As a consumer advocate and fan of my pocket protector Clark Howard, I’m always looking for the best value for not only myself but friends, family and listeners.
Regardless when you are shopping, remember these tips:
Black Friday ads online in one place! http://BlackFriday.com/
*MAKE A LIST!! First thing! (and check it twice.) Family, friends, co-workers. Write down prices of what you want to spend and stick to your budget.
*RETURN POLICY! How long you have to return item? Exchange only? Credit in store or cash back? If bought online can item be returned to store or do you have to repack and ship back? Gift receipt required? Empower yourself BEFORE shopping. (especially for online purchases!!) I like Costco for 90 days on most electronic items. Some stores have restocking fees (electronics…) Seasonal items like Christmas lights return at sale price regardless of receipt. (Target)
*COMPARE PRICES from store ads to online merchants. Will store match online prices? More are these days. Remember that buying online offers convenience of never leaving home or in-store pickup but also means you may have to ship it back (KNOW RETURN POLICY!!) or your gift recipient will so take that into consideration. Download scanner like red-line to your smart phone so you can scan UPC codes in store and compare prices to other merchants. Also take advantage of QR codes (Quick Response) is a square matrix bar code. When you “opt-in” you have access to manufacturer or store website and they have your contact info to send you sales, deals. They’ll also send you text messages/emails that can be annoying at the repetitive nature or depending on your cell plan could cost you money. (I never sign up my actual home address with these services.) Are the savings worth the time and gas across town (s) to pick up?
*TAKE ADS WITH YOU TO STORE! Go through ads to find what you want and what’s on sale. Sometimes merchants make mistakes so proof of ad saves you time and money. Not every store associate will know every sale advertised. Computers are programmed by humans and there can be errors!
*SAFETY! Watch your personal belongings…purses, children, purchases. Put valuables in trunk OUT OF SIGHT. Don’t leave purse in cart when browsing. Pack lightly for shopping (less to carry!) Don’t take a lot of ca$h to store. Thieves watch to see when you open your purse or wallet if you are carrying a lot of $.
*Remember: When shopping Amazon.com, try to buy from a merchant this is fulfilled by Amazon which has better return policy and gets you toward the $25 floor for free shipping. Better yet, try Amazon Prime for free 2 day shipping on almost everything!!
*SMARTPHONE USERS: download store app to get exclusive online only offers or sign up for their members club.
**USE A DIFFERENT EMAIL than your primary address. I formed an email account for use with all online purchases. This way your primary email doesn’t get spam and the like. Free to set up at your internet provider or yahoo or gmail -my favorites.**
*CHECK URL ADDRESS! Cyber theft is up! Did you misspell the retailer online? Instead of Amazon.com you typed Amzon.com and could be directed to bogus site. Something seems too good to be true, it probably is! **Double check your order BEFORE you hit submit. Did you enter correct address? Credit card info correct? Item color and size correct? Will it arrive BEFORE Christmas/Hanukkah? Is there additional handling charges on each item or is it flat rate shipping based on amount purchased, not total items.
*PROMO CODES! You get to check out online and there is space for promo code or discount code. Open another window on your computer and search on Google the retailer name for discount (retailer name+coupon code or promo code) to see if there is an online code. Also search “free shipping”. Again, ALWAYS search for promo, discount or savings code before you checkout!
*FBI has a website with tips to avoid being scammed: http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/holiday-shopping-tips
*VIRUS PROTECTION: And run your virus scans often…your virus protection is up to date isn’t it? Great free protection: Avast.
THE EASIEST GIFTS FOR THAT HARD TO BUY FOR PERSON?
GIFT CARDS: One size fits all!!! Gift card kiosks at Home Depot, Lowe’s, grocery stores feature cards from many retailers but it also means they are pre determined amounts which may be more than you want to spend. For example you may want a Target gift card but the grocery store kiosk has $25 and $50 cards only. Go directly to Target allows you the flexibility to customize the amount. KNOW if the card loses value if not used by certain date, dormancy fee or carries a fee to activate (like AMEX or Visa/Mastercard)
*RECEIPTS: Put them all in a folder so you can locate them after holidays. No receipt means the store is in control and can give you lowest selling price from anytime during the year OR no return OR no $ back. AND CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS BEFORE you leave store for accuracy: sale prices, quantity, etc.
