Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Shopping: The Start

I'm in awe of those who are done, I just started today and that was by accident. I'm going to follow my model of how I shopped last year as I kept it reasonable and was happy with the results. My guidelines:
  • Nothing wrong with window shopping. There are some things you don't know exist to look up on line and others that you need to see/touch/feel in order to get a good idea of before purchasing.
  • I jot notes while shopping so I remember the title of to look it up online to see if there is a better price to be found. I also use it to jot down where I found the item in the first place in case the local price was better.
  • My favorite price comparison tool: Google Shopping, which I just searched for a DVD I'd found in a local shop today. I knew the price in the store wasn't competitive, but I wasn't sure that Amazon's was the best either. Turns out it wasn't, by far.
  • Also need to keep in mind Rewards. I have an Amazon Visa that gets me 3 Amazon Rewards points per $1 spent at Amazon. I got the card for the original $30 cash back and I don't shop Amazon enough. In two+ years of having the card, I still haven't gotten enough points for the $25 Amazon gift certificate so this card doesn't really pay off for me. Related issues for me: my American Airlines Visa gives me miles and I find those more valuable, however that card's annual fee is soon to hit, so I won't renew it. I may begin to use the Amazon card more often if I don't replace the AA Visa with something else, however I don't see this card ever getting much use as compared with my primary card, the SPG Amex, which wins hands down.
  • Don't over spend. Yeah, this one is going to be the challenge because I haven't set a budget. That said, I don't have too many people I buy for. Mom, brohter, grandma, three friends and a couple miscellaneous i.e. work and an as-yet undetermined white elephant exchange.  We'll see.

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