sales en-US 6 Ways to Trick Salespeople <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-trick-salespeople" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="car salesman" title="car salesman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You have to deal with a salesperson to make a big purchase.</p> <p>It might be a refrigerator, a car, or even a house. Very often, you feel dissatisfied with the way a negotiation went. You may walk away feeling like you got taken for a ride, and that you had no defense for the wiles of the salesperson. (See also: <a href="">The 7 Laws of Negotiation</a>)</p> <p>Well, it's time to stop thinking about defense. It's time to turn the tables and start owning the outcome of your big purchases. To jumpstart your negotiations, learn these six ways to &quot;trick&quot; salespeople.</p> <h2>1. Buy Them a Cup of Coffee</h2> <p>Apply the <a href="">rule of reciprocation</a> on salespeople.</p> <p>When you first encounter a salesperson, greet her with a small gift (something as small as a piece of gum) or do a small favor for her (open the door). The idea is that you are binding the person to return the favor.</p> <p>No matter where in the world you are, this is a trick that works in negotiation. No matter how cheap your gift is, it will dramatically improve your chances of getting what you want. For example, in a study restaurant servers who presented the check with a mint and then paused to give the customer a second mint and tell them that this one is just for them got a <a href="">20% increase in their normal tips</a>.</p> <p>Ideally, buy them a mug of coffee, a cup of strong tea, or a can of Coke. Turns out that consumption of <a href="">caffeine makes people much easier to persuade</a>. Just don't use the drinks from the waiting room; instead bring one from outside that &quot;is just for them.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Talk Fast at the Beginning</h2> <p>Right after you hand that free cup of coffee, get the talking going&hellip; fast!</p> <p><a href=";fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.34.4.615">Fast talkers are perceived to be more persuasive</a>. The sweet point is about 195 words per minute, fast enough to force salespeople to focus, yet slow enough for them to still understand you. If you talk beyond 195 words, people start judging if you really know your stuff.</p> <p>If you keep a fast pace, people don't have enough time to come up with counter arguments. So, channel your inner <a href="">John Moschitta</a> and start practicing that fast talk.</p> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>3. Slow Down Once They Agree</h2> <p>However, once you have the salesperson agreeing with you, start slowing down. If you <a href="">talk too fast to somebody that agrees with your message</a>, then you have the reverse effect as talking fast.</p> <p>Even when somebody welcomes your ideas, you need to give them time to evaluate your speech and agree with you more.</p> <p>This is when you slow down from 196 words per minute to about 144. If you talk slower than that, people start perceiving you not as persuasive again.</p> <h2>4. Curse Smartly</h2> <p>If you think that good negotiation skills and cursing don't go together, let me tell you that's some BS.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you're going to open a can of potty mouth and spread it all over the place. The key is to <a href="">use the word &quot;damn&quot; towards the beginning or end of your speech</a>. The tactical use of this word significantly increases not only the persuasiveness of your speech, but also the perceived intensity of your words in the mind of the listener.</p> <p>Researchers theorize that the smart use of curse words gives the impression that you are being candid and not following somebody else's agenda.</p> <h2>5. Look &quot;Eye-to-Eye&quot;</h2> <p>Take a cue from waiters and waitresses on how to get what you want.</p> <p>A study from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration found several <a href="">techniques employed by servers to increase their tips</a>. One that stands out for our purposes is &quot;seeing eye-to-eye.&quot;</p> <p>This means to:</p> <ul> <li>Establish eye contact throughout your conversation;</li> <li>Bring your face closer to that of the salesperson;</li> <li>Position yourself so that your eyes are at the same height;</li> <li>Mimic the salesperson's body language and posture.</li> </ul> <h2>6. Learn the Four Square System</h2> <p>Think of good salespeople and you're likely to think of car salespeople.</p> <p>You might not like some of their techniques, but in the end they do a decent job at getting you to buy a car. A cornerstone of their technique is the four square system.</p> <p>The main idea of this worksheet is to take the attention from the total price and focus the entire conversation on the monthly payment. Any good car salesperson knows that you can wiggle the monthly payment without lowering the total price. For example, you can:</p> <ul> <li>Increase the number of payments;</li> <li>Provide a bigger down payment;</li> <li>Accept a bigger value for a trade-in.</li> </ul> <p><a href="">Read this confessional from a car salesman</a> on how to work the four square worksheet so that you can use it towards your advantage, or simply &quot;flip the table&quot; by demanding that it is not used in your negotiation at all.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite way to &quot;trick&quot; salespeople?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Trick Salespeople" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Shopping deals haggling negotiation sales salespeople Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1210856 at This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man" title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to popular media and the glamorous success of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and even Mark Cuban, the idea of entrepreneurship is all the rage these days.</p> <p>A 2012 study showed that 54% of <a href="">millenials want to start a business</a>, despite only 8% actually running a business at the time of the survey. When we think of entrepreneurship, words like &quot;freedom,&quot; &quot;wealth,&quot; &quot;passion,&quot; or &quot;fame&quot; might come to mind. We love the idea of being our own boss and the sole beneficiary of our own labor. (See also: <a href="">Starting a Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think</a>)</p> <p>Few, however, understand what entrepreneurship really is. At its core, being an entrepreneur comes down to your ability to make one key sale.</p> <h2>You're the Product</h2> <p>Think of a sales pitch. The presenters walk in, introduce themselves, and pitch their product. Each of you have a product to sell, and the product is... wait for it... you!</p> <p>Regardless of profession, we are all required to sell ourselves in some capacity. In the context of our lives, we are our own most valuable product.</p> <p>For entrepreneurs, the ability to sell themselves is their single most important skill. At no point do entrepreneurs stop selling.</p> <ul> <li>Product pitch? Selling</li> <li>Investor meeting? Selling</li> <li>Top talent hiring? Selling</li> <li>Customer acquisition? Selling</li> </ul> <p>If you've ever attempted to acquire a small business loan, you know your business plan is only half the story. The bank wants to know if YOU are a good investment. Ever watch Shark Tank? Those investors will laugh at a product and then fork over $100k, simply because the entrepreneur was able to sell him or herself well.</p> <p>The truth is you cannot be a successful entrepreneur without the ability sell your most valuable product &mdash; you.</p> <h2>How to Sell Your Most Valuable Product</h2> <p>So what does it look like to &quot;sell&quot; yourself like a product? How can you influence people to buy into you?</p> <h3>1. Identify Your Value Proposition</h3> <p>Your &quot;value proposition&quot; is a fancy way of describing your selling point. What makes you uniquely valuable? What specifically do you have to offer? What makes you irreplaceable?</p> <p>If you think you don't have a value proposition, you're wrong! No one else on Earth has the exact same combination of experiences and talents as you. You might need to spend some time investing in yourself (acquiring education, skills, and experience), but you have something to offer. Identify it! And then offer it!</p> <h3>2. Fall in Love With Yourself</h3> <p>The best sales people truly believe in their product. They know it inside and out and can't stop talking about it. Once you've identified your unique selling point, it's time to fall in love with yourself. It's time to get excited about you!</p> <p>If you don't believe in yourself, there's a better than average chance no one else will, either. Don't limit this idea to the positive thinking routine. When I'm confident in myself, I impart that confidence to others. People around me get a gut feeling that I have what it takes. Confidence and passion are infectious.</p> <p>Don't sell yourself short. Get excited about you!</p> <h3>3. Get Out There and Sell</h3> <p>Success in sales is all about playing the numbers.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs know the more people they pitch their product to, the more customers they'll acquire. You'll never accomplish your dreams from the couch.</p> <p>Selling requires action. You have go put yourself out there. You always have to risk a &quot;no&quot; if you want a shot at getting a &quot;yes.&quot; In five years, you probably won't regret &quot;wasting&quot; a day on failed interviews. You might not feel the same way about those daily six hours of television.