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Monday, November 19th, 2012
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Cheryl Lock, the personal finance blogger for Savings.com. Her features have also appeared on LearnVest and in Parents magazine. Visit her personal blog about travel at wearywanderer.wordpress.com.
With Halloween behind us, most people have moved on to planning for the next big holiday to hit us—Thanksgiving.
Although, let’s be honest, for savvy shoppers it’s the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, that really brings the thrills. With its promise of super savings and credit card friendly deals, Black Friday is a budget shopper’s dream.
Still, no matter how many times you’ve been through it before, there’s always something new to learn to get the most savings out of the day. “People are shopping on Black Friday for multiple items, typically, and it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of getting all the deals,” says Andrea Deckard, author of SavingLifestyle.com.
To keep from getting caught up in the frenzy yourself, follow Deckard’s preparation suggestions to get the most out of the biggest savings day of the year.
Your wallet will thank you.
1. Start your research online. Deckard suggests signing up for email newsletters from your favorite retailers now so you’ll be privy to the types of sales they’ll be offering on Black Friday. “When you’re on the retailer emails, you’ll learn about the sales and deals before the rest of the public,” she said. “This gives you a little more time to plan your strategy.
2. Make a strategic plan. It’s important to know which stores you want to visit ahead of time, as well as what items you want to purchase at each store. “This will ensure you are focusing on things you actually need, and saving the most,” Deckard said. “Savings Lifestyle even has a Black Friday price database that you can search quickly to find the best price on all Black Friday sale items as you create a shopping list.”
3. Scope the store out ahead of time. Deckard suggests doing a run-through of the stores you plan to visit on Black Friday before the day actually arrives. “Walk through and find the special Black Friday display sections for the items you want to purchase. Many times people make a mad dash for these areas because the most inventory is placed there. Don’t forget to check where the merchandise normally resides in the store, as well.”
4. Conduct price comparison searches. While Black Friday historically has the best prices, consider doing a quick online search to see if you can find the item priced the same, or lower, than the Black Friday sale price being offered. “Knowing who has the best price will help you determine if the trip out is worth it,” says Deckard. Similarly, when considering what you’d like to actually purchase on Black Friday, think about the items that are offering the biggest potential savings and get to those first. “Would you rather save $100 on a gaming system, or $20 on the blender,” says Deckard. “Only spend your time in line, and online, waiting to get those items that can help you save the most.”
5. Don’t forget online shopping. “I’m a big online Black Friday shopper,” says Deckard. “Several years ago we contemplated going out for one of the doorbusters on Black Friday, but when we passed the store at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the line was already entirely too long. I was willing to give up the $200 savings to not camp out the night before.” It’s important to consider the value of your time over money when it comes to these deals as well, and shopping online can be an excellent alternative to going in-person. Plus, as an added bonus, Savings.com can help you find exclusive coupon codes for retailers so you can save even more.
6. Stock up on discount gift cards ahead of time. If you know you’d like to shop at certain stores this season, consider purchasing discounted gift cards in advance from places like eBay Auctions, Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Rescue. Sites like these allow you to purchase the gift cards at anywhere from 5%-25% off the value of the card. Just check ahead of time that you can use the card on already on-sale items before planning to use them all up on Black Friday.
This post originally appeared on Savings.com.
Image: Crowd in the mall via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 1st, 2012
June brings us Father’s Day, which leads us to…gear that guys love! That’s the specialty of Diaper Dude, a company founded by a dad, Chris Pegula, in LA (that’s him below!). He’s got three kids, and didn’t want to carry a diaper bag with, say, flowers or bears on it. When he began selling his cool, more manly diaper bags, he got a lot of gratitude from fathers everywhere. Celebrity dads, including Brad Pitt, have been photographed with his designs.
This month brings an exciting partnership between Diaper Dude and Boba, the baby-carrier company. They’ve created a Special Edition Diaper Dude Boba Carrier that will have Dad still looking like a dude when he carries around his little one. It’s a limited edition, so to get the word out, and to help get someone a cool Father’s Day gift, they’ll give away one $125 camo carrier to someone who posts a comment here. You have until the end of the day on Wednesday, June 6th to tell us what makes the dad in your life so cool! For the full rules, check here. And if you’re looking to buy the camo carrier, it goes on sale June 11th at Bobafamily.com and at some select retailers. Goody luck!
PS after you leave a comment for this giveaway, check out our other huge contest: Poshtots is giving away a $10,000 shopping spree here!
