Sullivan Shops!

TomKaylaWelcome to Sullivan Shops! 

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.

Also, welcome listeners of  The Steve and Vikki Podcast Show!

Online Shopping:

When shopping an online retailer, put items you want in your cart but then log out of the site. Retailers want you to complete the sale so when you log back in you may receive additional discounts, offer or free shipping!

SHOP ON DIFFERENT DEVICES:
Retailers track your online shopping activities.  When you shop from your smart phone and do it frequently, your shopping habits are tracked so mix it up!  Shop from your PC/Mac, tablet, TV browser but just remember to pay with a secure connection from a trusted source.  (Maybe log in from your desktop to complete the purchase.)

USE LIVE CHAT:
You see the live chat window open up all the time on sites you’re browsing so use it to your advantage.  Be bold!  Ask for free shipping or discount code.  Most retailers want to complete the sale and agents are authorized to hand out discount codes to customers.  Tell them you’re shopping around and are considering a purchase.  They’ll more than likely work with you.  And always search online for a coupon code (try them all) to apply to your order.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS:
I don’t normally join loyalty programs but in this case, during the holidays, a loyalty program can bring you greater rewards and discounts.  So when you sign up, use a “spam” email.  I set up a secondary email just for online shopping and online transactions.  This reduces the spam in your primary email inbox.

 

BLACK FRIDAYish

Black Friday ads online in one place! http://BlackFriday.com/ or http://www.TheBlackFriday.com

Also, Black Friday may NOT be the best deal.  For instance, Best Buy features a side by side refrigerator for $999. The same item was $989 on Labor Day!!  Do your research!

95+ Million people will shop Black Friday deals.  But stores are diluting Black Friday from the big day it used to be by starting sales earlier and extending them.  And opening on Thanksgiving day creates publicity (and dislike by employees.) I love how REI is closed on the day after Thanksgiving.  Yes, REI closed on Black Friday!! Finally a retailer who wants to give their employees the time to spend with family and enjoy the holiday (and get some great press!) Besides, Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year.  (It’s #2.) The Biggest retail day of the year? Saturday BEFORE Christmas! Yep.

Retailers want their employees to enjoy Thankgsiving with their families, just not on Thanksgiving. An estimated 26 million people will leave the turkey for the stores.  (anything to get away from Uncle Bob.)  I love the fact that many retailers including Marshalls, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods are closed on Thanksgiving and more are following this trend.

Regardless when you are shopping, remember these tips:

REWARDS CARDS:

Use a Credit Card that gives you rewards!  There are many out there from cash to trips and everything in between.  If your credit card isn’t tied to a rewards program find one that is! Many cards have introductory rates or 0% interest for a full year on purchases!  Search “reward credit cards” online.

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.  And yes there are Apps for that! (Scroll down for more money saving “Must Have Apps!”)Santa’s Bag (iPhone) and Christmas List Snowball (android) let you create a profile for each person in your life, set a budget, add gifts with estimated costs and then record what you’ve spent so far. Nifty, huh! You can quickly see who still doesn’t have a gift and where you’ve gone over budget. Christmas List Snowball also has some fun animations to keep you jolly during the hectic holiday rush.

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? You may spend more on return shipping than item costs OR defeat the original cheaper price offset with “free” shipping!  Gift receipt required? SAVE RECEIPTS!!  AND save ALL packing materials!! Empower yourself  BEFORE shopping. (especially for online purchases!!)  I like Costco for a full satisfaction guarantee on almost everything, 90 days on most electronic items.  L.L.Bean has an unlimited return policy as does R.E.I.  If you abuse it though you’ll make their “naughty” list and be limited on returns.   Some stores have restocking fees (electronics, etc…)  Seasonal items like Christmas lights might return at sale price regardless of receipt. (Target) See below for “OnLine Shopping.”  The TJX stores (Marshalls, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods) allow returns with receipt from purchases dated October 16, 2016 through December 24th, 2016 through January 23, 2017.  Find more return policies HERE.