</p> <h3>4. Always Be Closing</h3> <p>This old sales adage is a classic for a reason. Every successful salesman and entrepreneur knows you can't make a sale without closing. The close is the point in your pitch where you bring your audience to a point of decision. This is of the utmost importance. You have to bring people to a decision. You have to request them to take an actionable step.</p> <p>Without the close, the presentation was nothing more than an informational experience. Your audience now knows about one more thing they'll never buy. But the close changes everything. As you convince others to buy into you, bring them to a point of action. Require a response.</p> <p>I've witnessed firsthand the power of this technique. At the beginning of my career, I&rsquo;d send informative emails out to prospective clients, detailing my experience and inquiring about their needs. I&rsquo;d hear back from 1 in 15... maybe.</p> <p>The entire goal of my emails wasn&rsquo;t to get hired. It was simply to achieve a response. I realized that describing my qualifications just offered another sheet of information for the recipient to glance at and move on. I wasn't closing in my copy.</p> <p>So I changed my approach. I started using wording that forced the reader to form an opinion and influenced a response. Sometimes it was a direct pitch, other times a suggestion, question, or offer. Each target requires a slightly different approach, but the point is, I&rsquo;m attempting to close the target within my email.</p> <p>This change in approach has increased my response rate to 1 in 5. For segments where I&rsquo;ve discerned a trending problem I can fix, it's as high as 1 in 2.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>The point is, if you want to be successful, you must be willing and able to sell yourself like a luxury product. The sales process can be applied to virtually any business relationship (I'd advise you to leave it out of your personal ones). You are your own most valuable product, and you&rsquo;ll never stop selling.</p> <p><em>Are you considering starting your own business? Have you thought about how you are going to sell yourself?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jacob McMillen</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship business sales small business starting a business Fri, 23 May 2014 08:00:44 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1140156 at 5 Ways to Get Someone to Say "Yes" <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-get-someone-to-say-yes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="thumbs up" title="thumbs up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Negotiating can be an art form in itself. Often, we get in situations where we need someone else to give in so that we can move forward, and knowing how to get someone on your side can be an essential tool in life. Here are some ways to get someone to say &quot;Yes.&quot; (See also: <a href="">Negotiating Higher Pay at Your Next Job</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sell the Benefit, Not the Feature</h2> <p>I run a company that manufacturers skin care products. Do you know what we sell? Products that create aromatherapy experiences with luxurious scent fusions that are unique and complex. Do you know what we don't sell? Soap.</p> <p>When you're trying to get someone to say &quot;Yes&quot; you need to think &quot;What's in it for them? What's the benefit?&quot; I can tell you all about my company and our soap, but if I want to sell it to you, then I have to tell you what the soap does for <em>you</em> and what benefits <em>you</em> will get from it if you buy our product.</p> <p>Learn to think of your negotiation as a sale of benefits for the other person, and you'll have a better chance of them coming around. (See also: <a href="">Negotiate With Confidence</a>)</p> <h2>2. Ask Questions</h2> <p>In college I worked for an environmental group that would call members when it was time for them to renew their memberships. The call would involve updating them on our victories, discussing the new campaign we were working on, then asking them to write a letter to their representative in the Senate or Congress, and then donating to our cause to keep their membership active. This group was involved in active political campaigning, so we weren't a tax deductible membership. We had to talk our members into taking time out of their day to write a letter and then give us money that they could not write off as a charitable contribution. How did we do it? We asked them questions to keep them involved in the conversation:</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Can you see why this is important?&quot;</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Can we count on you again?&quot;</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Does that make sense to you?&quot;</p> </li> </ul> <p>Our questions helped create a pattern of the member saying &quot;Yes&quot; during the call and also helped us to handle any objections ahead of time before we got to the membership contribution question.</p> <p>During your negotiation, make sure to keep it a conversation and ask questions that can help you establish a pattern of them saying &quot;Yes,&quot; or help clear any doubt about why they should say &quot;Yes&quot; to you.</p> <h2>3. Nod, Even If You're on the Phone</h2> <p>Nodding after asking a question creates a subconscious pattern of agreement, much like establishing the pattern of &quot;Yeses&quot; I talked about above. When you nod while asking a question, it makes you feel more confident (because you're acknowledging the positive outcome) and helps to convey that to the person you're talking to, even if it's over the phone. Try it. Ask yourself a question and then ask yourself the same question, while slightly nodding. You may notice your voice comes down at the end of the question instead of up, which shows confidence and helps to convey that your question is more of a fact than an assumption. (See also: <a href="">How to Be Fearless</a>)</p> <h2>4. Acknowledge the Choice They Have</h2> <p>In a perfect world, the thing we need someone to say &quot;Yes&quot; to is the only option for them, but that usually isn't the case. Having a well-rounded argument will help to sell your side, especially if you acknowledge that there are other options. Pretending that you've got the only solution will make you appear stubborn or bull-headed, and worse, it will make you less knowledgeable on how to handle their objections. Try to see their side from all angles, learn what could be preventing them from saying &quot;Yes,&quot; and explain that you know there are other choices, but here is why your option is the best choice for them.</p> <h2>5. Listen to What They're Saying</h2> <p>One of the most important things to remember is that negotiation is a conversation. Remember to listen to the other party so that you can adequately address concerns, and talk <em>with</em> them instead of <em>to</em> them. Creating a sense of give and take will help you to relate your side of the story to them and help tailor the benefits to their circumstances.</p> <p><em>How do you get what you want out of a negotiation? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Get Someone to Say &quot;Yes&quot;" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Megan Brame</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips negotiating persuasion sales Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:48:26 +0000 Megan Brame 1133198 at For the Best Deals of the Year, Shop Labor Day and Skip Black Friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-the-best-deals-of-the-year-shop-labor-day-and-skip-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman with shopping bags" title="woman with shopping bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. And while your weekend plans probably include a final hurrah at the beach and perhaps a quick cameo at a few cookouts, don't forget to hit your local retail malls. (See also: <a href="">The Store Sales Cycle)</a></p> <p>Any holiday is an excuse to shop as retailers advertise big sales and clearances on just about everything. But like most shoppers, you may feel that Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer more bang for your buck.</p> <p>Sure, if you have the patience to fight crowded retail lines, plus the willpower to wake up at 4 a.m. for doorbuster sales, you can score amazing discounts on Black Friday. But don't set your alarm clock so fast. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, but according to data released by Shop It to Me, a personalized shopping website, Labor Day might offer better discounts &mdash; and not just on last-minute back-to-school items. (See also: <a href="">Back-to-School Items You Should Always Shop for at the Thrift Store</a>)</p> <p>The website analyzed &quot;nearly 700,000 markdowns throughout 2011 from over 150+ online retailers&quot; and ranked Labor Day as the best shopping holiday for deals, with average discounts around 48.4%. According to the survey, Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts only averaged 41%-42%.</p> <p>But seriously, Labor Day? Other experts agree.</p> <p>&quot;Labor Day is like Last Chance Saloon for great deals every year,&quot; says Mark Ellwood, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008EKOLRQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discount World</a>. &quot;The reason is simple: most Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers are artificial &mdash; or, more accurately, the merchandise isn't exactly marked down, but rather bought in specially and always intended to be sold on-sale.&quot;</p> <p>Although the majority of consumers are not likely to associate Labor Day with huge shopping sales, it's &quot;the ultimate clearance opportunity.