Tag: shopping

How Being An Early Bird Can Benefit Holiday Shoppers

Come the end of the often hectic holiday shopping season, many people resolve to begin shopping earlier in the following year. While such resolutions can be hard to keep, shoppers would be wise to consider the myriad ways they can benefit by starting their holiday shopping earlier than they’re typically accustomed to doing.

Deals

The more time shoppers give themselves to find gifts for their loved ones, the more time they have to comparison shop and find the best deals. Retailers often offer steep discounts during the holiday season, but such deals may pale in comparison to those that can be had throughout the rest of the year. Holiday shoppers who begin shopping early can always skip buying in late summer or autumn if they think better deals can be had once the holiday season begins.

Shipping

By shopping early, shoppers can choose the least expensive shipping option offered by online retailers, potentially saving substantial amounts of money as a result. In addition, shoppers who start early won’t have to worry about items failing to arrive on time, a common source of stress for last-minute holiday shoppers.

Credit score

Another advantage to shopping early for holiday gifts is it allows consumers to protect their credit scores by spreading their spending out over several months instead of doing so in the handful of weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a survey examining debt associated with the holiday season, MagnifyMoney found that the average holiday debt in 2016 was slightly more than $1,000. Credit card debt can negatively affect consumers’ credit scores, especially if balances are not paid in full when bills are due. Shoppers can avoid such situations entirely by shopping early using only disposable income to make purchases instead of credit cards. Such financial flexibility may not be possible for shoppers who wait until the holiday season has begun to start shopping.

Time

Shoppers can save more than money by starting their holiday shopping in advance of the holiday season. In spite of the popularity of online shopping, many people still visit traditional brick and mortar retailers to do their present buying. Such stores can be overwhelmed with shoppers between Thanksgiving and Christmas, leading to long lines and lengthy searches for parking. Shoppers are far less likely to encounter big crowds and crowded parking lots if they get their shopping done before the dawn of the holiday season, saving themselves substantial amounts of time as a result.

Shoppers who commit to getting their holiday shopping done early can save money and time and protect their financial reputations as well.

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Plan A Day To Shop Local Fairs, Shops And Stands 

Autumn is tailor-made for getting out of the house to enjoy the great outdoors. With crisp temperatures perfect for strolls or sightseeing and breathtaking scenery awash in bright autumnal hues, autumn landscapes make for the ideal backdrop for weekend plans, including shopping excursions. Fall is a great season to enjoy festivals, farmer’s markets and craft fairs, as merchants look to liquidate inventory before they prepare for the rush of the upcoming holiday season. Cities, towns, hamlets, and everything in between will host their share of open markets and more with great deals to be had, and fall is an ideal time to visit local shops and stands.

Fall Farm Produce

Fresh produce Farms big and small are bursting with produce come the fall. You can find the last vestiges of summer crops mingling with the first fruits of autumn. Grab the last of tomatoes and start thinking ahead to apples, squashes, lettuces, and grapes. You can even get an early start on pumpkin season — both for cooking and carving.

Seasonal Foods

Stock the car with reusable tote bags and scour the farmer’s markets for seasonal finds. Chances are you also might pick up some extra treats, such as fresh honey or canned jams. Food finds As plants are harvested, many items are turned into delicious treats. No autumn shopping excursion is complete until you smell a fresh-baked apple pie or some apple cider doughnuts. Corn breads and fritters, cranberry snacks and wines from nearby wineries also are easy to find in autumn. These items make welcome additions to your own pantry, or bring a freshly made treat to a friend or family member’s home when paying a visit. Also, don’t miss the food-related festivals that pop up on community calendars in the fall.

Fall Goods

From garlic to potatoes to pumpkins to cheeses, many seasonal items are on display. You also can sample these foods in interesting applications and make a day of gathering recipes and supplies to enjoy later. Crafts, jewelry and décor Include a trip to a craft fair, where local vendors come together to display and sell their wares, on your weekend schedule.

Autumn Crafts

Handcrafted items make thoughtful and unique gifts, which can be tucked away for giving later in the year. Booths at these types of events tend to be diverse. Spend the day strolling town squares or closed-off city centers, and you may find some hand-fashioned jewelry or home-crafted artisanal soaps. Those eager to enhance their homes’ décor may find unique items like painted signs, knit afghans and much more.

