Buy Only What You Need During Cyber Week

The holiday season is in full swing, and retailers eager to end the year on a profitable note are publicizing deals by the boatload for Cyber Week — the busiest online shopping days of the year.

The deals are tantalizing. How could you not buy that toy/game/gadget when the price is so low? But if you let yourself get carried away with the perceived savings, you may just run out of money altogether — and the space to put those things.

As a busy consumer shopping for gifts and other goods, you should make every attempt to spend only what you need to spend during the holidays. Some of the deals online and in stores this week are truly once-in-a-lifetime, but you and your giftees may not really need whatever it is.

There are things to consider buying during Cyber Week, of course. First, Buzzfeed says, you should look for great deals on household items you already use, appliances you’ve held off on buying, electronics, shoes and more.

But approach your shopping with a focus on what you (and the people you buy for) can really use and appreciate. “Ask yourself whether you would buy it if it weren’t on sale,” Apartment Therapy advises. “Is it on your list? Do you need it? What makes it a ‘good deal’?”

Buy or receive too many things, and you may not have enough space for all of the junk (er, merchandise) changing hands during the holidays. If you’re a longtime reader of the Organizing Blog, you may have some room for new stuff, but keeping your life clear of clutter is an ongoing process.

Try the “one in, two out” rule as you accumulate things this season: For every new item you allow into your home, donate or trash two to make room. Even if you try to cheat the rule by balancing large items with small ones, you will eventually slash your levels of stuff.

Alternatively, try to buy yourself and others only “uncluttered gifts” that get used up fast, such as candy, wine or dinners out. Also good are gift certificates and event tickets; they show you care while creating memories instead of clutter.

Finally, today is Giving Tuesday — the annual event that encourages donations of money and time to nonprofit organizations and causes. Participate in it, and not only will you keep unnecessary stuff out of your life, you’ll get a warm feeling that lasts all season long.

Start Your Shopping with a Search

Looking for the best deals during “Cyber Week?” Do an online search! Many websites now aggregate deals from multiple retailers, help shoppers compare prices, and offer money-off coupons and promo codes. It’s an easy click-through to many deals, and you won’t have to wonder whether you got the best price on that PlayStation console or drone. For more Cyber Monday tips, check out The Week.

Cyber Monday Delivers Deals Online

The National Retail Federation reports that for the first Black Friday ever, more people shopped online than in stores—and Cyber Monday is sure to deliver more deals. As you go bargain-hunting from your smartphone or desktop today, remember the many gifts of Christmases past that no longer fit or get much use. Give them to ClothingDonations.org, and you’ll help fund veteran’s programs and clear the clutter ahead of the holidays.28

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!

The Big Benefits of Online Shopping

Geared up for a shopping trip with the kids this weekend? According to the HowStuffWorks website, you may want to rethink your idea.

Online shopping, especially for kids’ apparel, may be your best bet. The website also explains that one day of the week in particular is the best for online deals for children’s clothing—citing a survey of more than 100 retailers, HowStuffWorks indicated Wednesday as the best day for online deals for kids’ clothing, with discounts of up to 40 percent.

While you avoid transportation costs and save time, online shopping for kids comes with its own drawbacks. You won’t be able to have your child try on the clothing, and you may not be able to make returns with free shipping.

To avoid returns, HowStuffWorks recommends zeroing in on one or two retailers to gain a good sense of the sizing, its uniformity and quality of the apparel.

In addition, you can rely on retailers’ online reviews for an overview of sizing and quality. For example, if 20 reviews about quality rank it four out of five stars and only one of those reviews is negative, you can typically trust the majority. Within the reviews, you usually can spot problems with the company’s return policy as well.

Zappos is among the retailers that pays for shipping both ways, which can save you plenty of money if you have hard-to-fit or finicky youngsters. And, you can check with RetailMeNot for special shipping deals and coupon codes.

Don’t forget that there are agencies to help consumers. If you think a return policy is too restrictive or if the company didn’t follow its own policies, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or Better Business Bureau.

Once you’ve safely and economically made your purchases, it’s time to think about what items your children no longer need or have outgrown. Gather them up and give us a call. Your donation will help our veterans!