Holiday Shopping 101, Lesson 2: How to do the Mall

Holiday Shopping 101, Lesson 2:  How to do the Mall

Shopping malls can be a mecca of holiday sales or just simply a a nightmare filled with crabby shoppers, whiny kids, strollers running over your toes, and food court eats that drain your energy and wallet.  Here's my HOW TO do the mall for the holiday season shopping! 

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Crazed shoppers....do you want to be part of this insanity??

Prep work:  
  1. Collect your coupons...from the mail, online, emailed coupons.  
  2. Register for sale notifications and email/mail junk mail from your favorite stores.  It will pay off.  
  3. Make a game plan of what stores you are going to, where you have coupons, and what you want to either look at or purchase at each store.  
  4. Victoria's Secret is always sending those "Free Panty" coupons or has available print outs on line.  Always print those out for you and your friends.  Everyone needs free underwear!  If you're not signed up, sign up here.  
  5. Browse "Retail me Not" for print out coupons to bring with you to avoid paying full retail prices at the mall.  
At the Mall:
  1. Don't go to the mall when you're tired.  Get some rest and go when you're ready to shop, not drop.  
  2. Wear appropriate shoes.  If you're going to the mall, I recommend boots for winter or good walking shoes, especially for outdoor malls like Old Orchard or shopping downtown on Michigan Avenue.  
  3. Bring water bottle and refill often at drinking fountains.  Holidays are stressful and also winter is dry!  Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water - you'll feel more energetic and your shopping trip will be happier and more efficient! 
  4. Women, bring a purse that allows for two hand shopping where your purse is not in the way.  
  5. If you drive to the mall, park your car far away from crazy people!  Your car is very valuable!  It is both one of your greatest financial assets and liabilities...so you need to protect it and park far away from the front of the busy parking lot.  If someone with you can't walk from that far away, be nice and offer to drop them off at the door and pick them up.  Overall, getting in an accident will raise your insurance rates and ruin/negate any savings from your shopping trip.  Many holiday shoppers are distracted drivers, yelling at their kids, talking on the cell phone coordinating dinner parties, going through mental check lists, so avoid the obligatory 'Holiday Mall Fender Bender' and park far far away, out in the boondocks and burn a couple extra calories by walking a bit farther to the mall.  Or...better yet, car pool or take a bus/train to the mall or your shopping destination!    
  6. Shop at non-peak hours.  Try for weekdays or Monday and Tuesday nights. 
  7. Mall food is usually terrible for you and way too expensive.  Bring snacks like granola bars or a piece of fruit (Clementines are in season for the holidays - my favorite!).  If you are going for an all day shop-a-thon, share a $5 Subway sandwich with a friend loaded with tons of veggies and protein!  
  8. Seek out free gift wrapping at the mall!  Saves time and resources!  
  9. Ask for gift boxes - many times cashiers won't give you boxes unless you ask!  Never pay for boxes, just ask every time you make a purchase and you'll have enough to get you through the holidays!  
  10. Retail theft is on the rise....keep an eye on your purse and valuables.  Pick pockets and thieves are out there, especially during the holidays when shoppers are more distracted.
  11. Always ask for a discount!  Many times the cashier will have a code or coupon they can scan in to get you an extra percentage off!  Don't be shy - it's your money!
  12. Don't forget to ask for a gift receipt.  Little Jonny may love the crazy wool sweater but if he doesn't, he can take it back and no one lost any value!

Comments

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  • Good suggestions, particularly the prep work and comments regarding the parking and protecting of your car.

    I hope little Jonny likes his gifts this year, but still always good to get that gift receipt!

    Thanks!!!

  • Helpful suggestions. Clementines are always good additions in the purse that allows for shopping with two hands!

  • Good point about Clementines! They are delicious, in season and on sale this week at Target...(Best Price) $4.99 for a 5 lb box of Cuties!

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