COMPARE PRICES

From store ads to online merchants.  Will store match online prices?  YES says Wal-Mart! (see next paragraph) 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 THE STORE RETURN POLICY!!)  or your gift recipient will so take that into consideration.   Download scanner like red-line (by eBay) 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. ( Never sign up with your actual home address with these services. Use a P.O. Box or other address.)  Also 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.  And with fake ads being created online, the actual competitor ad or store ad you are shopping is best. Plus, not every store associate will know every sale advertised. Computers are programmed by humans and there can be errors!  Wal-Mart now matches Amazon.com!! Here is their online price match guarantee. Read it carefully as people have already abused the system reducing various sellers on Amazon.  Walmart will price match local competitors ads too Here.

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 $.  Be observant when walking toward your vehicle and have keys out and ready to unlock car.  Don’t stand there and fumble with items or looking through purse or wallet.  Look around, shut the door and lock it.  You have to play it safe and protect yourself and family.  Just be cautious!

ONLINE SHOPPING

Remember:  When shopping Amazon.com, try to buy from a merchant that is fulfilled by Amazon which has better return policy and gets you toward the $35 floor for free shipping.  Better yet, try Amazon Prime for free 2 day shipping on almost everything!! **Read the small print! You must cancel before renewal for free trial.**

SMARTPHONE USERS

I always check prices online while shopping in a store to see if I am getting the lowest price. “Showrooming” as it’s called is more prevalent these days. To help you download store app to get exclusive online only offers or sign up for their members club. Check their Twitter page too!  Try some other really cool apps for iPhone or Droid users.  Scroll down to see “Must Have Apps!

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, and gmail -my favorite. Use this “spam” email to sign up for all alone sites this way your primary email box will remain free of most spam, viruses, etc.
 

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. Know the return policy BEFORE you hit submit (buy.)

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!

RetailMeNot offers 500,000+ coupons from 50,000 stores, RetailMeNot will help you search for the best coupons at your favorite major retailers, and find those retailers nearby. Scroll down to “Must Have Apps” for a digital coupon app!

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

___________________________________

 

 

ham1

Honey Baked Ham to the rescue!  I worked at Honeybaked Ham and loved applying the secret glaze with yes, a blowtorch!  We would weld it on and is oh so delicious.  You can go to Honeybaked for that spiral sliced succulent ham and sweet talk em for extra glaze!  The honeybaked turkey is just as sweet…plenty of sides too.  mmmmm honeybaked!
**Ask for the Chuck Boozer Ham–it’s really big!

 hamchuck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the food is always great!  Order the combo Surf and Turf platters charcoal grilled to perfection!  Mama, go ahead and get the hush puppies cause you know you want em!

 

Tom Sullivan is an Atlanta based TV and Radio personality as well as a Corporate emcee who loves the art of the deal and educating people on how to save money.

 

Valentines Day!

Of course it goes without saying that flowers and chocolates are the number 1 gift for Valentines Day (or even jewelery for those really serious) but what else is there that might be on your sweethearts list this year.

A recent poll of SullivanShops.com readers suggested these ideas for February 14th love:

LOVE CARD:  Don’t buy a pre printed card in the store, buy a blank card and write your own thoughts inside.  These acts of love are much more impressive and show that you took time to think and share your thoughts in a card.  Trust me, these cards are keepers!

50 SHADES OF GREY:  Reader Neal suggested going to see 50 Shades of Grey then coming home and re-enacting it!  Pick your favorite scene…improvise!  Depending on your love for each other could mean the difference between a scene where you’re dressed or undressed!

MASSAGES!  Whether done professionally in a spa or you treat your partner to the massage yourself, it seems everyone enjoys being pampered.  The relaxing feeling of massage is truly a stress reliever and depending on who’s doing the massage can be fun at the same time!

YOU ARE RIGHT CARD: Clea has a great one– My FAV!, is the You Are Right card. Give it to your Valentine to be used one time, anytime in the calendar year, to be shown when it is time for your loved one to admit, that indeed, you are right. Almost 21 years of marriage ( yes, to the same fella) and this is actually really what it boils down to…. Thanks Clea!  Speaking of your “vehicle” how about a

CAR WASH:  Sally suggested an all frills car wash.  Having a car is great but keeping it clean is another thing.  Treat your Valentine to a clean ride.  It ranks up there with house cleaning.  Having someone do simple everyday chores to give your Valentine a break is a nice treat.