&quot;</p> <p>With cooler temperatures right around the corner and the holiday season quickly approaching, retailers are in a mad dash to clear summer stock and make room for the arrival of new merchandise &mdash; even if it means letting items go at unbelievable discounts.</p> <p>Of course, the selection of sale or clearance items during Labor Day is small when compared to the selection at the beginning of the summer season. But if you find what you're looking for, &quot;splurge as much as you can over Labor Day, buy as many gifts for the holiday as you can, and then keep your wallet closed until November,&quot; says Ellwood.</p> <h2>Where to Spend Your Money This Labor Day</h2> <p>So, what exactly should you splurge on this holiday weekend? According to Brad Wilson, CEO of, a coupon and savings website, this is the best time to score huge deals on last season's items, such as summer clothes, patio furniture and other outdoor accessories. &quot;Buy now, stash them away for next year, and save.&quot;</p> <p>Kids can never have too many pairs of jeans for school. And since retailers typically stock up on denim in preparation for back-to-school, &quot;there are still piles of blue jeans lingering in stock rooms, and stores respond accordingly,&quot; according to Ellwood. &quot;The annual denim discount period kicks off at Labor Day.&quot; (See also: <a href="">Buy Jeans on the Cheap</a>)</p> <p>Labor Day bargains, however, don't stop with clothes and outdoor supplies.</p> <p>Now's also the time to shop if you're in the market for new appliances: washers, dryers, stoves, etc. &quot;Most new white goods models are issued in September and October, which of course means that last year's models &mdash; which usually look 99.9% the same as the new ones &mdash; are marked down significantly at this period.&quot;</p> <p>The savings also applies to cookware, a staple of Black Friday markdowns. &quot;The deals on Labor Day are as good, if not better, than later in the year.&quot;</p> <h2>Snagging the Best Discounts on Labor Day</h2> <ul> <li>Don't be afraid to open your mouth and ask for additional savings. The sales associate or manager will either say yes or no &mdash; you've got nothing to lose. For example, if you're buying two pairs of jeans, maybe you can ask for a multi-buy markdown, suggests Ellwood. (See also: <a href="">5 Phrases to Avoid When Negotiating</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Retailers take a hit each time a consumer uses a credit card, as much as 3%-4% per transaction. Use this knowledge to your advantage and ask the retailer to discount the price of a higher ticket item if you agree to pay in cash.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use automated services to take the stress out of bargain hunting. Sign up for free services &mdash; like <a href=""></a> &mdash; that will track your favorite brands and notify you of sales. &quot;Pre-select everything from brand to color to trend and wait for the deals to roll in.&quot; Additionally, create a Twitter handle or email account specifically for shopping and subscribe to your favorite retailer's feeds and email clubs. This is a convenient, reliable way to learn about the day's sales and receive exclusive coupon codes.</li> </ul> <p><em>Will you be shopping this weekend? Do you have tips for other Labor Day shoppers? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="For the Best Deals of the Year, Shop Labor Day and Skip Black Friday" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping black friday discounts labor day sales shopping Thu, 29 Aug 2013 10:36:28 +0000 Mikey Rox 981584 at Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-making-lessons-from-the-girl-scouts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Girl Scouts pose with cases of cookies." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My living room has been stacked high with cases of Girl Scout cookies for the past month, I've created a spreadsheet that looks like the blueprint to a Dr. Seuss house, and my day is frequently interrupted by phone negotiations over trading a &quot;Dulce&quot; for a &quot;Savannah.&quot;</p> <p>Yep, I'm a cookie mom.</p> <p>Despite my moments of doubt &mdash; &quot;Are all these hours really worth the amount of money this fundraiser puts in our troop bank account?&quot; &mdash; I've come to love most aspects of cookie season. I've even learned a thing or two about money and sales from the well oiled machine known as the Girl Scout Cookie Program. (See also: <a href="">Timeless Money&nbsp;Lessons From&nbsp;Teens</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Can't Get a &quot;Yes&quot; If You Don't Ask</h2> <p>During cookie manager training, I learned that <a href=";%20Documents/Cookie/Troops/Cookie%20Program%20Troop%20Guide.pdf">85% of people who are asked to buy Girl Scout cookies say yes</a> (PDF). However, only 35% of people are asked. If a sales team with millions of unpaid child workers has that large of an untapped market, think how much untapped potential your own business or endeavor might have!</p> <h2>2. It Pays to Set Goals</h2> <p>One great thing about the Girl Scout Cookie Program is that Girl Scouts are supposed to <a target="_blank" href="">set their own goals</a> for what activities they want their earnings to fund and figure out how many cookies they need to sell to meet those goals. The process is encouraging me to <a href="">do more purposeful goal setting</a> for my own money earning activities.</p> <h2>3. Lead With What You Have</h2> <p>This is actually a piece of advice our troop got from a kind shopper as we stood outside a local grocery store. Our Scouts were keeping a close tally on what varieties we had run out of, and when shoppers asked what we had, they'd recite, &quot;We're out of Trefoils, we're out of Do-Si-Dos ...&quot; before finally getting to the many varieties of cookies we still had for sale.</p> <p>&quot;Hey, girls,&quot; our shopper said, getting out his wallet. &quot;Lead with what you have, not what you don't have.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Be Persistent</h2> <p>The Girl Scouts have come up with a great way to counter excuses like, &quot;I don't eat sweets&quot; or &quot;I already bought cookies.&quot; It's called a <a target="_blank" href="">Gift of Caring</a>, and it means that you can pay for a box of cookies to be donated to a food pantry or military unit &mdash; with a percentage going to the troop just like with a regular sale. It takes some moxie for little girls to hear &quot;no&quot; and come back with, &quot;You could give a Gift of Caring instead!&quot; but I have seen it pay off again and again.</p> <h2>5. Don't Save All Your Accounting for the Last Minute</h2> <p>The Girl Scouts wisely break up their cookie season into bite-sized chunks, asking troops to make deposits throughout the season so that they don't find themselves at the end of the sales period owing thousands that they haven't collected. This would be such a good idea in all our financial planning &mdash; if you need to make a $10,000 tuition payment in September, schedule yourself four quarterly bank deposits of $2,500 each to make sure it's all in order when the time comes.</p> <h2>6. Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You</h2> <p>Girls Scouts are always supposed to leave a place nicer and cleaner than we find it, but at cookie manager training we were warned to be especially vigilant about this when it comes to selling cookies in public locations. When selling in front of stores, we are admonished not to leave our empty cases lying around or even taking up space in the host business's recycling bin. Most important, if Starbucks is nice enough to let us sell cookies by their front door, we don't stand around drinking coffee or hot cocoa from other shops.</p> <h2>7. Make Every Member of Your Organization Accountable</h2> <p>In our area, every parent in the troop signs a responsibility form acknowledging that they owe every penny of cash for the cookies their daughter takes to sell. Parents who volunteer must be fingerprinted and get a background check from the local police. Every time cookies or money change hands from troop to members and back again, a receipt is issued.</p> <p>This all may seem like overkill until you realize that our little troop is currently in possession of $6,000 in cookies and cash. Scout's honor is great, but when we are talking about thousands of dollars, receipts and fingerprints are great backup.</p> <h2>8. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate</h2> <p>When I first got involved in the cookie sale, I was shocked at how much work is involved for parents, especially when the girls are young. But it all gets done despite the volunteers' jobs, parenting responsibilities, and everything else they have to do. It gets done most easily in troops &mdash; like ours, luckily &mdash; where all the families share the work. If I ever <a href="">find myself getting overwhelmed</a>, it's usually because I have not taken time to ask the other parents if they could take over one of the tasks I'm juggling.</p> <h2>9. Remember the Big Picture</h2> <p>When I get home from spending three hours outdoors with a group of increasingly rambunctious third grade girls and count up how many cookies we sold, I'm tempted to calculate our troop's earnings on a per-hour, per-adult basis. This often amounts to less than minimum wage, which discourages me.