Insider Tips for Scoring Deals
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Shop Like A Pro1 of 10
Few experiences can be both as harrowing and exciting as holiday shopping. Luckily, it is possible to stay within budget, avoid the lines and still find something special for everyone on your list—including yourself. Shopping experts (and twins!) Tai and Tarin Perry, better known as the Double Saving Divas, offer their tried-and-tested tips for surviving this season's buying bonanza.
Hidden Code2 of 10
Before you head out to your favorite big-name department store (and especially before you click on an Internet site), do a quick search for a promotional code. "We always search for promo codes online before we buy anything -- whether it be online or in the store," Tai says. "Ninety percent of the time, that store probably has a code where we're able to save 20 to 30 percent off a purchase."
Night Owl3 of 10
Malls may be closed on Thanksgiving, but head to drugstores to get the jumpstart on Black Friday shopping. Most offer cash-back specials on that day, and the twins say they clean up every year at places like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. The savings are increased if you've been a loyal shopper or have used your frequent shopper card to build up loyalty points. "They have door-busters to get you in, because they know that most people aren't going to come. If you wait until the next day, then nine times out of 10, they're going to probably be out of the product," says Terin.
Outside The Box4 of 10
Odd as it may sound, home improvement stores stock electronics like flat-screen TVs and music players for the holidays and often offer the best bang for your buck. "Don't overlook Home Depot or Menards for your electronics," says Terin. "Believe it or not, they have some big-ticket items within their stores. You automatically think that you can only get electronics at an electronics store, but that's not the case."
Hidden Gem5 of 10
If the pressure is on to give the gift of bling, then think twice about spending full price. According to the Perry twins, many jewelry stores have pre-owned jewelry sections, but you have to know to ask for it. And it's not as bad as it sounds. If pieces were purchased on a layaway plan—even if they were never taken out of the store—then store policy is that the jewelry is considered pre-owned, so sellers will offer a discount. "We grabbed my husband's wedding ring that way," says Terin. "We didn't even pay $200 for it, and it retails at about $1,100."
Kid-Tested6 of 10
"You find a lot of parents who may have over-shopped for their children and who need cash right away, so they're willing to go online and post their items for sale because they went over budget," says Tai. Browse community-sharing sites and online classified sales for never-been-used and slightly worn toys that are guaranteed to be a big hit with the kids.
Paper Trail7 of 10
Always scan the bottom of the receipt, where many stores offer future discounts if you go online and fill out a survey. "We've scored a lot freebies just by looking at our receipt," says Tai. "A lot of stores do their marketing that way. So if you fill out a survey, then you're able to save more and you're able to purchase more gifts that way."
ON GLO: 'Gotta Have It' Items
Blue Plate Special8 of 10
During the holidays, some of your favorite chain restaurants will offer free gift cards if you purchase directly from them. "If you purchase, say, a $40 gift card, then you can get a $20 gift card or a $10 gift card as an added bonus. So since we eat there anyway, we're able to have this gift card, purchase our gift cards, and get free gift cards that we can turn around and give to our parents," says Terin. "We do that every year."
Get Out Of Town9 of 10
In the hot summer months, cruise lines and travel agencies increase prices because it is the season when most families are traveling. But the twins have discovered that the best deals are happening now, in the winter. Sites like Groupon and Living Social are offering inexpensive vacation options for holiday travel. "You could save at least 40 percent off your vacations," says Tai, who suggests exotic destinations or overseas trips.
Divide & Conquer10 of 10
Grab your girlfriends before you head out to shop. Assign your shopping list among the group, especially on Black Friday. "It holds us accountable," says Terin. "We stay within our budget because if I'm tempted to go over, then Tai will reel me in. Or if she's tempted to go over, then I'll reel her in. You may not have a twin like we do, but grab a partner. It makes the experience a lot more fun a less lot intimidating."
Get more tips from Tai and Tarin on DoubleSavingDivas.com