I know that many of my readers prefer to buy locally. But it’s hard to pass up great deals. If you enjoy supporting your local shops and are considering buying locally this holiday season, here are some tips to make sure you still get a good price.
1. Watch for neighborhood sales. Sometimes the stores lining an entire street will offer sales as an effort to promote local commerce. Watch for flyers, posters and check your local community newspapers for info.
2. Include local stores when price shopping. Even if your favourite stores do not post their sales on flyerland.ca or produce a paper flyer, call and inquire about prices when seeking the best deal. You may be surprised what they have to offer.
3. Ask them to price-match or offer a similar deal. Store owners may have more clout than staff at a Big Box store and they may be willing to negotiate with you. Bring in another store’s flyer or simply ask them to cut you a deal. They may be especially willing if you are buying lots of gifts, so consider doing more of your holiday shopping in one place and asking for a substantial discount in return.
4. Don’t get fooled by Big Box deals. Some of the sales and bonuses currently offered by chain stores are great; others are not. A free gift card for $10 when you buy $100 is only 10% off and it requires a hefty purchase price to begin with – plus, it requires you to come back and buy more from that store to use the gift card. Buy one get one free is only a good deal if you really need two of that item. Don’t assume that the advertised “limited time only” or “Black Friday” sales are that much better than what they regularly offer. Sometimes local stores have competitive prices but lack the ability to advertise. Staying abreast of competitors’ prices, being spending savvy, and thinking before you buy will help you make wise decisions.
5. Buy less. If you are in a store that is more expensive, consider the trade-off. Would you rather buy a unique, one-of-a-kind gift that is handcrafted with love, or a cookie cutter gift that has been mass-produced (not to mention where that gift has been produced). Ethics aside, it is fun to buy unique gifts from local stores. Even if you buy less, your recipient may appreciate the uniqueness and authenticity of the gift. Sometimes less really is more!