</p> <p>However, other Girl Scout parents remind me that there is more to the sale than our troop earnings. There is all the <a target="_blank" href="">great experience our girls are getting</a> with earning the money to fund their own activities. Then there is the fact that money from every box sold goes back to our local council to fund activities for all girls in our region. When I got my summer Girl Scout camp catalog, it laid out the difference between what parents are required to pay and the true cost of providing the camp sessions. Girl Scout Cookie sales <a target="_blank" href="">subsidize camps and other great activities</a> that many girls could not afford otherwise.</p> <h2>10. Don't Over-Estimate Sales</h2> <p>If you order more cookies than your troop can sell, you'll be scrambling to avoid literally &quot;eating&quot; the loss. This is a lesson that even a regional Girl Scout council found out when some cookies they returned to the baker &mdash; as allowed in their contract &mdash; turned into a black mark on the Scouts' public image. The baker had <a target="_blank" href="">unexpired cookies destroyed instead of donated</a>, and the news media had a field day.</p> <h2>11. You Must Understand Opportunity Cost</h2> <p>Once a troop has picked up its initial cookie order, the volunteers involved have the option to order and pick up more cases. Whether to do so requires some guesswork and calculation &mdash; are the potential additional earnings <a href="">worth the adult's time</a> and gas to fetch more cookies, and the girls' time to sell them?</p> <p>&quot;I thought about ordering two additional cases for a booth sale because I'm pretty sure we'd sell them,&quot; said Marta Segal Block, a troop cookie manager in Oak Park, Ill., who blogs at <a target="_blank" href="">Advice from Marta</a>. &quot;But really, even if we did that's only $17 or so, so it isn't worth the trouble to order the cases just for that. But, if we had a third booth sale and ordered another 10 cases, then it would seem worth it.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken part in a GSA cookie sale or similar fund raising effort? Did you learn any money and sales lessons?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance children and money girl scout cookies marketing sales Tue, 05 Mar 2013 10:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 968126 at Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hiding in clothing rack" title="hiding in clothing rack" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many bargain-hunting Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the most important holidays of the year &mdash; even though Black Friday is not officially recognized on any calendar. The opportunity to get Christmas shopping done at a discount is just too much temptation for the many shoppers who might otherwise be spending the wee hours of that Friday sleeping off a tryptophan-and-pumpkin-pie hangover.</p> <p>But Black Friday isn&rsquo;t just about bargains and deals. Often shoppers will find themselves spending more than they intended on items they don&rsquo;t really want. In addition, otherwise civil individuals may find themselves pushing and shoving fellow shoppers over coveted merchandise. And in the worst cases, shoppers and employees have been hurt and <a href="">even killed</a> in stampedes to get to cheap video game consoles and laptops. These are not the actions of rational individuals.</p> <p>As easy as it might be to simply look down our noses at those involved in the most egregious excesses of Black Friday, the sad truth is that human psychology primes all of us to potentially act in the same way. And of course, retailers are savvy enough to recognize our baser impulses and take advantage of them. Here are the five psychological quirks that retailers exploit and we blindly follow on Black Friday, often to the detriment of our wallets, our dignity, and potentially our very hides. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Party Like It's 19.99: The Psychology of Pricing</a>)</p> <h3>1. Time Pressure Makes Us Act Without Thinking</h3> <p>Even if you generally take your time to research and think about big purchases, the idea that a sale is for a limited time can make you forget your usual deliberate approach.</p> <p>For example, you might be thinking about buying yourself a flat screen TV, but you would like to do some research and comparison shopping. If you happen to be in a store with an incredible one-day sale on their flat screen TVs, your plans to research your purchase are likely to go out the window. You would hate to miss out on big savings because you were being too deliberate, wouldn&rsquo;t you?</p> <p>Art Markman of <a href="">Psychology Today</a> explains that when stores offer the time pressure of Black Friday only sales (or sales only within a certain window on Black Friday), it affects what psychologists Arie Kruglanski and Donna Webster have called a &quot;need for closure.&quot; This concept refers to an individual&rsquo;s need to finish with a decision process and subsequently take action. Some people have a high need for closure, meaning they want to make their decision quickly and move on, while those with a low need for closure are more comfortable thinking carefully through each decision before taking action.</p> <p>What happens when retailers put a time limit on their bargains is that it raises the need for closure, even for normally low-need-for-closure shoppers. Since the retailer has created a sense of urgency for the shoppers to take advantage of a good price, those shoppers are less likely to spend time carefully thinking through their purchases.</p> <p>And this is why you may find yourself wondering why on Earth you put five crock pots in your cart on Black Friday when no one on your Christmas list cooks. You are reacting to the low price and urgent time limit rather than taking the time to think about whether this is a good purchase.</p> <h3>2. Doorbusters Play on Our Fear of Losing Out</h3> <p>Most chain retail stores will offer an incredible deal on a couple of big-ticket items. The problem with these doorbusters is that the stores generally only have limited quantities in stock &mdash; as low as <a href="">10 guaranteed units per store</a>. Not only does the advertised item get you up and waiting outside the store with the slavering hordes first thing in the morning, but its very scarcity really primes your competitive instinct. You want to beat out all the other suckers in line.</p> <p>And if you are one of those suckers who misses out on the doorbuster? Very few people will then head home in a huff after losing out on the advertised sale. If you&rsquo;ve already dragged your rear end out of bed at 0-dark-30 the day after Thanksgiving, you might as well do some shopping. Your fear that you have gotten up early for nothing can lead you to making purchases you didn&rsquo;t intend.</p> <p>In addition, the doorbuster&rsquo;s incredibly low price might convince you that the rest of the merchandise at the store is also on sale, even if you don&rsquo;t have any idea if that&rsquo;s true.</p> <h3>3. Competition for Merchandise Makes Us Enjoy the Hunt Even More</h3> <p>We all get a charge out of saving money. Add in the potential competition of every other early-rising Black Friday shopper, and it turns a mundane activity &mdash; shopping &mdash; into a pleasurable one.</p> <p>According to <a href="">Sang-Eun Byun</a>, assistant professor of consumer affairs at Auburn University, the competition of other shoppers &ldquo;creates what&rsquo;s called hedonic shopping value, or a sense of enjoyment from the mere process of buying goods.&rdquo;</p> <p>Retailers take advantage of this sense of pleasurable competition by limiting the number of doorbusters and loss leaders and by adding time pressure. They create a sense of implied scarcity by imposing these limits, which engages our hoarding and hunting instincts.</p> <p>Shoppers can take great pleasure in figuring out the best ways to take advantage of retailers&rsquo; limits, as it makes them feel superior to other shoppers. Actually buying the sought-after item feels like winning.</p> <p>Unfortunately, shopping competition can lead to even darker behavior.</p> <h3>4. Planning Your Shopping Strategy Can Make You More Prone to Misbehavior</h3> <p>You might remember the California woman in 2011 who pepper sprayed her fellow Wal-Mart shoppers at the very beginning of Black Friday sales last year. What got less coverage was the fact that this walking affront to Miss Manners <a href="">turned herself in</a> 24 hours after the pepper-spraying incident. Presumably, she had come to her senses by then.</p> <p>According to psychologist <a href="">Jane Boyd Thomas</a>, it&rsquo;s likely that the pepper-sprayer had planned her shopping strategy and mapped out her route through the store. Thomas&rsquo;s research into the consumer psychology of Black Friday showed a correlation between those shoppers who strategically planned out their shopping expedition and those who engaged in rowdy behavior.</p> <p>While most shopping misbehavior is limited to nasty looks, rude hand gestures, and the occasional scuffle over an item, it does not change the fact that normally polite individuals may find themselves acting in ways that would shock their grandmothers on Black Friday. Having a vision of how your bargain-hunting triumph will play out can apparently make you more aggressive when other bargain hunters get in your way. Your dashed hopes for a successful &ldquo;hunt&rdquo; can lead to negative behavior.</p> <h3>5. A Store&rsquo;s Environment Can Put You in a Buying Mood</h3> <p>Retailers recognize that making sure you&rsquo;re in the right mindset to shop will improve their profit margin. Everything from the crowds to the store décor to the music playing over the loudspeaker to the scent of warm cookies filling the air can help to convince you to stay longer and spend more money. This is particularly true during holiday shopping, as Christmas has a warm-and-fuzzy connotation and mood for most shoppers &mdash; and especially those shoppers who are likely to go to the stores on Black Friday.