Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tricks of The Trade: Holiday Sales Tricks


It's enticing. You can get everything you want or need this season by placing it on layaway. The draw is that the average person either doesn't have the credit or room on their credit card to purchase goods outright. This allows you to buy now and pay later. The trick, not all layaway plans are created equal. Ten years ago, if you placed something on layaway and it went on sale, you would receive the lower price, even if you have paid more than the new sale price. Many times, people went to make their final layaway payment and found extra cash in hand. Those days are long gone. Now, if the item goes on sale while on layaway, you don't get the discount. This is especially irritating if you chose to start a layaway option to avoid Black Friday.

Hot Items

You open the sales papers and see that big, flat screen t.v. you've always wanted. It's finally on sale for a price you can afford. You jump at the chance to buy it. It's only after you've made the purchase that you realize that the same t.v. is available with a higher resolution and other improvements (such as 3D and internet) that your t.v. doesn't have. The trick, distraction. Your eyes are fixated on the price and the basics of the item. Find out more about the item in comparison to the ones that are not on sale. The difference between the two may be inconsequential to you. But then again, you may be left feeling duped when you realize the difference. Sometimes there is no difference. Sometimes the trick is in the model number. Sometimes the item is discontinued even before the sales are over.

Falling Prices

You see the commercials, receive the mailers, and save the sale dates on your calendar. You have a list of what you want so you can get in and get out. You're ready to take advantage of that 50% off, 75% off, 90% off sale. Just the thought of it makes me a little tingly. But then you realize that the regular price of the item was so overpriced to begin with, you're actual only paying what the item was worth 5 months ago. It's not really a sale. Some items such as video games are advertised as special bundles that are practically a steal. But look carefully, the reality is that it's an outdated item coupled with a newer item which is set to be re-released by spring. Remember, just because it's on sale, doesn't mean it's a great price. Often times a massive sale item is a discontinued item with a substandard warranty, if any.

Believe it or not, the best way to save money and get the best deals is to shop throughout the year. There are sales every weekend and every holiday. True, the biggest sales are at the end of the year but what are you really getting? Consider this, the freshest meat at the grocery store is never on sale. It's always the meat that will expire within 24 to 48 hours that goes on sale. The same is true, in a way, of electronics and toys. The end of the year is when stores and warehouses clear out their inventory to make room for the new improved models in the spring. Something to consider.

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