Shopping local shops, farms and fairs is a great way to enjoy the fresh autumn air while supporting local businesses.

Money-Saving Shopping Tips For Savvy Shoppers

Sticking to a budget when shopping can help shoppers stay out of debt and avoid buying items they don’t need. But staying within budget is a challenge for many shoppers, especially when they come upon items that are hard to resist.

Breaking the budget is imprudent, and savvy shoppers know it’s oftentimes unnecessary. By employing a handful of money-saving strategies on their next shopping trip, shoppers can have their cake and eat it, too.

Embrace Coupons

The days of clipping coupons from store circulars or catalogues may s eem like a thing of the past, but shoppers can still use coupons to save substantial amounts of money. While national retailers may be unlikely to offer customers coupons, many small local businesses still utilize coupons to compel shoppers to visit their stores. Small businesses may not have the advertising budgets to promote their coupons as much as their larger competitors, but savvy shoppers willing to put in a little work may find their diligence rewarded with discounts. Scan local newspapers or peruse small businesses’ websites for coupons.

Try Negotiating

There was a time when negotiation was a big part of the shopping experience. While that time has long since passed, many retailers, particularly small, locally owned businesses, may be open to negotiation. Small business owners can often be found working in their stores, so budget-conscious shoppers should not hesitate to speak with business owners or managers in an effort to negotiate sale prices.

Shop at The Right Time

Retailers must make room for new products by unloading their existing inventory. Study industry trends to determine when retailers mark down items as they try to clear room for new products. For example, clothing retailers tend to discount summer clothing as autumn approaches, making late summer a great time to shop for swimsuits and other warm weather apparel.

Be Flexible

If a certain item just won’t fit into your budget, try to be flexible and find a similar item that’s more affordable. When purchasing big-ticket items such as appliances, apply this approach by looking for last year’s models instead of the newest models on the market. Last year’s models might still be an upgrade over your existing items, and retailers tend to greatly reduce prices once new models are introduced to the market.

Savvy shoppers working within a budget can still find great deals without accruing debt or spending more money than they’re comfortable spending.

 
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Navigating Tech Choices For School Use

Technology is essential in the daily lives of students. Whether it’s kids learning their ABC’s or graduate students pursuing advanced degrees, technology has transformed the way lessons are taught and learned. Statistics support the notion that technology in the classroom is irreplaceable. According to data from the tutoring resource PracTutor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and various colleges, 98 percent of schools have one or more computers in the classroom. In addition, 77 percent of teachers use the internet for instruction, while 40 percent of teachers report students use computers during instructional time in the classroom. Many instructors now assign homework that must be completed online.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development looked at computer usage among 15-year-olds across 31 nations and regions. Many students in high-performing nations reported spending between one and two hours a day on a computer outside of school. Because computers are so necessary in and out of the classroom, families and students may want to revisit their options before buying new devices.

Desktop computer Desktop computers used to be the go-to for families and students, and there are still many reasons why desktops make sense. In addition to their relatively inexpensive sticker price, desktop computers allow students to customize their packages according to their needs and get a powerful operating system in the process. New and advanced processing speeds also mean that many desktop computers can be relied on for educational purposes while also being fast enough to handle recreational gaming. One of the main disadvantages of desktop computers is their lack of portability. Desktops are not easily moved, and if repairs are necessary, it can be a hassle to have them fixed.

Laptop computers Over the last decade, laptop computers have become more popular than desktop computers, largely because of their portability. Laptops are designed to be taken from place to place, so students can use them for note-taking in the classroom and then studying at home. Although laptop processors have just about caught up to desktop processors, they may be lacking the processing pop unless consumers are willing to pay more for laptops with high performance. Another shortcoming of laptops is that they generally have smaller screens than desktop computers, which can make working on fine details more challenging.

Tablets Tablets offer the most in terms of portability. They’re lightweight and small and offer a wealth of access in a compact package. Today’s tablets offer much more than the first such devices to hit the market. Some can run apps and equivalent programs that were once exclusive to desktop and laptop computers. Tablets also tend to be less expensive than desktops or laptops. Where tablets may fall short is in the peripherals. It’s difficult to connect backup drives and other accessories to tablets.

However, with advancements in cloud-based storage, this may not be an issue. Also, note-taking on virtual keyboards may be more challenging, and working on tablets’ small screens can be tiresome over time. Convertible tablet/laptops are now emerging to bridge these gaps. Shopping for a new computer can be complicated, but basing purchases on need rather than want can help guide the process.

