons effectively. Shop retailers’ many back-to-school sales for the best deals.

Anything that won’t get used this year — stuff such as too-small clothing, last-generation phones and laptops, and equipment for the sport no one in the family plays — can be donated to ClothingDonations.org.

Sort out all of that that extra stuff, put it in bags and boxes, and leave in a designated location on the scheduled day for #contactless #pickup. You’ll be glad you have the room for all of the new stuff that every new school year seems to bring in.

Make a Budget for Black Friday

To ensure you don’t overspend at the Black Friday sales this week, start out with a strict budget, Consumer Reports advises. Whether you do most of your holiday shopping in-store or online, decide how much you’re ultimately going to spend, and stick to that number. If you are not sure that you’re getting the best price on something, move on to the next web page or display. And if you can’t resist using a credit card to overspend, only carry cash to stores instead. Finally, check retailers’ return and exchange policies on Black Friday items to avoid paying a restocking fee or having to keep merchandise you don’t want.

Make the Most of Black Friday

There are plenty of ways to maximize the savings Black Friday offers, says money-saving site Clark.com. Sign up for e-mail promotions at your favorite retailers before you head out to the stores, for example, and price-check items against the web while in stores. Make a list of the retailers you most want to visit and bring a friend who’s similarly motivated to find deals. But leave the kids at home if you want to do some serious shopping — you don’t need the distractions. Shop early or late to avoid the worst crowds, and above all, remember that not every low price is truly a deal.

Make Room for Your Black Friday Buys

Since the advent of the indoor mall, the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — has become a holiday unto itself. The overwhelming, all-American desire to get a good deal on holiday gifts has made the day a huge event for consumers. And retailers are only too happy to oblige, since many chains look to the last two months of the year as their biggest opportunity to command a profit for the year.

Retail stores expect to post $3 billion in sales this Friday, up 11.5% from 2015. And Black Friday’s online corollary, Cyber Monday, is set to match those figures. In fact, Black Friday is no longer just a single day; Amazon launched 35 straight days of “Black Friday” promotions last week, offering a new deal every five minutes through Dec. 22. And eBay, Macy’s, Target and Walmart aren’t far behind; many retail stores will open when the sun sets on the Thanksgiving feast.

As you head to the malls and superstores this year to get a great deal on a big-screen TV or Playstation VR system, don’t forget that you’ll have to make room for those bargain finds. Because for every people-pleasing gift of Black Fridays past, there’s a sweater that just didn’t fit, a toy nobody liked or a countertop appliance that was used once before getting shoved to the back of a closet.

Bag up that unwanted apparel and other items and call ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. They’ll be taken to a thrift shop and resold, putting them into the hands of people who use and appreciate them while funding programs that benefit the nation’s veterans. You’ll earn a tax deduction, and be secure in the knowledge that the deals you found on previous Black Fridays and abandoned won’t add to landfills.

You’ll also give thanks for the newfound space you can use to hide any deals you find this Black Friday and Cyber Monday before you wrap them up for gift-giving. And that will make for happy shopping and a happy holiday!