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baby, Baby Carrier, Boba, Brad Pitt, Diaper Dude, Father's Day, freebies, Giveaway, shopping | Categories:
Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Baby stuff is expensive. Maybe not each individual piece of gear, necessarily, but by the time you get a crib and car seat and diapers and clothes, you’re already kind of financially in over your head. I have a lot of people trying to convince me that parents will pay more for something if it’s really better for their baby, and that parents are paying more these days for stuff that’s got great design, but you know, we all only have so much cash to throw around. We can’t keep paying more and more and more when salaries are not going up and up.
Dang kids are cute...but expensive! I bought Joe's star coat a few sizes too big to try to get a few years out of it!
I think that’s why flash-sale sites and all their various dot-com cousins are breeding like bunnies. We need discounts! I’m not a flash-sale addict myself, but I’ve scored a couple of good deals on those kinds of sites. I’ve recently revised one of the original sale sites, called BabySteals.com, that posts two sales a day, one in the morning (right when you get to work and can be “checking your email”) and one in the evening (after the kiddos are, hopefully, asleep). And good news! To help initiate more parents into the e-sale world, the folks at BabySteals will give $100 giftcards to four folks who post a comment right here!
Some rules: You can post up to once a day, from now until midnight on Wednesday, May 30th. You can leave any comment you’d like, but maybe tell me what you’d most like to find on sale for your baby! You can read the complete rules here. Goody luck!
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Friday, May 11th, 2012
This sweet Pack ‘n Play is sitting here next to me and bringing back so many memories. Mostly I think of traveling, and how I took my first child, Grace, on probably a trip a month during her first two years of life. Our Pack ‘n Play saw a lot of use! It came as a shock when she turned 2 and cost a full plane ticket. That slowed our travel for sure. Then her brother was born and we were really grounded. But I still kept a Pack ‘n Play at Neenup’s house (you have to visit grandma!) and at Madama’s house (you have to visit both grandmas!). As a travel crib, the thing is a lifesaver.
The one shown here, the newest collaboration between Graco and Disney Baby, is especially tricked-out. It’s Minnie-Moused themed, but not with Minnie all over it or anything. It’s just inspired by Minnie’s girlishness, with flowers and such. I’ve gone on before about my family’s love for Disney, so I won’t go into it now, I’ll just take the opportunity to post a picture of my own Minnie!
My favorite Minnie!
Back to the Pack ‘n Play: It’s got a changing pad and bassinet built in. This makes it a portable nursery. Seriously. It can be a second nursery setup in your living room, or be pretty much all you need in your baby’s bedroom until she’s ready to graduate to a crib. (Side note: My coworker next to me kept her son in a Pack ‘n Play until he was 18 months old, so I’m just saying, you can make one of these your baby’s sleepspot for quite a while!)
Readers who vote in our American Baby Bests contest love the Pack ‘n Play; most use it as the changer and as a playpen in some area of the house aside from the nursery, so they’re not always running back in forth to their baby’s room. And hey, if you love this or any baby product and want to tell new moms, please vote at our polls right here! They’re fun, I promise you.
And good news: Graco and Disney will mail this same $220 Pack ‘n Play Premiere (or I’m sure they could substitute some boy-appropriate gear if necessary!) to one lucky person who leaves a comment at this post between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, May 16. That’s right, we’re running this contest over Mother’s Day! And as a salute to all mommies or mommies-to-be, I’m linking to Disney’s tear-inducing tribute to moms here. (Or am I the only person who cries when I see Dumbo’s mom?!)
Leave a comment, as many as one a day. Maybe tell me who your favorite Disney mom character is! (There aren’t a whole ton to choose from, right? But the mom in the Mary Poppins movie cracks me up, personally.) Read the Official Rules here. And as always, goody luck!
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baby, baby gear, Disney, Giveaway, GoodyBlog, Graco, Pack N Play, shopping | Categories:
Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Solutions, Your Child
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
We see a lot of products dreamed up by frustrated parents, but one that I keep going back to is the Nap Nanny. A mom in Pennsylvania had a daughter who didn’t want to sleep anywhere but in her car seat or swing. It’s such a common story, but this was the first woman I ever met who got so fired up about it, she designed, and then manufactured, a new kind of baby product. (TRUST me, that is a huge investment of time, money, and sanity!) Her Nap Nanny doesn’t have to replace a bouncer seat and it’s not meant to go into a crib (ever! It must live on your floor). It’s a sleep spot for all those babies out there who can’t or won’t sleep flat on their back.
