Do you realize it is, like, four weeks until the winter holidays? Ha ha, like I know anything about any winter holiday except the one we celebrate in our house (Secular Christmas). But they're, um, all at approximately the same time of year, right? And so all of us can unite in our common panicky feeling, because The Holiday is coming soon for all of us?
I find the panicky feeling MOSTLY pleasant, because I enjoy shopping and I enjoy buying gifts. I spend kind of a lot of time doing it, and feel disappointed when I'm done. I'm afraid this means a lot of SHOPPING TALK around here in the near future---but fortunately, only about four weeks of it! Because there are only about four weeks left! No, sorry, don't panic!
I have several general suggestions to start with. I do almost all of my shopping at Amazon.com, so I'm afraid the tips are mostly SKEWED in that direction.
1. Visit or subscribe to Want Not. Mir keeps track of the deals and who's got free shipping and who's got coupons. I've gotten so many good buys because of her.
2. Put anything you're considering buying at Amazon.com into your shopping cart (or the "saved items" area of the shopping cart). Whenever you go to your cart, it'll let you know which things have gone up or down in price since the last time you went to your cart. This has gotten me some unexpected good deals: sometimes the price of something drops very low for a day or two and I never would have noticed if it hadn't been in my cart.
3. A bunch of Amazon.com items (certain books! certain kitchen items! certain other assorted things! there is no way to predict it!) qualify for a "4-for-the-price-of-3" discount: mix-and-match any four of these items and you'll get the cheapest one free. Well, that means you want to be a little careful not to order items costing $20, $20, $20, and $4, because you'll get the $4 one free. Furthermore, if you are ordering EIGHT items that all qualify, you'll get the cheapest TWO free: if you've got items costing $20, $20, $20, $20, $10, $10, $10, $10, you'll get two $10 items free. But if you place two separate orders, one for the $20 items and one for the $10 items, you'll get one $20 and one $10 free. So LOOK SHARP, people!
4. Many Amazon.com items qualify for free shipping if you have an order totaling more than $25. So, you know, don't place a $22.47 order and pay $12 shipping on it. Depending on how much shopping I need to do, I might place an order every time I hit the $25 mark---or I might let it pile up so I don't get stranded at the end with a small order that I can't get to $25 without adding, say, four pounds of chocolate-covered dried cherries. Just for example.
5. Also, the free shipping option can be slowwwwwwwwww. Like, 2 weeks slow. So it's a good idea to order early if, like me, you hate paying for shipping.
There. I had one more Amazon.com tip, but I've forgotten it. If I remember it, I'll mention it in one of the next million shopping posts.
Also, this morning I got an email from The Land of Nod, which is Crate & Barrel's kid store. They have a free shipping deal through Monday on all non-furniture items: use code RUDOLPH. A lot of their stuff is not in my price range ($30 for a "stocking stuffer"?), but I'm planning to sort through anyway. It's hard to resist free shipping, and this personalized ornament would be a cute teacher gift, and even I like playing with these six puzzles in one puzzles. Here are the gifts under $10 and here are the gifts $10-25, and here are the gifts $25-50. (But watch out: you can buy this Melissa and Doug birthday cake toy from The Land of Nod for $24.95, or you can buy it from Amazon.com for $11.99.)
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...