November 28, 2008

First of Many Holiday Shopping Posts

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.)

11 comments:

kirida said...

Also subscribe to Amazon Deals on twitter, they just posted a KitchenAid Mixer for $169!

Sarah said...

Thanks for the tips, especially the one about the shopping cart. Good idea! Silly me, I just discovered Amazon.com last night. I mean, of course I knew about it, but I had never really checked it out, you know? OMG, the deals!! Their home sale going on now has some awesome deals on kitchen and home stuff. Happy shopping!

Groovymarlin said...

Honey, if you shop at Amazon that much you ought to sign up for Amazon Prime. Totally worth it! 2-day shipping is always free, and 1-day shipping is only like $5 or something. This really came in handy when I had to order a bunch of REALLY heavy stuff from them - some Rubbermaid Configurations closet organizer kits.

I had planned to at least go to Target today, but I don't even feel motivated to do that anymore.

Psuedokim said...

I too am Amazon junkie and thanks to you and your helpful tip a couple of weeks ago, I'm now taking advantage of 30 days free Amazon Prime. THANK YOU for that - I've already gotten free shipping on several things & I love it. Another good place to visit today is Overstock.com. I'm avoiding the stores like mad today but I've gotten some good deals nonetheless. One year I even ordered a BED FRAME from Overstock and it was an excellent deal - I think they offer free shipping always, but in addition to that today they're offering 10% off your entire order. Between Amazon and Overstock, I can find just about everything for everyone, including myself.

Bertino Verse said...

My fingers were "primed" and ready to fill you in on the wonderful things Amazon Prime as to offer, to find I'd just be repeating. Regardless, as a person who HATES going out to stores and will shop on-line whenever possible, I've been a Prime fanatic for years. To me it's worth it just to remove the fear from the mystery of how long the free super saver shipping will take around the holidays, but it's also come in really handy on some last minute gift situations I've encountered.

Also, I'm CRAZY MAD about Melissa and Doug products! Amazon always has a ton of them, and very often you can find some good Prime options as well. Anther good thing about Prime- there's a ton of stuff out there that qualifies.

Carmen said...

I also LOVE shopping for gifts. Sadly, I'm already finished my Christmas shopping - I KNOW, what possessed me to get all efficient-like? I love Amazon as well, but living in Canada we're screwed. Nothing from Amazon (except books) will ship to Canada. We have Amazon.ca, but it's only book & DVDs/CDs. ALL of that other stuff you get to buy at Amazon - not available to us. Boo hoo hoo.

Alice said...

i am in REALLY BAD SHAPE for the holidays this year. so far, i have 1 gift. and no ideas. AWESOME.

Farrell said...

great tips!

Shal said...

Also if you go to a place called...

www.retailmenot.com it gives you coupon codes for things... Doesn't work as well on Amazon, but Toys R US, Eddie Bauer, and pretty much other independents sites...

Good luck with the shopping!

Jen said...

Anyone who needs Tupperware and e-mails me the code "swistle" can get free shipping on orders over $35. I have to place the order to give you the free shipping.

Farrell said...

My favorite teacher gift:
http://nogainnoloss.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-favorite-teacher-gift.html