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Don't shop 'til you drop-Shop Smart!

December 21, 2017

Don't shop 'til you drop-Shop Smart!

I love the Holiday Season! I love making lists, shopping, finding the best deals and the tradition of it all. Each family has their own fun traditions. One tradition in my family is to be those crazy Black Friday shoppers! Yes, it’s true…I am one of them! Even though I do a lot of my shopping online, I still get up way too early and join my loved ones to “beat the rush.” Every year we join my BFF and her family to carry out this fun event…oh yeah, we make it an event. It actually begins on Thanksgiving! After we have our delicious family Thanksgiving meals, we rush to the closest gas station to buy several papers. Then spend the evening going through all the circulars and coupons, keeping our favorite hot spot ones. Hot spots are places we must go to first. I usually fall asleep with the paper to wake up rushing to get on the road. It’s always freezing cold and dark until we pull up to the Waffle House near the mall. This is where we meet our friends and set a game plan. We schedule our route and who goes where while we eat an infamous Waffle House breakfast. After pumping up on caffeine and reorganizing our coupons, we rush to find the closest parking. You know it’s going to be hot inside while you are pushing your way through the crowds of crazy shoppers like me, so I always opt to leave my coat in the car. This only adds to me looking even crazier since I am now running from my car into the mall because it’s still freezing outside. Once inside, I try to stay on track with my game plan, routes, coupons and most importantly my golden Holiday Shopping List. As an avid professional shopper during the holidays (I think I can say that now ;) ), I suggest the following 24 tips to help you shop during the holiday frenzy….

  1. Shop with your convenient TVFCU debit card. That way you are not fumbling around for cash and less likely to lose money or cause attention to yourself in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
  2. Track your holiday debit card purchases with the TVFCU Online24 Mobile APP. This is so easy and a fast way to keep up with your purchases on the fly. Plus, you can transfer from account to account for free from your cell! This is great during the holidays when you are shopping a lot. You may want to transfer funds from your savings to checking account and use that money instantly!
  3. Keep up with how much you are spending and your bank account balances. This may be done easily by using the TVFCU app on your cell for free!
  4. Before shopping, make a list of gifts and dollar amounts to stay in budget.
  5. Shop thoughtfully and be creative! Be mindful of the person you are buying for. What do they like? What do you think of, when you think of them?
  6. It’s not about the price of a gift, but the heart and thought put in to it. If you are crafty or have a talent, everyone loves a handmade gift. Not only is it original, it was made especially for them!
  7. Gift cards have long been considered less personal, but the fact of the matter is that people like them. Plus, they will help you stick to your budget. To make it a more personal gift, pair it with a little craft that you or your kids created or write a thoughtful note in a holiday card for them.
  8. Shop locally. You can find unique gifts at local stores while helping your local economy.
  9. Spread out your holiday shopping throughout the year-or at least throughout the holiday season. Shopping last minute often results in making additional purchases you don’t need because you are feeling rushed and frenzied.
  10. Be Patient. Whether you are shopping online or in person, try to remain patient. Make good use of your time while you are waiting in line by reviewing your shopping list, make sure you’re staying in budget, and balance your accounts. Pay attention when you’re checking out online. Do not hit “submit” more than once, or you could end up doubling your purchase.
  11. Take advantage of sales, coupons and ‘Buy Two, Get Third Free’ type of deals.
  12. Sign up to receive emails from your favorite retailers. Many sales may only be offered to a retailer’s most loyal customers. Be vigilant about searching for holiday promotions in newspapers and on their website as well.
  13. Use the Internet to compare prices and products before setting foot in a store. This will save you time and money on gas by not driving all over town, not to mention keeping your sanity!
  14. Start your online holiday shopping at, a site that will offer current promotions of more than 500 online retailers throughout the holiday season.
  15. Ship gifts directly to the recipient. Most online retailers can ship items to a different location than your billing address. During the holiday season, when many people are traveling, take advantage of this feature by sending gifts ahead of your arrival.
  16. When shopping online, have your TVFCU debit card and addresses handy.  Many websites have timed windows to complete a transaction, so you need to have shipping information at your fingertips.
  17. Buy online then pick up in the store. Many retailers offer a “buy online, pick up in store” option. Check with your favorite retailers to see if this is a service they offer, then skip the crowds and head straight to the customer service counter where your items will be waiting.
  18. Ensure your gifts arrive in time. Check retailers’ shipping deadlines, which are featured prominently on most retail websites. The information often lists the last day that customers can place orders for arrival by Christmas or Hanukkah.
  19. When shopping, wear comfortable shoes! We know you look hot in those heels but save them for a dinner date. You’ll be walking on a lot of marble, concrete and tile. Make sure you have water and snacks with you too, or stop for lunch. This will give you time to check your list and prioritize the rest of the time you have that day.
  20. Help them, help you. Donate and use the charity group at the mall to wrap your gifts for you.  This will save you time and free you up to do other things on your holiday to-do lists.
  21. Shop safely! Watch your personal belongings at all times including your purse and shopping bags. The stores are not responsible for any lost items so be careful, especially at the register when you may become easily distracted by the transaction itself.
  22. When parking, make sure to keep all items in the trunk of the car and out of sight. It also helps to park near a light if you know it will be dark by the time you are done. Mentally locate the nearest security office or officers in case an emergency occurs.
  23. Know retailers’ return and exchange policies. Return policies vary, so knowing ahead of time whether or not you will have to ship back returns or exchanges or if you can return them to the physical store in your area will help in the long run. Also be sure to find out who covers the cost of shipping if you need to return or exchange an item.
  24. Don’t forget to ask for a gift receipt in case it needs to be returned or exchanged, especially if it’s clothing. Keep your original receipts with any warranty paperwork for the life of the warranty.
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