</p> <p>As Stephanie Pappas reports in <a href="">LiveScience</a>, studies have shown that &ldquo;positive feelings make products seem more desirable.&rdquo; By taking advantage of holiday mood-setters like Christmas carols and decorations, retailers prime their shoppers to feel upbeat and excited for the holiday, which can make them purchase more.</p> <p>The fact that so many other people are out shopping with you can also make you feel positively about the coming holiday. It positions you as all celebrating the holiday together &mdash; even if you are at the moment in competition for specific gifts.</p> <p>And the psychology of smell is such that a pleasant scent can make you feel great &mdash; and spend more. Scent is very closely associated with memory, and smelling tempting aromas that we associate with holidays &mdash; like cookies, peppermint, or fir trees &mdash; can make us <a href="">remember happy Christmases past</a>, which can lead to more spending. We want to pass that happiness along to next generation, after all.</p> <h3>Avoiding the Madness</h3> <p>Black Friday has been engineered to play on our spending weaknesses. It often brings out the worst in us, whether that is our competitive nature or our budgeting weakness in the face of $200 laptops. If you plan to partake in Black Friday shopping this year, be intelligent about it.</p> <p><strong>1. Do Your Research Ahead of Time, so That You Will Not Be Tempted Into a Purchase Just Because of the Sale Price</strong></p> <p>Remember, you&rsquo;re not saving money if you <a href="">wouldn&rsquo;t have bought the item at full price</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Be Willing to Go Home Empty-Handed If the Item You&rsquo;re Shopping for Is Sold Out</strong></p> <p>Heading home for a couple extra hours of sleep is a better idea than buying something just to make your trip worthwhile.</p> <p><strong>3. Enjoy the Shopping, but Don&rsquo;t Make a Competitive Sport Out of It</strong></p> <p>Buying something isn&rsquo;t &ldquo;winning,&rdquo; the other shoppers aren&rsquo;t your opponents, and this is all theoretically being done in order to buy gifts for those you love. So don&rsquo;t act in a way that would make them ashamed. They&rsquo;d rather have you come home empty-handed than with a black eye and missing teeth and the cheap video game in hand.</p> <p><strong>4. Embrace Your Inner Humbug</strong></p> <p>While it is lovely to enjoy the holiday mood at your favorite retailer, remember that it is being cynically used against you. Keeping that in mind can help you to keep your wallet fat and the questionable purchases to a minimum.</p> <p>You might want to refrain from saying &ldquo;Bah!&rdquo; to anyone who wishes you a Merry Christmas, however.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping black friday holiday shopping sales Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 955665 at Best Money Tips: Labor Day Sales <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-labor-day-sales" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Labor Day Sales" title="Labor Day Sales" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on labor day sales, giving without breaking the bank, and regaining control of your finances.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Labor Day Sales: The Best Days To Look Out For </a>&mdash; This weekend, be sure to hit the sales for appliances and home goods. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">25 Ways to Give (Without Breaking the Bank)</a> &mdash; Give without breaking the bank by doing pro bono work. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">How to Regain Control of Your Finances</a> &mdash; Want to regain control of your finances? Make sure your goals are clear. [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <p><a href="">How to Talk to Your Partner About Credit</a> &mdash; When talking to your partner about credit, be honest about your past financial struggles. [Credit Karma Blog]</p> <p><a href="">Useful Tips On How To Find Employment</a> &mdash; To find employment, customize your resume for each job you apply for. [Stack The Chips]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">5 Lessons Learned as a First Time Home Buyer</a> &mdash; When buying a home for the first time, keep in mind that you shouldn't always leave it to professionals. [Million Dollar Journey]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCentsibleLife+%28the+centsible+life%29">Teach Healthy Meal Planning to Your Kids? Yes!</a> &mdash; To teach your kids healthy meal planning, give them a lesson on the food pyramid. [The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="">Build Your Skills Score by Volunteering</a> &mdash; Volunteering can help you explore and network for careers. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Why You Need a Will</a> &mdash; If you have children, it's important to have a will establishing who will be their guardian in the event of your death. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="">The National Rally for Change Launches a Birth Revolution on Labor Day</a> &mdash; Did you know that between 1990 and 2008 the US was one of only 23 countries that saw an increase in maternal mortality? [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="">Money Crashers Tweetchat (#MCchat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss Money Crashers weekly #MCchat at 1pm PST! They will be giving away prizes!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Labor Day Sales" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping best money tips discounts labor day sales Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:00:43 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 952491 at Best Money Tips: Take Advantage of Back to School Sales <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-take-advantage-of-back-to-school-sales" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Take Advantage of Back to School Sales" title="Take Advantage of Back to School Sales" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on ways to take advantage of back to school sales, automating your budget, and habits of the wealthy.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">7 Ways to Take Advantage of Back to School Sales</a> &mdash; Use back to school sales to supply your home office. [Saving Money Today]</p> <p><a href="">How to Automate Your Budget</a> &mdash; To automate your budget, find a good money management software application. [Moolanomy]</p> <p><a href="">7 Habits of the Wealthy</a> &mdash; Did you know wealthy people have the habit of living within their means? [Wisdom Journal]</p> <p><a href="">Three Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make When Buying Your First House</a> &mdash; When buying your first house, don't make the mistake of buying more house than you can afford. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Exercise Your Way to a Bigger Paycheck</a> &mdash; By exercising and living healthier, you can potentially earn $320 more per month. [MoneyNing]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FreelanceSwitch+%28Freelance+Switch%29">How to Take Time Off and Actually Earn More</a> &mdash; Want to take time off work but earn more money? Consider raising your rates! [Freelance Switch]</p> <p><a href="">4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft</a> &mdash; To protect yourself from identity theft, don't keep your wallet in plain sight. [Financially Poor]</p> <p><a href="">How Should a Young Person Get Started with Investing</a> &mdash; A great way for a young person to get started with investing is to take advantage of investing through their employer. [Narrow Bridge]</p> <p><a href="">16 Ways To Feel Like A Kid Again</a> &mdash; Feel like a kid again by cooking a grilled cheese on your ironing board. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">Archery for Kids: The Ins and Outs of Bows and Arrows</a> &mdash; If your child is under 5 years of age, stick with toy bows and arrows as opposed to the real thing. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Take Advantage of Back to School Sales" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping back to school best money tips kids sales school students Tue, 31 Jul 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 947009 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy in July 2012 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-in-july-2012" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="fireworks" title="fireworks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The dealnews staff published more than 6,000 deals last July, which we've analyzed so that we can offer our readers a bit of advice while planning purchases this month. And it's a particularly important month to do so, since a number of sales will appear to be better than they are. So in order to protect your wallet and spend your money wisely, be sure to read through our July buying guide below for everything you need to know to shop smart this month. (See also: <a href="">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h3>Black Friday in July</h3> <p>Beginning in July, we start to see Black Friday-labeled sales. While this trend appeared to have lessened in 2011, as compared to 2010, there were still a few offenders. <a href="">Target</a> once again offered its &quot;Back in Black Friday&quot; sale in the middle of July, with other retailers following suit later in the summer. While enticing, be leery of the labeling; few of these Black Friday sales actually feature the rock-bottom pricing consumers come to expect from the &quot;darkest&quot; of shopping days.