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Research Your Retailers and Have A Plan of Action- Survive the Shopping Madness

IFB Project #23 asked one need to do to survive the most anticipated shopping season. Everyone has their go to tips, guides and even deals. Mine – research and plan.

1. Keep a log.
I utilize an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the sales and specials throughout the year. This helps me keep track of ongoing promotions from my favorite retailers. Every retailers rehash their game plan of promos, sales, and codes during the same time of the year.

For example: Ann Taylor Loft
When a new collection comes out, Loft tends to promote by offering 20% off everything, 25% off if you use your Loft Card. About 1 month into it, Loft will have a special of 30%, then later in the season, 40% off. During the early season collection, Loft usually offers $25 Loft Promo Cards for redemption off your next purchase. * Loft amped up this Black Friday with 50% off in Store, and 50% off for Cyber Monday. It was expected because just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, Loft was already having a 40% off sale.

2. Research Online.
This Black Friday, for the first time, I shopped at Talbots.com. Oh, I visited the site on and off throughout the years, but never found anything I wanted. I rather shop at Loft which is a bit more younger, and trendier. Well I didn’t know much of Talbots.com sales outline, so I went online typed in a search engine “Talbots Black Friday 2010.” I wanted to see what Talbots.com specials for last year and I could keep going back further and further. What I noticed is that Talbots usually have a 30% off during Thanksgiving, online and in store. Every year, on Black Friday, Talbots would have a 50% off One Full Priced Item in store only. Then on Cyber Monday, have that same deal online only.

It made figure out my strategy to either split up my order or to wait. I ended up using the 30% off because I got free shipping for $100 or more. The 50% off 1 item didn’t appeal to me because it’s only on 1 item. I saved more on my overall purchase.

3. Scope Out the Merchandise.
I went online to Jcrew.com and already added the clothes I wanted to my shopping cart. Many retailers store your cart so you don’t have to readd items and forget something you should have bought. I also kept notes on Excel regarding what I expected to buy and where. This helped me budget.

4. Sometimes it’s best to wait.
And I waited for the Cyber Monday sale. I knew from previous years J. Crew only has the 25% off and get free shipping on $150 or more. Well Ebates.com (referal) had a great Cyber Monday special. Instead of earning 4% back at J. Crew, they upped it to 10% cash back. Amazing deal.

Any other tips you would like to share?

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My Picks For Cyber Monday 2011

It’s just Sunday, but many retailers are already advertising their Cyber Monday specials. Honestly, the shopping season this year seems to rush consumers to purchase, purchase, and purchase. I have been inundated with specials for 3 weeks now. After one sale ends, another starts. I don’t know when to buy because I don’t know if the next sale will be better.

I do have some picks from several retailers I frequently shop at:

Piperlime.com – code at checkout HUGECYBER
Save 20% off entire purchase + Free Shipping everyday on your favorite designer clothing.

My Picks:

Party Play Skirt by Line & Dot


Canna Tie Blouse


Karolina by Kate Spade


Imperial Lace Strapless Dress by Tii

Kohls.com
20% off Everything + Free Shipping (No Minimum) – code CYBER20

My Picks:

LC Lauren Conrad Gold Tone Simulated Crystal Bow Two Finger Ring


ELLE™ Peplum Trench Jacket


Kohl’s Cares® Simply Vera Vera Wang Cluster Necklace

Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy – code HUGECYBER
30% off Entire Purchase

My Picks:

Embroidered pearl-trim sweater


Faux fur trim herringbone coat


Leather crossbody bag


Metallic pleated yoke skirt


Women’s Plaid Flannel Shirts


Women’s Faux-Leather Shooties

I have been shopping this crazy Black Friday weekend. I don’t think my wallet can handle any more damage. Most of the things I picked up during Black Friday, I already regret. We will see if I will keep the items.

What are your keepers and what are you returning?

UPDATED:

Ann Taylor Loft – 50% off Everything with code SHOP50
* Site keeps crashing when I shop. – weird…

Asos.com – code HAPPYBLACKFRIDAY still active for 20% off. In addition site is up to 25% off.

Yesstyle.com – 15% off entire Site with code YSCM2011NOV

Where I’m Shopping for Black Friday…

Asos.com – 20% off – code HAPPYBLACKFRIDAY
Loft – 40% off – code SHOP40

Shopbop.com – code BIGEVENT – Spend
$250 – $50 off
$500 – $100 off
$750 – $150 off
$1000 – $250 off
$1500 – $500 off

Talbots.com – 30% off – code FRIENDS
50% OFF In Stores on Black Friday

American Eagle – 40% off – code 72429831

Have a great shopping day!