Archive for the ‘Christmas/New Year's’ Category

Jessica Shops: Holiday shopping and kids consignment

Holiday Shopping

Mistletoe Market: It’s never too early to get a head start on your holiday shopping. One event not to miss is the annual Mistletoe Market, hosted by the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta. There are tons of vendors from the Southeast with amazing items and excellent deals. This year’s event will be Wednesday-Oct. 13 at the Cobb County Civic Center and will showcase the latest trends in apparel, jewelry, children’s items, home décor, gourmet foods and more. Donate a package of diapers at the door for Cobb Diaper Day and receive $1 off of your ticket ($20 admission to Wednesday’s preview event, $8 on other days). For complete times and ticket information, visit JLCM.org.

Kids consignment sales

Rhea Lana: Check out Rhea Lana’s fall kids consignment sale, featuring name-brand clothes and toys at bargain prices. Sizes range from infant to juniors, plus maternity clothes. Shop the sale Saturday-Wednesday at North DeKalb Mall. Visit Rhealana.com for the …

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Shop both Halloween and Christmas, with no layaway fees

The forecasts predicted cooler days and, sure enough, the daily highs are down to the 80s.

You were counting on sweater weather? It’s Atlanta. And the calendar says it’s still summer. The official start of autumn, Sept. 22,  is a week and a half off. We haven’t even started scheming about how we’ll dress to embarrass this Halloween, still seven weeks away.

Yup, time to start your Christmas shopping. And some retailing giants are nudging us by waiving layaway fees on orders placed well before Santa’s elves report back to the North Pole.

Place an interest-free, pay-over-time order with Kmart through Nov. 17 and there’s no charge. Toys R Us also is scrapping its upfront layaway service fee — but just for in-store orders, and only through  Oct. 31. (Look out for trick-or-treaters on your drive home from Christmas shopping.)

A big help for parents still strapped for cash, or a sales booster to lock in some early Christmas receipts?

A fuel-efficient way to shop for all your …

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Tips for smooth gift returns

It’s the season of giving…and receiving…and returning.

But most merchants are prepared, starting with the day after Christmas. This year, for example, Nordstrom introduced its hassle-free return policy for online orders, including free shipping on returns. And 37 percent of retailers ease up on return policies during the holiday season, says the National Retail Federation.

Jeanette Pavini, a consumer finance expert and host of a California consumer affairs TV show, answers some common questions about returns:

First of all, is it OK to ask for a gift’s receipt? “When it comes down to family and close friends,” Pavini says, “we’re comfortable saying, ‘I love this, but I want another color.’ With business relationships, Pavini advises keeping your mouth shut. It’s not worth the risk.

What should I bring? “Come armed with as much as you have: receipt, original tags and boxing,” she says. The receipt is key. If an item’s price has dropped, most retailers …

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Wes Moss: Think real goals, not resolutions, for new year

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Harvard University once did a study on goal-setting, using members of its class of 1953. The result: Twenty years after graduation, the 3 percent of that class who wrote down their career goals had a higher net worth than the 97 percent who did not write down goals.

My most productive years have been those in which I write down very specific New Year goals, which I take much more seriously than mere “resolutions.” My wife and I sit down every December and draft a “Moss Family Goals List” for the coming year. It covers seven categories, each containing three to five goals.

Here are a few of my goals for 2012:

Health/Wellness

• Continue exercise with boot camp and CrossFit workouts four to five times per week.

• Finish a half triathlon. …

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Jessica Shops: Find a gift fast

Find nearby deals

SaleLocator, Dealio.com: Need a gift fast? Rev up your iPhone, iPad or Android with the SaleLocator app for up-to-the-minute sale info in your neighborhood. I entered my ZIP code and immediately pulled up directions to nearby deals, such as 40 percent off Talbots sale items, three items for $30 at The Body Shop, $700 savings on HDTVs at H. H. Gregg, a 20 percent off coupon for Macy’s and more. Or, wait until Monday for even better steals; stay in, relax and shop online for items like bedding, electronics and housewares. Websites like Dealio.com promise an extensive after-Christmas sale guide of up to 70 percent off. And another favorite, Keycode.com, will have plenty of online shopping coupon codes for JCPenney, Target, Sears and more. Deals subject to change.