</p> <h3>A Few Choice Sales Bursting With Savings on the 4th</h3> <p>During <a href="">Independence Day weekend</a> last year, some vendors like <a href="">Saks Fifth Avenue</a> and <a href="">bebe</a> offered their best sales of the year so far, while most stores (like <a href="">Macy's</a>) mainly peddled middle of the road discounts. As usual, a discount is still money saved, but don't be tricked into thinking these are fleeting offers; many will reappear, or could potentially get better if you carefully keep an eye out for a <a href="">coupon</a>.</p> <h3>First Chance for Sizable Sandal Sales Mid-Season</h3> <p>As per usual with seasonal <a href="">apparel items</a>, the longer you wait this summer to buy sandals, the better the price you're likely to get. However, mid to late July is when we start to see some notable discounts on <a href="">footwear</a>. Look for flip flops for under $5 and sales on popular brands like <a href="">Steve Madden</a>, <a href="">Polo Ralph Lauren</a>, <a href="">Crocs</a>, and <a href="">Teva</a>.</p> <h3>Mixed Messages on Sunglasses</h3> <p>Many people crave a new pair of <a href="">sunglasses</a> in the middle of summer, but according to our deals last year, the best storewide sales (from retailers like <a href="">Sunglass Hut</a> and <a href="">6pm</a>) popped up in September, November, and December. That said, as far as individual shades styles go, we fairly consistently see Editors' Choice deals from <a href="">Oakley</a> and <a href="">Ray-Ban</a> throughout the year. So, if you're not picky about the style and you just want a great price on one of these top two sunglasses brands, set up an <a href="">email alert</a> and wait for an Editors' Choice deal to roll in at any time.</p> <h3>Grill Deals Slowly Sizzle</h3> <p>Post Independence Day sales at department and hardware stores tend to discount summer-friendly purchases, like <a href="">grills</a>. However, if you can wait until August, you will likely see a greater selection of appealingly priced options; there were 30% more deals in August of last year than there were for July. That said, June this year already saw a greater number of grill deals compared to last year, and hopefully that trend will continue throughout July and into August.</p> <h3>Wait Until September or October for Patio Sets</h3> <p>We saw a large spike in <a href="">patio and garden items</a> in September of last year, but October brought the best markdowns. Several patio sets and gardening items from <a href="">Sears</a>, <a href="">Amazon</a>, and other merchants hit their lowest prices in October, as they were available for significantly less than we had seen them at over the summer. If you can wait to replace your existing patio set, cooler months will offer better deals on outdoor goods than July.</p> <h3>Digital SLRs Are Trending Hot</h3> <p>Typically, we see a huge spike in the number of Editors' Choice <a href="">DSLR camera deals</a> during November and December, as well as new markdowns on old models once new cameras are released in the first quarter of the year. But lately we've been seeing a surprising number of all-time low deals on consumer DSLRs. For example, May saw more than twice the number of Editors' Choice deals, and June has continued to pump out a slightly above-average number for this time of year. <a href="">Digital cameras</a> are a good category to keep an eye on for belated graduation gifts.</p> <h3>A Month to Tinker With Tool Deals</h3> <p>Does your arsenal of DIY tools need a few new items? Or do you need to tend to repairs while the weather is warm and relatively manageable &mdash; heat excluded? July happens to be one of the best months of the year for top-shelf <a href="">tool deals</a>, matched only by November and December. Look for sales on tools sets, accessories, and tool storage units.</p> <h3>Retina Display Takes the Spotlight, But the MacBook Air Brings the Deals</h3> <p>Throughout the month of June, no laptop received as much media attention as Apple's new <a href="">MacBook Pro Retina</a>. And while we did see one deal shave $105 off the Retina's list price, chances are any deals we see in July will be modest. But fear not Apple fans, for July is bound to ring in an abundance of <a href="">laptop deals</a> on Apple's much-loved <a href="">MacBook Air</a>. We've already seen Sandy Bridge-based MacBook Airs hit new lows with prices starting at $740. So if you don't mind having a generation-old MacBook Air (which is still just one year old!), July is your month to buy.</p> <p>On the Windows front, <a href="">Ivy Bridge-based systems</a> will continue to see new lows as 15&quot; Ivy Bridge systems continue to flirt with the $600 mark (as they did in late June). So $600 is the price to beat if you want an Ivy Bridge Windows machine. Meanwhile, desktop replacements continue their plateau at $800, so any deals you see under that price will offer the most savings.</p> <h3>46&quot; HDTVs Are the Ones to Watch</h3> <p>HDTV prices have generally remained the same for the past few months and we predict we'll see little to no price differences in <a href="">TV deals</a> throughout July. However, not all news is bleak. Last month we mentioned brand-name <a href="">46&quot; HDTVs</a> hit new lows, and we expect those lows to remain through July. So if you're in the market for a new HDTV, we recommend looking at 46&quot; to 47&quot; brand-name models and to look for prices in the $500 range. Anything at or below $490 is an all-time low for this category.</p> <p>Set up an <a href="">email alert</a> now to keep abreast of any and all of these best buys in July. And for more price trend information, check out the <a href="">consumer shopping research page</a> at dealnews.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a href="">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Potect your wallet and spend your money wisely in July! Read through for the best and worst things to buy this month. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Dealnews</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bbq grills black friday electronics sales Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:24:17 +0000 Dealnews 938262 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy in June <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-in-june" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="kids in a pool" title="kids in a pool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year, which for the deal-shopper means that you have even more time to shop! But before you let <a href="" title="Free Ways to Celebrate Father's Day">Father's Day</a> or the increasingly warm weather convince you to buy less-than-stellar deals, check out our latest buying guide. We searched through our extensive archives of sales, promotions, and coupons to sort the fact from fiction when it comes to getting the best deals in June. (See also: <a href="" title="Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h3>Make Do With Last Year's Sandals</h3> <p>Much of your wardrobe can transcend a single season, but this is rarely the case with sandals. For most areas of the U.S., the summer months are the only time to let your toes breathe. And as such, you're unlikely to find any great discounts at the onset of the season. Although cheap <a href="" class="image_link" title="shoe deals">flip flops</a> and slip-ons are popular in promotional sales from the likes of Old Navy, you'll largely have to wait until at least mid- to late-July before seeing clearance-level deals on the informal footwear.</p> <h3>Cruises and Vacations to the Caribbean...During Hurricane Season</h3> <p>June is typically the beginning of the hurricane season in the Caribbean, which usually lasts through November. Because of the risk of tempestuous weather, prices on <a href="" title="cruise deals">cruises and vacations</a> to these regions are considerably less than during other seasons. We've already seen a plethora of above-average <a href="" title="cruise price drops">deals on non-hurricane season cruises</a> this year due to the public relations disaster that was the cruise industry in the first few months of 2012, so it remains to be seen if &quot;hurricane&quot; packages will offer even steeper discounts. Either way, if you're willing to run the risk of a rainy tropical getaway, the Caribbean will certainly offer more bang for your buck than Europe, which has been seeing exorbitant prices as of late.</p> <h3>Book a Staycation Instead of Jumping the Pond</h3> <p>Speaking of <a href="" title="travel deals">travel deals</a>, you might want to avoid booking a trip abroad, as the cost of flying is on the rise. According to <em>USA Today</em>, international airfare this summer will cost on average about <a title="summer airfare increase" href="">20% more than it did in 2010</a>. This is essentially due to rising fuel costs. Moreover, many airlines are cutting down on the sheer volume of the flights they offer, creating greater demand for fewer seats.</p> <h3>Ladies Love Cool Lingerie (Deals)</h3> <p>It's usually this month that <a title="Victoria's Secret deals" href="">Victoria's Secret</a> unveils its famed Semi-Annual Sale, and last year we saw prices as low as $3 for panties and $12 for bras. Moreover, we saw excellent <a title="lingerie deals" href="">lingerie deals</a> in June from aerie by American Eagle, <a title="Frederick's of Hollywood deals" href="">Frederick's of Hollywood</a>, <a title="Macy's deals" href="">Macy's</a>, Soma Intimates, and Figleaves. That said, while summer deals entailed steep discounts last year, they paled in comparison to the October to December stretch, which saw more Editors' Choice offers from many of these same vendors.