Tom Sullivan is a TV Host and radio personality who’s passion for saving money is not only smart but fun! Visit Tom’s website: http://www.TomOnAir.com
When was the last time you looked at your pricing for Television, Wireless and home phone? Plans are being introduced all the time and pricing changes almost weekly so pull out your bills and compare prices.
Example: I use AT&T as my service provider for cell, internet and home phone (yes, I still have a home phone!) AT&T sends out tons of offers in the mail and online. AT&T U-verse bundle offer included different layers of pricing and options…from a reward of $150-$250 Visa gift card. I had DSL at 4.5 mbs download and home phone at a cost of $65 a month. I upgraded to 21.5 mbs download and home phone for $70 a month. The additional $5.00 a month for a supremely faster internet was worth it. The cost was offset with a $250 Visa Cash card! I just have to maintain service for 1 year but am guaranteed pricing for 2 full years! AND I bundled with AT&T U-verse Family package for TV for just $19 a month!! (If I decide to cancel, I just pay a $15 pro-rated penalty for the remaining months left in my year commitment.)
I just changed my cell phone plan. AT&T introduces new Mobile Share Value plan with 10gb shared data!! I took my bill down by $50 a month!! That’s $600 a year savings!!! AND I have a bucket of 10gb of data monthly to use! (Plus, the sales rep on the phone said to call back often to check new plans and “re-negotiate” your bill!)
Tips: When you call a service provider, have a competing plan available to compare. Example: “Comcast is offering a family plan at $ a month and we’re paying $ a month, we really like AT&T and don’t want to switch, how can you help us? Sometimes operators aren’t empowered to offer anything so ask to be transferred to the “retention” department where those operators have power to offer incentives to remain with the company.
Gas companies always have competing rates. I locked in at 46.9 a therm for a full year! Now I do pay the monthly service fee of $5.99 but it still works out lower than higher therms. Do an online search for low gas prices in your city and see what you find. Some companies will work to retain your business and offer you a competitive rate lower than published rates. Ask them. Example: Scana emailed me an offer of 49.9 (in 2014) but only offered me 54.9 over the phone. Walton EMC offered me 53.9 a therm, a $25 bill credit and a $5.75 monthly fee! Shop around and don’t grab first option you find.
Fathers Day 2014
My favorite store in Rock Hill is Nichols Store. A dad wonderland! Find anything for dad there…from outdoor to indoor fun. HUGE HUGE VARIETY!!
How about a reflective safety vest for dad. Now he’ll look like he’s working construction but when he walks in the evening, cars can see him.
Dad loves music and even if he’s not mp3 ready, you can download some of his favorite songs and burn them to a c.d.. Now if dad still has a cassette deck or 8 track, upgrade him with an mp3 player! Vinyl? Transfer his music (favorite album) to disc. Chances are they probably have it on itunes or amazon.com
Speaking of Amazon.com, these items are all available there and for listeners of WRHI Palmetto Mornings, you can try Amazon Prime for FREE for 30 days! Log onto amazon.com and click on “Prime” for your free 30 day trial. (*Just cancel before 30 days are up or pay $99.) You’ll have access to FREE 2 day shipping just in time for Father’s day and can view thousands of online movies and books. (Items shipped free with Prime are indicated by the “Prime” logo next to item description.) Here is the link to Amazon Prime HERE!
How about getting dad his favorite TV series on DVD? Easy and so many choices. Complete Seinfeld TV series for just $54! What dad doesn’t love Seinfeld! Wait, don’t answer that. Find it on Amazon HERE.
33 discs of fun viewing pleasure! Just make sure dad has his remote close by.
My dad always says “what?!” So we bought him TV ears that allow him to hear the TV, family conversation, movies at his own personal volume. Super Sonic Personal Sound amplifier! Buy it HERE.