How to Save on School Supplies

Back to school season can be as expensive for parents as it is exciting for students. Once the initial letdown of the end of summer vacation wears off, many kids are excited to return to school, where they can see their friends, study their favorite subjects and participate in extracurricular activities.

Parents of school-aged youngsters may share in that excitement while also knowing that back to school season can stretch their budgets. One of the ways to salvage those budgets is to save on school supplies. Fortunately, there are several ways parents can do just that.

· Be patient. Shopping early can save shoppers money in many instances, but parents may benefit by exercising patience when it comes to buying school supplies for their children. Teachers often give students lists of supplies they will need for each class, and parents who wait to receive such lists can avoid spending money on items their kids won’t need. Even if you wait it out, you may be able to get a head start, as some teachers may post supply lists on school websites, while others might email lists to parents before back to school season hits full swing.

· Take inventory. If you have more than one child, chances are you already have lots of school supplies around the house. Dust off kids’ backpacks and study areas from last school year to determine which supplies you need to buy and which you already have. Going forward, encourage kids to store their supplies in a predetermined area once the school year ends, as this will make next year’s inventory that much easier to examine and assess.

· Spend more now to save later. While inexpensive supplies can be hard to resist, such items likely won’t withstand the test of time, forcing you to spend time and money each year buying replacement supplies. Paying more now for certain items, including stronger backpacks and more highly rated calculators, may end up saving you money in the long run, even if the initial pill is somewhat tough to swallow.

· Use technology to your advantage. Department stores and businesses that sell school supplies, such as pharmacies and office stores, may or may not discount too many items once back to school season hits full swing. But savvy parents can still find deals by using technology to their advantage when shopping for school supplies. Download apps like RetailMeNot to your smartphone and enable its updates so your phone essentially notifies you of any discounts the moment you walk into a given store. If you don’t receive any updates, search for discounts via the app or the Internet as you shop. Chances are strong that there are deals to be had, even if you don’t learn of the deals until you arrive at the store.

School supplies can be expensive, but parents can employ several strategies to save on school supplies now and in the future.

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Guide to Shopping Smart for Prom

Graduation and prom season can be an exciting time in a teenager’s life. This time in a young person’s life marks a rite of passage and a pivotal time bridging childhood and adulthood while giving students the opportunity to let loose and celebrate their academic successes. Prom also serves as a way to make memories with a group of friends who may go in different directions after graduation.

Many students are eager to begin planning their prom experiences as early as possible. Promgoers may want to begin browsing stores and shopping for prom apparel in the months leading up to the big night, but it’s important to follow a few bits of advice before making any prom purchases.

· Pay attention to the rules implemented by the school or venue. It’s time to follow one last directive before graduation, and that means heeding the requirements for prom attire and any other rules they may have. Some schools implement dress codes, so learn if your school has one so you do not spend money on clothing that will be inappropriate. School personnel have the right to refuse entry to the prom if dress guidelines are not met. Choose a private occasion, such as a graduation party, if you want to wear something less traditional.

· Shop early and shop sales. Waiting until the last minute to purchase prom dresses or tuxes is not ideal, as the pickings might be slim. Begin your search early so you have more options and more time to find attire that fits your budget.

· Shop further away from home, if necessary. Broaden your horizons to shops and retailers outside of your town, if necessary. This may guarantee that your attire isn’t a carbon copy of what everyone else is wearing – or a complete duplicate of another student’s outfit. Look for independent retailers, such as mom-and-pop boutiques, which may carry more unique and diverse offerings than big retailers. Such stores may offer more personalized service as well, such as alterations and tailoring.

· Fit clothing to your current size. Some students hope to lose a little weight prior to prom. But it’s best to avoid purchasing a gown or suit in a size you hope to be, as it’s easier to alter clothing to smaller sizes than make sizes bigger.

· Browse magazines for inspiration. Professional stylists are often behind the amazing looks of magazine spreads. Take inspiration from their ideas, but also make the looks your own with some modifications. It may be a different accessory or a different color pairing. Don’t be afraid to take a magazine to a store and ask if they have similar pieces.