</p> <h3>Consider Putting off Tool Purchases Until July, or Later</h3> <p>You may feel compelled to buy dear old Dad a new tool set for <a title="Father's Day gifts" href="">Father's Day</a> later this month, but in fact, July (as well and November and December) offers the highest number of Editors' Choice <a title="tool deals" href="">tool deals</a>. That means, if you want to pay close to the best (if not <em>the</em> best) price of the year, skip June and splurge in July. (But remember to at least get your Pops a card!)</p> <h3>Fire It Up! It's Almost Time to Buy a New Grill</h3> <p>Last year, we saw a slight uptick in Editors' Choice <a title="grill deals" href="">grill deals</a> during the month of June, which means we will likely start seeing respectable cuts on grills in the coming weeks. However, as is the case with any seasonal item, you will absolutely start seeing incrementally steeper cuts on comparable models (if not the model of your choice itself) as the season progresses. So <a href="" title="How to Buy a BBQ Grill">purchasing your grill</a> becomes a matter of deciding upon need; if you want a full season of use out of it, then June is the first month of the summer in which we see a notable decline in prices. Otherwise, wait for late-season sales instead.</p> <h3>Experience the Majesty of Our National Parks on Uncle Sam's Dime</h3> <p>While there are everyday ways to make a <a title="save money at national parks" href="">trip to a national park exceedingly affordable</a>, there are a handful of days each year in which more than 100 national parks offer free admittance. June 9 is one such occasion, as it celebrates Get Outdoors Day, an event that encourages &quot;<a title="National Outdoors Day" href="">healthy, active outdoor fun</a>.&quot; Notable natural wonders like Yosemite and Yellowstone will be <em>gratis</em> on this day.</p> <h3>Don't Expect Cheaper Cotton to Yield Better Prices</h3> <p>While the cotton industry is likely invigorated by reports that <a title="cotton prices decrease" href="">cotton prices are at a 2-year low</a>, consumers are unlikely to see a difference on price tags at the store. While fluctuations in food costs have a demonstrable effect on prices at the supermarket, apparel retailers have a larger profit margin to work with that allows them to absorb raw material cost increases. Many retailers thus have been absorbing the additional costs, while others adjusted the prices slightly but not enough to actually cover the total increased costs. Others still found workarounds, like using less of the material. Either way, dropping cotton prices will have little effect on the prices that consumers see in-store.</p> <h3>Keep an Eye Out for Refurbished or Used Tablets</h3> <p>Tablets continue to shine in the tech spotlight, and if you're looking to get in on the still-strong trend, consider shopping for a second-hand option. The majority of the top-shelf <a title="iPad deals" href="">iPad and tablet deals</a> we've seen recently have been on refurbished or used models. Last month saw Apple again cut prices on refurbished iPad 2 models, slashing its starting price to $319. Meanwhile, we saw all-time low prices on used and refurbished <a title="Motorola tablet deals" href="">Motorola Xoom</a>, <a title="Samsung tablet deals" href="">Samsung Galaxy Tab</a>, and <a title="BlackBerry tablet deals" href="">BlackBerry PlayBook</a> models over just the past month. A word to the wise though, pay close attention to the warranty information for used and refurbished iPad and tablet deals; a 1-year warranty is ideal.</p> <h3>46&quot; HDTVs Hit New Lows</h3> <p>June isn't a big month for <a title="TV deals" href="">HDTV deals</a>, but if you're in need of a new set, we recommend looking at name-brand 46&quot; and 47&quot; LCD HDTVs. For the past two months, name-brand 46&quot; LCD HDTV deals have remained at an all-time low of $490. By comparison, they bottomed out at $598 and $549 during the months of November and December of 2011, respectively. (Those months are traditionally the best months for HDTV sales.) Look for models from Sharp or Toshiba priced at $490 or lower.</p> <h3>Ivy Bridge Debuts, Desktop Replacements Prices Continue to Drop</h3> <p>June has the potential to be a great month for bargain <a href="" title="How to Buy a Laptop Computer">laptop shoppers</a>. On the one hand you have <a title="desktop replacement price drop" href="">Sandy Bridge Core i7 quad-core desktop replacements</a>, which have reached new price lows since the start of the year. We expect price tags on these laptops to drop even further, especially as we begin seeing new <a title="Ivy Bridge-based systems" href="">Ivy Bridge-based systems</a> enter the market.</p> <p>These Ivy Bridge laptops, which are packing Intel's latest CPUs, are pushing the price of Sandy Bridge systems even lower. Best of all, since their debut on April 30, 16&quot; <a title="Ivy Bridge price drop" href="">Ivy Bridge-based laptops have also dropped 31% in price</a> (falling from $1,010 to $689 in a span of weeks). These new systems are also boasting 8GB of RAM, dedicated 1GB video cards, 1TB hard drives, and in some instances built-in Blu-ray players. A 16&quot; system with the above specs went for $770 in late May, and we expect that price to repeat itself in June as manufacturers attempt to gain consumers' attention.</p> <p>Bottom line, if you're looking to purchase a <a title="laptop deals" href="">Windows laptop</a> that will last you the next few years, now's the perfect time. On the Sandy Bridge front, look for deals at $712 or below (that's been the average for 2012 so far). On the Ivy Bridge front you'll find plenty of deals, but $689 is the all-time low for a 16&quot; system as of late May.</p> <p>Ready to put this advice to use? Set up a customized <a title="dealnews email alert" href="">email alert</a> to receive notification as soon as we see deals on the categories above.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by </em><a title="dealnews" href=""><em>Dealnews</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Before you let Father&#039;s Day or the increasingly warm weather convince you to buy less-than-stellar deals, check out our latest buying guide for the best deals in June. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Dealnews</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping affordable travel electronics Father's Day frugal summer trips sales Fri, 01 Jun 2012 10:36:10 +0000 Dealnews 932736 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy in May <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-in-may" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boy holding flag" title="boy holding flag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to know that you're <a title="dealnews Editors' Choice" class="image_link" href="">getting the best deal</a> around when shopping through dealnews, but sometimes you want to plan for purchases in advance. So to help you out, we've mined our archives of product prices, sales, and coupons to see what consumer goods are best buys throughout the month of May. (See also: <a title="Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything" href="">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <p>While every month features its own unique deal fluctuations, we often see overlap across months, especially when they fall within the same season. As such, some of the advice for May might sound familiar if you've diligently followed the April guide. That said, May has some unique shopping characteristics to take note of, like stellar Memorial Day sales later this month. So dive in and brush up on the best and worst things to buy in May.</p> <h3>Memorial Day Sales and Coupons &mdash; Some of the Best of the Year</h3> <p>Oftentimes, stores want you to believe that every holiday weekend will feature some of the deepest discounts of the season, but that isn't always the case. However, as an almost-mid-year sale, we found that Memorial Day weekend tends to boast some of the most exceptional sales since January. You'll see the ubiquitous sale ads, but where these promotions truly become money-saving is in the plethora of stacking coupons we find on those already-discounted goods. Look to your favorite <a title="clothing deals" href="">apparel</a> and <a title="home goods deals" href="">home goods stores</a> for special holiday promotions. And in particular, keep an eye on department stores, nationwide apparel retailers, and home stores like <a title="Pottery Barn deals" href="">Pottery Barn</a> and West Elm.</p> <h3>Spring Clothing Deals Heat Up</h3> <p>Late April was an excellent time to start shopping for spring <a title="clothing deals" href="">clothing deals</a>, but the discounts really heat up in May where you could find cuts of up to 75% off. And if you want a particularly strong discount, try holding out until Memorial Day weekend for those aforementioned stacking coupons.</p> <h3>Sleep Easy with Mattress Deals</h3> <p>May is generally a good time to find a deal on a new mattress, and indeed for the past two years the sales we saw on <a title="furniture deals" href="">mattresses</a> received deeper discounts in May over April. So far we've seen items at <a title="Sears deals" href="">Sears</a>, for example, hit about 60% off after all discounts, which we anticipate improving in May and potentially spilling into June. Keep in mind, however, that last year we saw excellent discounts on mattresses around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you'll have another opportunity to cash in on strong deals later in the year, too.