Swivel Microphone. Belt/Pocket Clip. Binocular Clip. Excellent for Television, Church, Dr. Office, Lectures, Worship Services, Birdwatching, Theaters, Etc. Just $35.00 Now dad can hear Palmetto mornings without any problem!!
Dad is ready to enter the tech age with his own cell phone. Chuck you’ll love this phone because you can see the huge buttons! This phone is designed just for Dad: Senior Citizen Cell Phone, Big Letters and Big Buttons, Simple and Easy to Use, SOS Button Phones(Prevent slipping, GSM, Brown) Buy it HERE.
Works with AT&T, T Mobile and other unlocked carriers. AT&T has pay as you go plans for just 10 cents a minute. Call your carrier to see if this phone will work on Dad’s plan. Just $45 for peace of mind. (plus either monthly contract OR pre-loaded minutes if available with your carrier.)
Hey Dad, smile! Here is your new camera!! Grab a camera from your local Target, Wal-Mart or camera store there in Rock Hill. A simple point and shoot camera is around $55-$75. The more money the better images you’ll get. Once you get the camera snap pictures of the family and then print them out…OR load them in a digital frame. Dad can take his own pictures and continually load the frame for new pictures. Dad can snap pictures anytime with his own camera! (Don’t want to spend that much on a camera? Grab your own smartphone or point and shoot camera and take pix of the family yourself.)
Grills! Dad loves to grill and a new Weber or Big Green Egg (kinda pricey though) could fit the bill! Don’t have the money for a grill? Accessories always are in style including new tongs, spatula and a grill brush. Find em at almost any store or hardware store. (Ace, Home Depot, Lowe’s.)
Finally, you’ve got a dad who just is too hard to buy for? GIFT CARDS!! Find gift card kiosks at most grocery stores. A gift card is loadable with any amount you choose (if not available in any amount you choose, then go to the actual store you want a gift card for and they can customize the amount on the card.) Some cards come in pre-set amounts which may not suit your budget.
Remember, find something that dad loves and see if he could use an updated gift to replace what he has worn out….like a wallet!! (My dad uses the same wallet since high school!!) Happy Father’s Day Dad!!
Welcome to Sullivan Shops! In the Georgia area? Check out “The Serv Store” for extreme deals on everything including luxury top of the line mattresses from big name dept. store at just $399 KING, $299 Queen!!
Looking for off price shopping that helps an even greater cause in the Buckhead area? BUCKHEAD THRIFTique is HERE!
Freddie Hammer and Chuck Boozer on WRHI Palmetto Mornings.
Have you noticed how low magazine prices are lately? I just got a full year subscription to O Magazine for $2.00!! (Now don’t say I paid too much!) You get a magazine, you get a magazine…and you can get O Mag or any of 18 selected magazines for just $5.00! From Cosmo to Road and Track, find them here.
Go big this holiday with a great tech gift. Turn your computer, smart phone, tablet into a hdmi projector with images up to 60″!!
HDMI Pocket Projector from Brookstone let’s you go big …Projects up to 1080p HD images up to 60″ diagonal. Rechargeable and portable. Connects via HDMI to most smartphones, tablets, computers, video players, cameras and more* Mega-bright LED lamp projects up to 85 lumens for up to 2 hours on a single charge. Dual built-in speakers and focus control or connect external speakers! Rechargeable 3800mAh battery doubles as a USB backup battery for your smartphone devices. Includes 3′ HDMI cable, Micro HDMI adapter, Mini HDMI adapter and AC adapter. Dimensions: 3.9″ w x 3.8″ d x .89″ h; .5 lbs. Who says projectors are just for movies? Our portable projector connects to multiple devices for a “big screen” view of just about anything. Compact, portable and rechargeable, the HDMI Pocket Projector takes you from business presentations to game time with friends to family movie night. Find it HERE Santa! $299 suggested retail.
Christmas Jewelry for her is one of my favorite gifts for ladies because she probably doesn’t have any at all! ETSY online has a great selection from snowmen with rhinestones, candy canes, Christmas trees with swarovski crystals, snowflakes and more!…or find some you like at a store in your area. Next year she can wear them as early as November or if she dresses like the stores decorate for the seasons, as early as July!