COOK DINNER:  It’s easy and a lot cheaper than going out.  Depending on the relationship, you can even blindfold your Valentine and surprise them with a sexy outfit, or maybe the smell of a certain food….Oysters anyone?!!  If you can’t cook, buy it at the store already prepared and then plate it up at home as if you prepared it yourself!  THEN take…

COOKING CLASSES:  Well maybe you need to brush up on your cooking techniques or both of you do!  If you idea of dinner is opening a can and pressing start on the microwave, I say yes!  You can find deals on Groupon or inquire directly in your area.  Take for instance Kroger Grocery store here in Atlanta has a cooking school.  Almost every city has one form or another.  And playing with food can be fun and romantic at the same time!

PICNIC DINNER:  What about spreading a blanket out on the floor of your house and having a picnic!  Open a bottle of wine or pop a beer or any favorite beverage and have a picnic!  Robyn who suggested this says you can start with dessert first!

PHOTO ALBUM:  Reader Ron says make a photo album of each other and then make coupons to go with it.  Coupons can be for anything…clean your car, house, do laundry, cook dinner, pay for a movie,…. Ron says “We can all buy stuff that symbolizes love, but when you make it from your heart, that is true love.”

DONATION:  Page said “I tend to really hate Valentine’s Day because it’s all based on materialism. I’ve never done this, but I decided that I’d like to pick a (preferably under-served local) charity and have whatever money would be spent on goods to be sent there. If each partner did that, what a beautiful tradition of love and sharing.

MUSIC:  Music is the universal language and love songs can come in any form…. Make a MIX TAPE playlist of your Valentines favorite music (love songs or not) and burn it to disc or download it to their music device!  Thanks Bruce for that one.

VINTAGE:  Corinn said buy something vintage that reminds you of your earlier days of dating…now this could only be a month or less or a few years but something that is a reflection of when you both started dating…fell in love, etc.   Deb said her husband John “once bought me a vintage Gourmet magazine that was from the month and year that I was born... VERY cool! Very inexpensive, but so much thought!!!!  You could do this with any magazine.  Just don’t buy Good Housekeeping.

CAMPING:  Now this isn’t for everyone but Katherine says “Camping” under the stars!”  You may want to wait for a little warmer weather OR use the cold as an excuse to get close!!  Could be the “ice” breaker you’ve been looking for if just starting out.

PAINTING:  Buy a piece of canvas and paint a picture for your sweetie or even find some old barnwood and create a work of art.

COLLAGE:  Reader Bruce suggests Create an”on this date in history” collage with fun facts etc that happened on your anniversary. (Be sure to INCLUDE your anniversary/first date/etc!! lol) Great idea Bruce. You can do this with photos (ready in an hour) and cut around the important parts of the photo and slide them all together and form your collage (to make it not look so square.)  Print out favorite sayings or titles on your printer too!
SURPRISE GUESTS: Lisa had this great suggestion– hubby planned an amazing evening one year – we were out to dinner – fancy restaurant and at different times in the evening one of his friends would show up to the table dressed in suit with a silver tray and a gift – one gift was an electric bug zapper you plug in the wall and a little note that said the bugs may stray but i will never go away( he knows i hate bugs) then another man came in mid course with a tray and another gift – the gift was candles and maybe perfume – more romantic – and he sang me a love song right there at the table from beginning to end – then towards dessert another man came in with a tray and box and inside was a meat thermometer – as i always over cook meat to make sure its cooked – nothing raw:) and the note was again something cute to do with loving my cooking – then dessert came with a rose and there were diamond earrings in the leaf of the rose. HMMMM i dont think its gets more creative than that:) So sweet – I have best gorgeous hubby on planet:)

CATERED DINNER:  If you want to splurge, have dinner prepared and catered in your home! Now it is relaxing to be served without having to cook but you’ll have to deal with the servers interrupting what could be a magical moment–ahem.

