Save Money, Sanity and Time with BBB Holiday Shopping Tips

If you are feasting on leftover ham or turkey from Thanksgiving, it’s probably a good indication that the holiday shopping season has begun. But it doesn’t mean you have to rush to the stores for those famous holiday sales advertised in the paper or on television. In fact, you may be able to get the same or even better deals elsewhere.

While many of these “door buster” and “early bird” deals sound really good, if possible, the BBB recommends waiting just a little while longer. Often times supplies of the sale items are very limited in stock or may be available online at a reduce price than what they are listed in the store.  Beware, however, the really hot toys are often sold out well in advance of the big day.

So what typically trends as the best deal? Winter clothing sales are best right after Christmas and high-definition TV sets are often the cheapest just before the Super Bowl in February. Several retail stores will often match online discounts and with a little detective work, consumers can check the“secret” deals that are only found on the store’s websites. With fewer shopping days from Thanksgiving to Christmas this year, the BBB says expect to see great deals a little earlier.

But there is more. If you haven’t already, get your list together and hit the keyboard, tablet or cell phone when great online deals are available. However, be aware of store return policies because they vary widely. Stores don’t have to print the return policies on the receipts; they simply have to post them in the store near the checkout counter. While you may have longer to return items, some stores make it harder to return them. Some stores are now keeping track of so-called serial returners and in some cases they may be banned from the store. It is strongly recommended to get a gift receipt or those returning the items may get only a store credit — and in some cases for even less than the purchase price.

Until then, sit back, put on the warm slippers and sip a cup of coffee and enjoy the holiday season. The deals are out there if you know how to look. Find more consumer tips by visiting www.bbb.org.

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About Howard Ain

Howard Ain has been reporting consumer news on Cincinnati television for the past 38 years. He also writes a newspaper column alerting readers to consumer scams. He now joins BBB|Cincinnati as a correspondent.