Newswise — Purchasing gifts for loved ones consumes much of our time in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Luckily, there are lots of tricks and tips that you can employ to help you get the best deals on the perfect gifts while saving yourself time and money. 'Twas the night before the saleIf you know that a retailer is holding a sale, try shopping after 6 p.m. the night before it is set to begin. You might find the discounts are already marked.
Buy in bulkIf you've got friends or relatives who are all equally important to you, buy them all the same gift in different colours or themes as a memento. This strategy can easily be turned into a tradition and something your family and friends look forward to.
Shop aroundA consumer tip: don't forget to comparison shop on the Internet and to ask a retailer if an item might go on promotion within the next month. Most holiday promotions are planned in advance and stores should know what is going to be featured. Great deals can also be found on group-buying websites such as Onespout.com, Groupon and other coupon-sharing sites.
Personal Touch BasketsCreate a basket that suits a particular person. Collect small items on a theme. If you create baskets for multiple people on your list you can take advantage of bulk shopping by buying larger quantities and dividing them.
Make it a Green ChristmasThe number of eco-friendly products is expanding every season, so you should be able to find something for everyone on your list. Also, green shopping can be easy shopping if you consider alternative gifts such as charitable donations, movie/concert/stage show tickets, spa packages, hotel stays, etc.
Don’t Lose MomentumIf you can hang on just one more day you can get all of next year’s gifts purchased this year on Boxing Day. If you can’t face the crowds, hang in just another week or two and clean up at the January sales.
Shop EarlyRetailers are keeping their inventories leaner and leaner, so ensure that the ‘must-have' gifts are purchased early. Plan your shopping during the week so that you avoid weekend crowds and ensure that you can get help from salespeople.
Parking Lot Safety MeasuresIf you take presents to the car and plan to do more shopping, move the car so it's not obvious that you're storing goods there. Keep any parcels covered or in the trunk, so it is not obvious that they are in the car.
Resist City ParkingWhen shopping in the city, using transit is the economical and direct route. Park close to a transit hub and buy a day pass on the TTC or GO Transit. Then browse at your leisure, saving your large, bulky purchases until the end of your shopping day.
FACULTY EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWFrances GunnAssistant ProfessorTed Rogers School of Retail Management
http://www.ryerson.ca/tedrogersschool/rm/about/faculty_profiles/frances_gunn.htmlNot available after Dec. 21, 2011