And online stores like Vistaprint, Shutterfly, Tiny Prints and even Costco offer photo albums you customize online with your own pictures…for any occassion from birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, graduation….
Potty Putter!! This let’s the too busy guy get a quick putt in even while, ahem, sitting on the throne!
Food Sodas with flavors from corn to bacon, now you’ll always have your taste even between meals!
And in Rock Hill visit my favorite, Nichols Store!! Something for everyone at every price point.
WRHI Chuck and Freddi
Love is in the air and guys especially, it’s that time again! Hello!!
Remember every father’s day you get a tie? Boring! I feel women probably feel the same way…right Freddi? Do you want jewelry for Valentines? (OF COURSE!!) But why not be surprised! So whoever you may be buying for, MIX IT UP!! Jewelry AND something she may not be expecting!
Let’s start with the jewelry.
HEGE JEWELERS. (Pronounced like Peggy with an H)
143 Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Hege jewelers is a staple there in Rock Hill. Mom Kathleen has been running this family business for 35 years!! Daughter Linda and her brother Mike work there as well. Hege Jewelers offers beautiful jewelry, AND Custom jewelry. Take a ring or something sitting in a drawer and repurpose it into a necklace. Let Hege show you how.
Here’s something you can do (and should do often) as a little surprise. Chuck, I know you do this for your wife all the time! (No, not complain!) Slip a love note, card, sticky note into their bag…their laptop (when they open it, surprise!) her purse, his wallet, the refrigerator, on the remote…in the car on sun visor! Cut out hearts from magazines or print a couple out and make a card!!! Write down something deep here. Not just “I love you” but why…what is it your wife, husband, partner does that makes you love them? Express it! Send an electronic card too! TEXT a little something something to them during the day…Now, be warned!! Make sure you have the number correct. Don’t want to send a fun note to your wife and have it go to your boss Bob!
Flowers! Roses are red but any flower will do. White Daisies: The white petals of daisies signify loyal love, purity, beauty, innocence, patience, and simplicity — Red tulips symbolize perfect love. Red carnations represent admiration, deep love, and affection.
Find out all the meanings of flowers at Better Homes and Gardens magazine online : http://www.bhg.com/holidays/valentines-day/decorating/romantic-flower-meanings/#page=2
Decorate your home! Buy a bouquet of heart shaped balloons from Dollar Tree or any dollar store. They’re bigger and last longer! 12 for $12 and you can surprise your Valentine by slipping them out of your trunk after he/she has gone to bed and put in the kitchen or bring them to bed in the morning!!!
We love coupons, right? Print out your own coupons and tie red ribbon around them all…then tie them to a bottle of red wine or champagne! Think of the fun you’ll have redeeming them! You can use a 3×5 card or buy red blank cards and create your own fun!
Got a little more time? Create a video of pictures of the two of you in a montage theme with a favorite love song. Maybe your favorite song is Elton John “Sorry seems to be the hardest word!” (joke.) Editing software online or on most computers allow you to drop in pix and add a song. I like Muvee Reveal and there is a link at SullivanShops.com http://www.tomonair.com/2011/10/06/muvee-reveal-x/
Bake a dessert! Chuck, are you good in the kitchen? Cooking?!! Just buy Pillsbury or ready to bake cookies and let the kids cut them out using a heart shaped cookie cutter available at most grocery stores. The kids can decorate (and eat) them too! It doesn’t have to be fancy just heart shaped and as they say, the thought that counts…and in this case, taste as well!
Freddi you’ve been slaving over a hot microphone all morning and I bet you’d love to have dinner prepared for you, right?! Surprise your Valentine with a home cooked meal. Now if he or she is there all day, go buy a prepared meal and then surprise them but just don’t make them serve it and clean it up. You do it all! Yes, even the dishwasher!!
Watch a Romantic movie! Guys, this is not what you may be thinking!! Ahem. Freddi, what’s your favorite romantic movie? Chuck? Go by Red Box or your movie store (they still have those, right?) and pick up the dvd. Call ahead to reserve it! I bet Titanic will still be on the shelf though.