TRENCH COAT:  Reader Mal had this wild idea!–Personal slave for a day. Beck an’ call sort of thing. Dressed inappropriately for the public. If you do leave you can only put on a coat. Other has stay with you while out in public. When they ask for your coat at the restaurant you make the excuse you’re cold natured very cold natured!! That’s all I got Tom. Never done it by the way!!!  Thank You Mal.  We seem to think you know this too well to have never tried it!

GIFT BASKET OF DATES:  Debbie said Create a basket with date nights planned for once a month for the rest of the year.  Don’t think you’ll be together that long? Do it for the next date!

GET CREATIVE:  Nancy loves this idea– treat ’em like a Valentine all year long … surprise them when they least expect it. doesn’t have to be expensive (I like the picnic idea) … just get in the car & drive & explore – backyard movie night – scavenger hunt – something homemade (cake, cookies, truffles) – just taking the time to plan or make something means more than running to the store to buy what everyone else is buying and giving … if you can’t think of anything – Google it !!! (try Bing too just to mix it up!)

HANDYMAN: Diane gave us this one–I love it when someone does something for me. One time my boyfriend hung a new light fixture in the foyer…..those things to me come from the heart more than chocolates and flowers……or a fun day out together…..a nice ride somewhere……

BARBERSHOP QUARTET:  Wendy had this great idea–I got a barbershop quartet visit to the house last year, serenaded me and gave me a solitary rose from my honey … Speechless and perfect .

PRESSURE WASH:  Toren finds love –Pressure wash something.  Seriously my love language is acts of service.  (And guys love to pressure wash so what a great way to show love.  You can pressure wash a huge heart in the driveway!!)

LOVE NOTES:  Elise says My husband and I always give each other cards….we both write several paragraphs of why we love each other and usually some encouragement and lots of thankfulness to God. That’s enough for me!! Jewelry doesn’t suck either!!

Thanks to all of our readers for these great suggestions.  Love comes in many ways so hopefully you found an idea or 2 here that will make this Valentines Day one to remember.  And when in doubt, Card, Chocolates and flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out about all of the hottest toys on the “Toy Guy” Chris Byrne’s website “TTPM.com” by clicking HERE!

 

 

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BLACK FRIDAYish

Black Friday ads online in one place! http://BlackFriday.com/ or http://www.TheBlackFriday.com

Also, Black Friday may NOT be the best deal.  For instance, Best Buy features a side by side refrigerator for $999. The same item was $989 on Labor Day!!  Do your research!

95+ Million people will shop Black Friday deals.  But stores are diluting Black Friday from the big day it used to be by starting sales earlier and extending them.  And opening on Thanksgiving day creates publicity (and dislike by employees.) Besides, Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year.  (It’s #2.) The Biggest retail day of the year? Saturday BEFORE Christmas! Yep.

Retailers want their employees to enjoy Thankgsiving with their families, just not on Thanksgiving. An estimated 26 million people will leave the turkey for the stores.  (anything to get away from Uncle Bob.)

Thanksgiving Day Hours for instance:

  • Toys “R” Us stores will open at 5 p.m., same as last year.
  • Target locations will open at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
  • Best Buy will open at 5 p.m., one hour earlier than in 2013. Stores will close at 1 a.m. (employees can eat then) and reopen 7 hours later at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
  • Some stores stay open nonstop for entire weekend.  Thank goodness for self checkout since employees will be sleeping.

There’s one more full day of holiday fun than than last year  (2013), but five fewer than two years ago in 2012.
140+ million people will shop Thanksgiving weekend. 

Regardless when you are shopping, remember these tips:

REWARDS CARDS:

Use a Credit Card that gives you rewards!  There are many out there from cash to trips and everything in between.  If your credit card isn’t tied to a rewards program find one that is! Many cards have introductory rates or 0% interest for a full year on purchases!  For instance Small Business Saturday with American Express (11/29/2014) offers up to $30 in credits for shopping small business in addition to the associated rewards program with a particular Amex card.  (see more info at top of page!) Shop around online for “rewards credit cards.”

