WalMart Black Friday Sales & Cyber Monday Deals

walmart, sale, onlineI am starting to get more impressed with WalMart’s ability to change when they are under fire. They have a big article in TIME Magazine this week about revamping their stores and getting the selection tailored to the needs of each community and now I also read that they will be announcing all their sale items online for the Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday sales. (the day after thanksgiving is called black friday because retail stores’ P&L statements go from red to black for the year at that day with the burst of new shopping done. The next monday at work is also a popular day to buy online and it’s called Cyber Monday)

Also new this year is text updates on your cell phone. From mediapost: The site will reveal new items daily. Before the secret items become available, consumers who opt-in by texting the keyword “save” to 96278 (WMart) will get a text message back when Walmart.com reveals the product information on the site. Consumers will find Apple’s iPods and digital cameras from Casio, Cannon and Sony. Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3, along with an assortment of games, are expected to sell well. There are big-ticket electronics, too, such as LCD TVs from Sony and Samsung and pocket-sized global positioning systems (GPS) from Garmin, Magellan, and tomtom.

This much online presence and change for customers and employees would have been unthinkable a few years ago. It was always the our way or the highway game with them. It is good to see that they will have more flexibility with people’s needs and maybe win some customers back. But now we have to get them to chat with us about that whole import everything from China where there aren’t the same saftey regulations as in the US thing.

Getting a good deal on a new computer

It’s always tought deciding which computer to buy and knowing what a good price is for the options you want. The last time I got a new computer I ended up shopping around for a while and then getting one built for me. I have noticed though that you can get a pretty good computer at a lot less than what I paid a year and a half ago. They can be really reasonable despite all the options. Discount computers are a lot more likley to be available also because the holidays are coming up. If you are looking to buy one soon you should subscribe to some email newsletters from the stores you might buy from. Many places send out email alerts about discounts to members before letting the general public know. Some places even have RSS feeds available that update with new offers throughout the day. This also helps you spot a good deal before anyone else. And lastly there are usually some local newspaper inserts that have discount coupons for some additional discounts from time to time. It’s good to keep your eye out for those as well. All these strategies should get you a good deal on your next computer.

Holiday Christmas Shopping Target

I am one of those people who like to have all the Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving so that I never have to deal with huge mall crowds or long lines wasting my weekends in December. Plus aren’t there a million holiday parties to go to in December? They start early in the month with the work related ones and then continue to friends, family and your own household. So do yourself a favor and start your shopping now.

The first step is writing a list of people that you have to buy gifts for. If you are unsure if a neighbor or coworker would be getting you a gift or not, err on the side of caution and get them something small even if they don’t end up getting you something. It’s always better to be generous than not.

Then there are a million sites online that can help you shop and some even have online coupons for extra discounts. Most guys on your list will be interested in electronics and gadgets. The best place for those is Amazon and there are Amazon coupon codes here. Target is also a great place for shopping for kids gifts. I have to send some cute gifts to both my honorary nieces this year and plan to look for educational toys at Target. They also have cute clothes and books for kids that are great too. There are some Target Coupons here.

It’s never too early to start planning because when December comes you will have enough to deal with for the parties you have to attend and the food and decoration preparation you do in your own home. Why not get all the shopping done now, and check that off the list first?

What to eat? Cheap Food & Eating on a Budget

I was recently looking for budgeting blogs to tune in to and read about how other people save money and I ran across the Trying to Follow blog, (which is a religious based blog, although I am  not religious in any way) which had a post about living on a budget. I give credit to those people who do live on a budget because I have always found it to be difficult. Especially living in Chicagoland and working downtown, the costs of transportation, food and rent are a lot higher than I would like. Anyway, this blog had a budget of $1,000.00 per month for living expenses. That isn’t much. It broke down as:

Rent: $500

Car: $100

Food: $100

Miscelaneous: $100

Entertainment/Fun money: $100

Emergency: $100

I pay more than double in all those categories! This led me on a search for blogs that are about eating cheaply (and healty if possible) and how to cook cheaply at home. And suprisingly while there were a lot of suggestions there were very few sites that had any usable information for me. I only found 3 reasonable recipies on the Cheap Eats blog in 3 years worth of posts. I also got a suggestion of SlashFood which was useless because is a blog mostly about making expensive gourmet cuisine and just had one post abou very vauge ideas about how to maybe save money on food. I am beginning to think that the people who do know how to live affordably aren’t really interested in sharing how they do it. And I guess they don’t have to really. A lot of what is on these 2 food blogs is also really fed by advertisers. About 1/2 of the posts on Cheap Eats were reviews of free food he was given by manufacturers. And the cost per meal for those foods was $5-$7 bucks. That’s not going to get you through the month on $100.00 or less. Ok, so it may not be possible to live on the budget listed above in Chicago, but I still think it is good to look into and find out more about. Since these blogs havan’t really helped, do you have any suggestions on how to cut money from your budget? Cheap recipes? On food or any other area?