I think you really have to be in tune with your Valentine to win with whatever you may be planning. There is always the gift card route too…dinner out is a nice treat (just not a drive through!) and if all else fails, a hot bubble bath in a clean tub by candlelight and a new piece of lingerie could be all that you need.
If you’re buying a massage from a local spa, ask them to post date the certificate so you don’t look like you waited until the last minute….
More including other gift ideas at SullivanShops.com
Freddie Hammer and Chuck Boozer on WRHI Palmetto Mornings.
Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday!!! Whether your mom is your “mama” or your wife, here are some great ideas for Mother’s Day listeners of Palmetto Mornings on WRHI!
Online shipping is a little more expensive now but still doable (but isn’t mom worth it!) so you’ll probably want to shop local in order to get more for your money and not spending $ on 2 day shipping.
First, what does mom want, what does mom need? Kids can create something and color it…that’s cute, but what mom really wants—and you’ll agree Freddie, is jewelry!!!! And lot’s of it!! Right?! I like local and HEGE JEWELERS. (Pronounced like Peggy with an H)
143 Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Unlike those large chain jewelry stores at the mall, HEGE Jewelers will customize jewelry from older pieces. Turn a ring into a necklace, a necklace into a bracelet. Surprise mom with something refreshing from a piece she no longer wears. Yes, old is new again!
But guys, Chuck, isn’t jewelry so over rated? Wait, don’t answer that!! Mom may have all the jewelry she wants so perhaps she wants to be pampered. That’s what mom really wants. Splurge on a spa treatment. …I like SERENITY SPA in Rock Hill. (http://www.sparockhill.com/home) Mom can relax with a variety of delightful pampering services like Oxygen facial, hand and foot care, massage, manicure or pedicure, or hair style! Mention Chuck and Freddie on Palmetto Mornings when you book 3 services from their salon menu and receive 10% off!
Serenity Spa Salon
1622 Ebenezer Road
Rock Hill, SC 29732
On a budget?
· Draw her a bubble bath: light some candles, put on some music and keep the kids occupied (maybe buy them a new dvd to watch). This will allow Mom to enjoy a little piece of spa-living right at home!
· Make her a candlelight dinner: even if it’s a simple meal, the gesture will make her feel like it’s back in the days when you were courting her. And yes, YOU clean up the kitchen!! And then WATCH A CHICK FLICK!!! “The Notebook” is always a favorite!
Here’s another great idea I found from Parent’s magazine:
*Arrange a lunch with her friends: surprise her with a lunch date! Get in contact with some of the husband’s of your wife’s friends. Make plans ahead of time for all of the Dads to babysit for the kids so the mom’s can go out to a nice lunch. Go ahead and make the reservations for them and everything! Thankfully, you can’t reserve a spot in the drive-thru. She’ll be grateful for the splurge, and still get to enjoy most of the day with the people that matter most to her – you and the kids!
Mom may like some more time for herself and that means sleeping in late, maybe breakfast in bed and some dessert, ahem! If you’ve got kids, keep them quiet.
How about a family picture? You can then load it in a photo frame that you’ve pre-loaded with tons of pictures of you, the kids, the pets…plug it in and it’s ready to go!
Check groupon for deals in the Rock Hill area. I’ve got the link on SullivanShops.com. http://www.groupon.com/local/rock-hill-sc/things-to-do or http://www.groupon.com/local/rock-hill-sc Everything from bowling at the fun center, golf, art classes, food, fitness and even flying lessons!! And if you go up with mom, just make sure she’s in a good mood that day to bring you down—safely.
Remember, the most special gift doesn’t have to come from a store. As a matter of fact, it comes from the heart. (Chuck, start the piano music.) Mom just wants time to feel appreciated on Sunday AND that you’re really putting yourself out there to make the day feel special for her. Turn off the TV, put down the remote and devote the entire day to whatever she wants. It’s her day. We love you mom.
Find more ideas at SullivanShops.com