· Be open to new ideas. Sometimes the clothing you see on the pages of magazines may seem to be the ideal style for you, but keep yourself open to other cuts, colors and designs. An outfit you never imagined wearing may end up being the perfect fit.

· Know store return and exchange policies. Formalwear is frequently governed by different rules from casual clothing. All sales may be final, or there may be a small window of time for exchanges. Keep your receipts in a safe place and be aware of return policies, in case prom plans change.

· Consider renting or borrowing. Niche businesses have sprung up that enable customers to rent gowns or suits for a day or two. The costs may be less than purchasing new outfits. Otherwise, see if an older sibling or a friend may have promwear you can borrow.

Prom season involves shopping trips to find the perfect promwear. Start early and design a plan of action to guarantee you have the time to find affordable attire you will really love. TF164982

Top Organizing Tips

Tired of clutter? Can’t find what you need? Time to get organized! Getting organized can be simpler than it seems. Here is some top advice we found when it comes to getting back on track!

*Vacuum seal bulky items like winter sweaters and blankets during the summer to save space!

*Declutter your countertop by adding hanging utensil containers from the kitchen wall & magnet spice holders on the fridge!

*Consider re-selling or donating gently used items to a local charity

*Tackle the junk drawer! Use a silverware holder to organize miscellaneous items.

Ways to Save Money In the New Year

2015 Year in Review

Don’t miss The Franklin Shopper’s special release of The Year in Review! Available in print or view our digital copy online!

Click Here

We are proud to continue to support our local community and want to say Thank You to our advertisers and readers for a great 2015!

This special section highlights memorable moments from our local area in 2015!

2015 Year In Review

Best Buys for the New Year!

Smart shopping involves making budget-friendly purchases. Never paying full price is a mantra shoppers can follow to help keep their finances in check.

In addition to coupons and other discounts, shoppers can usually score deals based on which time of year they shop for particular items. Each year, various consumer resources offer advice on the best time to buy certain items.

The beginning of the year is often an ideal time to purchase certain items. Consumers who take advantage of sales offered at the start of the new year can save substantial amounts of money. Now that the holiday season has passed, consumers can begin to find deals on items for themselves.


· Clothing: Post-Christmas sales are booming, and stores are looking to sell what’s left of their inventories to make room for spring and summer selections. Even though the weather outside is still cold, sweaters, pants, coats, and more are usually available at a discount come January. It may take some digging through the racks, but there’s an excellent chance to discover some great items.

· Boats: Wintertime is boat show season, but it’s also the offseason for boaters who live in cooler climates. These factors combine to make it easier and less expensive to find a new boat. According to boat-buying retailer Boatline, consumers can probably get one of last year’s models at a good price.

· Air conditioners: If the warm-weather season was particularly steamy this past year, it might be time to revamp the HVAC system or invest in some new portable units. Bankrate offers that the first few months of the year are prime times to shop for air conditioners. While you may not get the latest model, it’s likely you can find a reliable unit at below-market cost.

· Theater tickets: January and February are not especially busy seasons for theaters, which means there will be greater opportunity to get discounted seats for many popular shows.

· Linens and bedding: John Wannamaker was a retail entrepreneur and had a few department stores in New York and Philadelphia. Wannamakers held the first “white sale” in 1878, and since then many stores have continued the tradition. January is a great month to buy towels, sheets, bedspreads, and more at a discount.

· Motorcycles: Riding a motorcycle is a fair-weather hobby, and retailers are aware of this. The easy riders of tomorrow might be able to find great deals today.

· Video games: Those who haven’t purchased their fill of video games for the holidays can benefit from post-holiday drops in price.

· Furniture: Many furniture manufacturers begin to churn out new inventory in February, so last season’s items will need to move quickly. Shoppers can often negotiate some good deals now and upgrade their homes’ decor.

· Wedding-related services: Couples who don’t mind the chilly weather can enjoy steep savings by hosting their weddings in January. Spring and summer are by far the more popular seasons to tie the knot, but reception halls, musical acts, florists, and other vendors may heavily discount their services in winter.


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Gold iPad Giveaway! Ends 12/18

Do you like GOLD? Who doesn’t? The Franklin Shopper is hosting a Free Giveaway that will make you feel like King (or Queen!) Midas!

Winner receives a Gold Apple Ipad Mini!!

Enter Daily by typing in the Secret Word of the week!

(Giveaway ends 12/18)

ENTER HERE

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