When did shoes get so expensive???

I was just at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue at lunch because I had to buy a gift certificate for someone’s birthday coming up. It is a store that almost everyone likes because they have stylish and high quality clothing and accessories for sale. It is always a pleasure to shop there and the sales people are some of the most helpful I have ever met. But where do they get off charging $269.00 for a pair of shoes?

Seriously. Who has that kind of money to spend on something as utilitarian as shoes? First the $500.00 handbag came into existence and now they want us to pay $250.00 or more for shoes? I think not!

I thought it might just be one pair that was fancy or by a big name designer but I picked up 4 more pairs all over $250.00. In fact I couldn’t find any pairs of shoes in any style for less than $100.00. What would the people who buy and wear these shoes while walking right next to me on Michigan Ave think of my $30.00 Target ankle boots that are 2 years old and have the heels worn down at the outsides and occasionally slip and I have to catch myself? I’m not poor. I make a good living, I just can’t justify spending that much money on something you will purposely wear on the pavement outside and will get ruined or worn out in a year or less. They are just shoes!

Maybe my black target ankle boots need to be thrown out, but I have a backup pair already waiting. I just haven’t had the time to break them in a bit so I don’t get blisters walking downtown. Yes, that’s 2 pairs of boots for $60.00. Still not even near spending $269.00. In fact over the summer I bought 2 pairs of flats for $25.00 each and last year I bought a pair of flats, a pair of wedge heels and the backup pair of Target boots. All $30.00 and under. That’s it. I don’t buy many shoes at all, and the requirement is that they be somewhat comfortable and black. I only wear black shoes. It’s most practical.

The only down side to this is that I know the shoes I buy are made in China. I hate that I am weakening our economy by buying imports, but the expensive ones at Nordstrom aren’t from the U.S. either.  They are all from China too, just more expensive on markup. So, it’s a lose-lose proposition and I choose the more financially responsible route.

So, I guess I am not the target of Nordstrom’s marketing. But who would want to be? Ok, if you are a Billionaire, go ahead, buy whatever you want. But the rest of us just end up with a lot of credit card debt if we cave in and buy stuff from Nordstrom all the time. So I would rather not have the debt and have my old boots any day of the week.

Christmas Shopping already? Yes!

Yes, I am thinking about the holidays and shopping already. I have started to make a list of gifts for family and friends but what I actually get will depend on what is available as I save money across the next few months. I know that friends, parents, significant others, siblings and coworkers are hard to buy for depending on what they like and do for fun. I have always taken pride in being able to find unique gifts that are particularly fitting to each person and are exactly what they need and want. So this year should not be any exception. Here are some tips I use for always getting good presents for people I know.

First off, I use online shopping coupons any time they are available. You can do a google search for the store you need when you are at checkout and find what you need to save an extra 10% or get free shipping.

Second, I try and take note of anything that people are interested in as hobbies or sports to find something within the range that they would like. I also listen closely about if they need something mundane but important and they haven’t had the time or money to get it.

Lastly, if they are the person who has it all and nothing is of particular interest, or they live far away, I usually go with a gift card certificate for a store they like. Target Coupons, Old Navy Coupons and Amazon Coupons are always great for most people.

Organic Bedding And Home Products

organicOrganic food has gotten popular in the past few years because of the feeling that pesticides and artificial additives and antibiotics in our food is really doing more harm to our health than good. I have shopped at whole foods on and off for about 6 years now. There is a movement to go beyond food though now. It is a mix of sustainability causes and health reasons that cause people to make the switch. Organic Bedding, Furniture and Toys are just some of the new products that are on the market that meet the socially acceptable needs of organic lovers. I also have heard about biodegradeable soaps and detergents. All these products help us change our ways of living a little bit more and to treat ourselves better and the earth.