Save at pop-up shop

Clothing Warehouse: The Clothing Warehouse has a new pop-up location at 999 Peachtree Street. This temporary location has a selection of holiday gift ideas from the main store. …

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Clark Howard: Don’t buy gift cards at their face value

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ClarkHowardThe sale of gift cards is up significantly from last year. But how good of an idea is it to buy them?

The National Retail Federation says shoppers are expected to spend $28 billion on gift cards this year, up from $24.8 billion in 2010.

Yet my position on gift cards has never changed. If you buy “at par,” meaning you buy a gift card at straight face value, you have made a bad purchase. You’ve taken money that can be used anywhere and turned it into scrip that can only be used at one particular restaurant or retailer. If that place folds, you’re out the money. That happens way too often.

Of course, gift cards can make sense in some situations. I’ll …

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Coupon Mom: Last-minute gifts, sweet deals

Sweet deals make fun gifts

Walgreens: Even though Christmas is around the corner, you can still save money on last-minute gifts that everyone likes. Walgreens has boxed chocolates on sale, and you can use coupons to save more. Use the Walgreens in-ad coupon to pay $3.99 for Russell Stover Chocolates (10-to 12-ounce boxes). Hershey’s Pot of Gold Chocolates (10-ounce boxes) are on sale for $5 each when you buy two boxes. Use two of the $1 coupons from the Dec. 11 SmartSource circular to pay $4 per box. You also will get a $2 Register Rewards coupon when you buy two boxes, so your net cost will be $3 per box (regularly $8). DeMets Turtles (6.4-ounce boxes) are on sale for $3 when you buy two. Use two of the $1 coupons from the Nov. 6 SmartSource circular to pay $2 per box (regularly $3.59). Toblerone 3.52-ounce chocolate bars make great stocking stuffers and are on sale for $2 each when you buy two. Use two of the 50-cent coupons from the Nov. 13 Smartsource circular to pay …

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The gift of cash, in the form of a card

You’re finished with Christmas shopping. You’ve bought your family and friends presents from Apple, Macy’s, Home Depot, J.Crew, Amazon and Best Buy.

And they all fit in your wallet.

We like to give gift cards. The average consumer spent $145.61 last year on gift cards, up from $139.91 in 2009, according to the National Retail Federation.

We like to receive gift cards, too.

More than half of adults surveyed last year said they would like to receive gift cards as presents, and that number is growing year over year, the federation says. (Clark Howard tip: Don’t pay full price for gift cards.)

This year, the top three most requested gift cards are from Walmart, Target and Amazon, according to GiftCardGranny.com, while gas companies Shell and Exxon made it onto the list at No. 5 and No. 14, respectively.

During tough economic times, utilitarian gift cards for basic necessities, such as gasoline, can be a lifeline for some people, says Luke Knowles of …

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How to spend nothing (or very little) on gift wrap

Are you down to the wrapping stages for your holiday gifts? I am.

Just this weekend I was running out to a party and realized I needed to wrap a gift. I grabbed a gift bag I had saved from a previous present, tissue paper saved from a different gift, and BAM! Instant, free gift wrap.

But some people get very creative about saving money this season. This article from MoneyTalksNews inspired me to start thinking about more ways to wrap presents for free — and to use my creative side in the process. (I wasn’t convinced about No.7, brown bags, until I saw the picture.)

Are you creative about saving money on gift wrap? What about on presents?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

Follow me on Facebook | Twitter | Email

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Wes Moss: Gifts you won’t regret giving

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

We have a tradition in our family that may sound familiar. On the day after Christmas, we go through all our presents and weed out the stuff we will never use – the knickknacks from Grandma, the horrifying sweater from Aunt Sue, and the book that Cousin Dave says is a must-read, but isn’t.

It’s sad how much money (and effort) we waste on gifts that are doomed for the closet, return counter or garbage can. On the flip side, there is no better feeling than to buy (or receive) the perfect gift – an item that will be used and cherished for a long time. The purchase of such gifts is worth every penny — even if they cost a few extra pennies.

Which of the following is a better value? A pair of jeans that costs $45, or a pair that costs $150? Clark …

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