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.  And yes there are Apps for that! (Scroll down for more money saving “Must Have Apps!”)Santa’s Bag (iPhone) and Christmas List Snowball (android) let you create a profile for each person in your life, set a budget, add gifts with estimated costs and then record what you’ve spent so far. Nifty, huh! You can quickly see who still doesn’t have a gift and where you’ve gone over budget. Christmas List Snowball also has some fun animations to keep you jolly during the hectic holiday rush.

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? You may spend more on return shipping than item costs OR defeat the original cheaper price offset with “free” shipping!  Gift receipt required? SAVE RECEIPTS!!  Empower yourself  BEFORE shopping. (especially for online purchases!!)  I like Costco for a full satisfaction guarantee on almost everything, 90 days on most electronic items.  L.L.Bean has an unlimited return policy as does R.E.I.  If you abuse it though you’ll make their “naughty” list and be limited on returns.   Some stores have restocking fees (electronics, etc…)  Seasonal items like Christmas lights might return at sale price regardless of receipt. (Target) See below for “OnLine Shopping.

COMPARE PRICES

From store ads to online merchants.  Will store match online prices?  YES says Wal-Mart! (see next paragraph) 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 THE STORE RETURN POLICY!!)  or your gift recipient will so take that into consideration.   Download scanner like red-line (by eBay) 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. ( Never sign up with your actual home address with these services. Use a P.O. Box or other address.)  Also 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.  And with fake ads being created online, the actual competitor ad or store ad you are shopping is best. Plus, not every store associate will know every sale advertised. Computers are programmed by humans and there can be errors!  Wal-Mart now matches Amazon.com!! Here is their online price match guarantee. Read it carefully as people have already abused the system reducing various sellers on Amazon.  Walmart will price match local competitors ads too Here.

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 $.  Be observant when walking toward your vehicle and have keys out and ready to unlock car.  Don’t stand there and fumble with items or looking through purse or wallet.  Look around, shut the door and lock it.  You have to play it safe and protect yourself and family.  Just be cautious!


ONLINE SHOPPING

Remember:  When shopping Amazon.com, try to buy from a merchant that is fulfilled by Amazon which has better return policy and gets you toward the $35 floor for free shipping.  Better yet, try Amazon Prime for free 2 day shipping on almost everything!! **Read the small print! You must cancel before renewal for free trial.**

SMARTPHONE USERS

I always check prices online while shopping in a store to see if I am getting the lowest price. “Showrooming” as it’s called is more prevalent these days. To help you download store app to get exclusive online only offers or sign up for their members club. Check their Twitter page too!  Try some other really cool apps for iPhone or Droid users.  Scroll down to see “Must Have Apps!

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, and gmail -my favorite. Use this “spam” email to sign up for all alone sites this way your primary email box will remain free of most spam, viruses, etc.
 

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. Know the return policy BEFORE you hit submit (buy.)

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!

RetailMeNot offers 500,000+ coupons from 50,000 stores, RetailMeNot will help you search for the best coupons at your favorite major retailers, and find those retailers nearby. Scroll down to “Must Have Apps” for a digital coupon app!

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Must Have Apps!***

This is one of my favorites!  ShopSavvy: lets you scan item barcodes while you’re browsing in a store, and then tells you if any local stores or online retailers have the same item for less!  It’s like your low price concierge!!
Plus, you can also follow stores or products you’re interested in and by adding them to your favorites; the app will tell you when your favorite store is having a sale or a particular item gets marked down.  It’ll also tell you if the store you’re in offers a price match policy.  Find on Google play or iTunes.

TalkTo (this is my favorite!)

I once held 15 minutes on the phone with a large home improvement warehouse while driving to the actual store and telling the manager “I’m on hold now for 15 minutes and can’t get any help!” Say hello to “TalkTo!”