Of course, you don’t know if you have THAT kind of baby until you have one, right? But if you do, or if your baby suffers from reflux and you’re looking for a comfy spot to sit him in (especially after feedings), this could be a lifesaver for you. Check out all the testimonials at NapNanny.com.
And pssst, we keep one around here for photo shoots because let me tell you, it makes taking cute pictures of a young baby pretty easy! In fact, Sandra Bullock’s son Louis made his big photo debut in People magazine sitting in a Nap Nanny.
Want to try it out? The folks from Nap Nanny will give one of seat, valued at $129, to one person (chosen at random) who comments at this post. How about you tell us where your baby likes to sleep? And while we’ve got you…how about you vote for your favorite bouncer, swing, and crib over at our American Baby Bests polls? (No Nap Nanny on our polls this year, but maybe its time will come!) You can post here once a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
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Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Baby Einstein's new Baby Neptune saucer
We used to call my daughter’s activity center “the office.” We’d put her in, and she’d sit with a determined expression and get busy with the toys, spinning herself slowly around to access all of them. Her seriousness about it was hysterical for the adults in the house. It also drove home to us the adage that “play is a child’s work.” Mastering toys is a baby’s job!
Does your baby have an activity center or jumper that he or she adores? If so, we want to hear about it for our American Baby Bests contest. We’re taking nominations for products that babies and parents love, and will turn those into polls that will go live in a few weeks. (Don’t worry, I’ll announce when they’re up!) In the meantime, you can vote for your favorite baby products here. You have to join our Parents.com community in order to post there, but the good news is, posting about your favorite products makes you eligible for a $250 prize! The rules for that contest are here.
Meanwhile, if you don’t yet have an activity center and need one…this could be your big break! We’re photographing this awesome Baby Neptune Activity Saucer, from Baby Einstein, for a summer issue. And we’ve got an extra one still in its box that we’re happy to ship out to a baby who seriously needs to play. Leave a comment below—you can leave a comment once a day—anytime between now and the end of the day Wednesday, March 21st. We’ll randomly pick a person to win this $90 supertoy. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
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How happy is this baby?!
activity center, baby, Baby Einstein, Baby neptune, GoodyBlog, Saucer, shopping, toys | Categories:
Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Child
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
I love books and magazines. I adore kids’ books too. And so I was one of those technophobes who thought that maybe a tablet or e-reader would diminish the fun that is flipping pages. Of course, it’s not so. Once I got a Nook into my hands, I became entranced with how easy it is to carry my reading with me. Now I also use it to play Angry Birds. And read trashy tabloid magazines. And download stuff for my kids.
You see, there are children’s books, like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, that are kind of magical when they play out on the Nook, with all the bright colors on the screen. I also like checking out reads like Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy. It’s maybe the sweetest book ever, but I was always curious how the author would say (or sing!) it, since it’s definitely open to dramatic interpretation. With the Nook version, you can hear Boynton read it or do it your own way.
The exciting news from Barnes and Noble is that Laurie Berkner, every baby’s favorite singer, is launching her new book for the Nook, called Party Day. It’s got singing and dancing animation and is, in short, perfect for a baby or toddler. To celebrate, we can give one lucky family their very own Nook (worth $249) and a code to download Berkner’s book (worth $9.99). Yay! That’s worth $258.99! All you have to do is leave a comment at this post; you can comment once a day between Thursday March 1 and the end of Wednesday March 7th. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!
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Friday, February 24th, 2012
One of Britax's new models
One of the best parts about being a magazine editor? You get invited to fun events. We go to breakfasts and lunches to view and hear about new products. We enjoy free food, advance information about stuff that will be coming to market, and, if we’re lucky, a goody bag to boot!
Britax is holding one such breakfast on Tuesday, March 13th, and their invite added a cool twist. It says I can invite one American Baby devotee to join me! But there are serious limitations. You have to live in the New York City area, because you have to get yourself to Manhattan for the event. (No travel reimbursement.) Also, I can’t guarantee you’ll get anything interesting to take home other than a full belly! But if you’d love to play editor for a morning, see the Britax line of strollers and meet the people who design them, leave a comment here. You’re welcome to bring your baby, too. Post a comment now through the end of the day on Monday, March 5th. After that I’ll randomly select someone to join me between 9am and 11am, Tuesday March 13th, on the East Side of Manhattan. (I’ll email the winner exact directions!) Goody luck!
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