Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday Shopping and Some Holiday Hacks

Retailer competition may grow this season in the face of decreasing consumer spending. Consumer spending was down one percent from last year, the largest amount since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Even if you’re not in the mood to spend, there are a number of retailers out to sweeten the deal to entice you to spend.

If you didn’t seize any deals on Black Friday you still have opportunities to find deals on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a term coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 to describe online sales the Monday following Thanksgiving. According to CNBC, 84% of retailers will offer cyber Monday discounts. A quick search of the phrase “Cyber Monday 2008” yielded 9.5 million hits this Friday morning. Some of the deals available today and/or Cyber Monday include:

* One dollar ($1) doorbusters hidden on Ebay which include a 2009 Chevy Corvette and 65-inch Panasonic Plasma HDTV, each for only one buck. One dollar doorbusters can be found on Ebay from 24 Nov to 3 Dec. Here’s the Ebay promotional site. I'm unsure as to whether or not the "hidden" doorbusters can be found via Ebay searches. If they can, I've already formulated my techniques for looking. I have already favorited two pages in my web browser: $1 Chevy Corvette and $1 65 inch HDTV searches on Ebay. You also might find doorbusters using common letter seaches in the Ebay search box, modified for $1 items only. The letter "E" is the most common English letter (followed by t, a, I, n, o, s). This latter technique may be a little time consuming and may only suit you if you're bored. If any of these techniques nets you the Corvette or 65 inch TV, please make a small donation to charity on behalf of Plugged in Finance. Plugged in Finance prefers the “Fisher House” charity.

* According to CNN, PayPal is planning to promote its site by supporting five to thirty percent discounts at various retailers. I couldn’t find a full list of the online retailers providing this PayPal discount, but you may want to keep an eye open for it. A preliminary list of retailers includes American Eagle Outfitters, and Blockbuster Video.

* Amazon also plans on taking 65 percent off of watches and will offer a $157 knife set for $49.99.

If you prefer to avoid Cyber Monday shopping, you can always find a deal at Woot. Woot is an online retailer that sells one item a day at deep discount.

Do you consider the preparation of Holiday cards a bit mundane? If so, consider going to the
US Postal Service where you’ll find an affiliate known as At this USPS sponsored site you can personally design cards for any holiday and many religious faiths. You can insert your own personalized notes and also buy gift card inserts. The service costs $2.99 per card plus postage. Discounts up to 45% off can be achieved by joining “The Club Card.”

Last, but most importantly is toy safety. If you are skeptical of the safety of toys, you might want to check out a product of the Consumer Product Safety Commission titled “Which Toy for Which Child: A Consumer’s Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys.” This item can be found here. The commission provides the following safety recommendations:

* Check for sturdy toy construction, and when buying soft toys make sure the eyes, nose and other attached parts are secure.

* When buying for infants and toddlers, avoid items with small parts they may put in their mouth or long strings which could get twisted around the child’s neck.

* Arrows or darts used by children should have safety cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective devices. Make sure these tips are securely attached.

* Electric toys with heating elements should be given only to children over age 8, and then only with adult supervision.

* Avoid toys that shoot or propel objects that could injure eyes.

I wish you the best these holidays.

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