TalkTo gets you fast answers to questions you pose to local businesses via text. When you don’t want to make a phone call or get stuck on hold, or can’t find what you want online, use TalkTo to compare prices and check product inventory. And it’s not just for shopping. You can use TalkTo to find a table at a restaurant, or even book an appointment. Response time—also via text—is usually under five minutes. Slick, fast, informative.  Also follow a stores Twitter page for answers to your “tweet” questions.

PoachIt

Ahhhh…found that item but now want a better price! Been there, done that.  Prices change so rapidly, how can you ever know you’re getting the best deal? Well, just PoachIt!

PoachIt will track a particular product you’re watching and tell you when it goes on sale—pretty cool since retailers raise or drop prices all the time. PoachIt will also send you documented coupon codes for discounted items. Click on Poachit’s “Deals” section to find lots of marked-down products. And as with any app, you can be diligent on checking the prices online through searches and the like just to make sure PoachIt isn’t fried.

SnipSnap Coupon App

Don’t you think clipping coupons is so old-fashioned. With SnipSnap, there’s no longer a need to carry around a stack of physical coupons in your purse or car.  SnipSnap lets users snap photos of their favorite coupons and store them within the app on your phone, making them readily searchable. SnipSnap also allows you to browse the coupons of other users too! Yep, being nosey pays off!! From ABC books to Zebra toys, there are over 1.1 million coupons on the site, with $100 million in savings so far. The app is available on both iOS and Android

Shopkick

Calling all DISCOUNT shoppers!! Shopkick is a must-have for you. Even if you don’t purchase anything, Shopkick will reward you for stopping by. Get points, or “kicks,” whenever you walk into a store. (Just know the “kicks” may not add up to all that and your time is worth more.  Make a game out of it and go for it!) Redeem your “kicks” for gift certificates at stores like Tiffany’s and American Eagle Outfitters. Finally, window shopping pays off. Big spenders get even more kicks. The app uses your location to show which stores are participating. Example: You’ll get 200 kicks for walking into Macy’s. BAM! You’ve got a freebie coming as it only takes 100 kicks to redeem for a new mascara.  Check out the “Black Friday” deals for freebies! This app is available on iOS and Android.

Wanelo

What to get the person that has everything or doesn’t “need anything?” That person in your life who wants and needs nothing: Now you’re really stumped! Let technology help you.  Wanelo please!

Wanelo has an estimated over 10 million users—many of them young female fashionistas—and 200,000+ stores, Wanelo has become a hot app in the social shopping space by letting you discover and share things you or friends want, need and love (hence the name WAnt, NEed, LOve). Think of it like etsy or Pinterest for shopping. For instance, click on the image of a product—a white dress, beauty accessories—and go directly to its store. There’s also a “Stories” element that lets you group products and tie them together with a short written explanation.

ShopAdvisor

Know what you want but waiting for the “right” price? ShopAdvisor is perfect for people like you (and me!) Scan the barcode of your favorite product and ShopAdvisor will put it on your “watch list,” alerting you when the product goes on sale. It charts price history and finds the best deal at a nearby location. Set price alerts to be notified once that bag is under $100. ShopAdvisor does all the price research so you don’t have to. It is available on iOS and Android. Like any app though, it’s programmed by humans so you can use this as a safety “price” net and do you own research potentially even beating the apps alerts.

eBay Now…has been quietly “cancelled!

Listeners know that I love eBay and have been buying and selling for years. Now eBay Now is the best thing to happen to last minute shoppers! eBay was offering free same-day delivery from nearby stores. But customers got tired of paying the $5.00 delivery charge to the “valet” who delivered your item.  Really? $5.00 seems really reasonable and is more like a tip.  eBay is now morphing the idea into buying through an app and then picking up in an actual store.  Hence “pick up” yourself.  This was ahead of it’s time.  Look for it to return in the future but maybe from a different company.  Download the eBay app and check inventory on their site as many brick and mortar stores list on eBay now.  (And check buyer feedback/seller feedback to make sure you’ve got a reputable seller.  eBay has good seller protection policies in place to help you, especially buyers.)

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

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Negotiate your best deal with service providers!!

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.

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!

 

 

Find more ideas at SullivanShops.com