</p> <h3>Opt for the Less Traditional on Mother's Day</h3> <p>Last month, we suggested that shoppers buy their <a title="Mother's Day gifts" href="">Mother's Day gifts</a> early to get the best deals possible. But, if you still haven't bought Mom that <a title="Free Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day" href="">perfect gift</a>, consider avoiding the traditional. That's because, for the past two years, we've seen a lot of <a title="jewelry deals" href="">jewelry</a> styles actually <i>increase</i> in price at the beginning of the month, so you may not be getting the best value possible if you go that route.</p> <h3>For Grills, Wait Just a Little Bit Longer</h3> <p>We mentioned it last month, but it's even more pertinent as the weather truly starts becoming dreamy &mdash; hold off on buying a grill, regardless of whether its <a title="charcoal vs. gas grill" href="">charcoal or gas</a>. We see an increase in Editors' Choice offerings in June, so you'd be better served shelving your buying plans for another month. You can also wait until after the 4th of July when we'll see a wealth of <a title="grill deals" href="">grill models</a> featured in summer home sales.</p> <h3>Growing Discounts on Home Office Furniture</h3> <p>We begin to see an influx of deals on <a title="office furniture deals" href="">home office furniture</a> &mdash; desks, shelving units, and padded chairs &mdash; in May. If you can hold out until June though, a majority of these items will likely see their all-time lowest price points of the year. If you want to update your home office, then look to <a title="OfficeMax deals" href="">OfficeMax</a>, <a title="Staples deals" href="">Staples</a>, <a title="Office Depot deals" href="">Office Depot</a>, and <a title="Walmart deals" href="">Walmart</a> for the best offers.</p> <h3>Jump on Outdoor Gear Deals</h3> <p>Breathe in the fresh spring air and get active outside with a plethora of deals on <a title="camping deals" href="">camping and outdoor gear</a> from stores like <a title="REI deals" href="">REI</a>, <a title="Gandor Mountain deals" href="">Gander Mountain</a>, and <a title="Altrec deals" href="">Altrec</a>. Look for hiking, fishing, and camping accessories to hit appealing prices.</p> <h3>Learn to Haggle for Gym Memberships</h3> <p>When the weather is warm enough to run or exercise outside, you have more ammunition to haggle a good deal from a gym that's looking for ways to encourage people to work out indoors. You can seek out promotions that cut initial costs like initiation fees or the first few months of enrollment, or you can put your game face on and demand the discounts while negotiating the terms of your contract.</p> <h3>Ivy Bridge to Usher in New Deals on Sandy Bridge Systems?</h3> <p>May will be an interesting month for <a title="laptop deals" href="">laptop deals</a>. On the one hand, we have Intel's new <a title="Ivy Bridge CPUs" href="">Ivy Bridge-based systems</a> poised to enter the market with better battery life and more powerful graphics than today's laptops. Naturally, these new laptops will be competing with the very capable line of Sandy Bridge laptops already on the market. However, initial reviews indicate consumers won't notice that much of a performance increase with Ivy Bridge laptops. Nevertheless, the new systems are bound to lower prices on current Sandy Bridge-based laptops.</p> <p>Secondly, deals on fully equipped quad-core desktop replacements continue to sell at all-time low prices. In fact, last month we saw an <a title="HP Pavilion laptop" href="">HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition Intel Core i7 Notebook</a> come in at $700; that's the second lowest price we've ever seen for any 17&quot; quad-core Core i7-based desktop replacement with a full 8GB of RAM, dedicated graphics card, and 750GB hard drive. Savvy shoppers should look for deals under $800 and snag anything under $700.</p> <h3>LED LCDs Remain Flat, OLED Makes Its Official Debut</h3> <p>As expected, April wasn't a stellar month for <a title="TV deals" href="">HDTV deals</a>; deals generally remained flat for name-brand 42&quot; and 47&quot; models, and rose by roughly $50 for name-brand 55&quot; sets. We expect May to offer more of the same. However, we started seeing deals on 2012's new line of HDTVs. The <a title="LG HDTV" href="">LG 47&quot; 120Hz 1080p 3D WiFi LED-Backlit Widescreen LCD HD Television</a> (47LM6700) in particular has dropped from its debut price of $1,379 in late March to $999.99 in late April. That's a $379 drop in just four weeks. Not bad for a new TV that packs every feature imaginable. We expect to see more deals on this TV in May. (For comparison, brand-name 2011 47&quot; LCD HDTVs have averaged $547 so far this year.)</p> <p>Another 2012 TV, the <a title="Panasonic HDTV" href="">Panasonic VIERA 50&quot; 600Hz 1080p Widescreen Plasma HD Television</a> (TCP50U50), also made its first debut on dealnews for $781. It's one of Panasonic's budget models and will likely see further discounts in the coming weeks.</p> <p>And for you well-heeled shoppers out there, mark your calendars. On May 16, at the Cannes Film Festival, LG is expected to debut its <a title="OLED HDTV" href="">55&quot; OLED HDTV</a>, reports <a title="PC World OLED debut" href="">PC World</a>. The price? A cool $8,000. Painful as that may sound, keep in mind that this could trigger further discounts on LED-based LCD HDTVs.</p> <p>Ready to put this information to use? Set up an <a title="dealnews email alert" href="">email alert</a> to know immediately when we list the items of your choice.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a href="">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> May has some unique deals, like stellar Memorial Day sales later this month. So dive in and brush up on the best and worst things to buy in May. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Dealnews</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping deals memorial day Mother's day sales Wed, 02 May 2012 10:24:06 +0000 Dealnews 926822 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy in April <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-in-april" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="women on escalator" title="women on escalator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>April is here, and if you're stuck indoors waiting out showers that will bring May flowers, consider it a blessing: You'll have an excuse to devote more time to shopping around for deals! In an effort to guide you toward savvy purchases, we dug through the dealnews archives from years past to see what goods are, well, <a href="" title="dealnews Editors' Choice"><em>good</em> to buy in April</a>, and what you should hold off on. From early home improvement sales to aggressive tablet prices, here's what's in store this month for the smart shopper. (See also: <a href="" title="Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h3>Sail the Seas With Excellent Cruise Deals</h3> <p>Typically, April is a good month to book cruises. But we discovered last month that <a href="" title="cruise price drops">cruise prices in general have been dropping</a> when compared to last year, likely due to the industry's tumultuous string of recent public disasters. In fact, when compared to similar cruise deals from this time last year, 2012's offers are as much as 11% less. And we have continued to see an increase in the sheer number of cruise deals as well, making it a good time (price-wise) to look into a vacation on the seas.</p> <h3>Keep an Eye on Spring Clothing Sales</h3> <p>The general rule of thumb is to wait about two months after a new line of apparel hits stores before you can cash in on sizable discounts. Many retailers began debuting their <a href="" title="Frugal Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Spring">spring merchandise</a> in late January and February, so that places April at about the two-month mark for some. Look closely at the discounts, though. A spring <a href="" title="clothing deals">clothing sale</a> that takes 30% to 40% off is still a mid-season promotion; you'll want a sale that takes at least 50% off or more, and if you can hold steady for a stacking coupon code, all the better. If you truly want the lowest prices &mdash; which of course comes with reduced selection &mdash; you'll likely want to wait until May.</p> <h3>Look to Non-Apple Tablets for Aggressive Deals</h3> <p>As most of the world expected, Apple announced its new iPad last month. What many didn't expect, however, was for Apple to then continue to manufacture and sell the <a href="" title="iPad deals">iPad 2 at a lower price</a>. This new price point from Apple &mdash; although just $100 lower &mdash; puts pressure on Apple competitors, especially since we've already seen deals that discount it to as low as $349. As we predicted, <a href="" title="iPad 2 reduced price">non-Apple slate manufacturers will feel compelled to respond aggressively</a>, and as such we've already seen a new all-time low on the <a href="" title="Kindle deals">Amazon Kindle Fire</a>. Could this be a sign of things to come from other tablets as well?</p> <h3>Get a Jump on Jewelry Deals for Mother's Day</h3> <p>If you're thinking about buying some baubles for Mother's Day, then start looking now. We still find and list <a href="" title="jewelry deals">deals, coupons, and sales for jewelry</a> in May, but oftentimes we see slightly higher final prices on styles right before the holiday. This is especially true of online jewelry retailers.</p> <h3>Spring Home Improvement Sales Go National</h3> <p>For the past three years, <a href="" title="Home Depot coupons">Home Depot</a> has offered its &quot;Black Friday is Back&quot; spring sale, but this year, because of the mild winter weather, the store has not only started it early but &mdash; according to CNBC &mdash; the promotion has been <a href="" title="Home Depot Black Friday is Back">rolled out nationwide</a>, instead of as a staggered region-by-region schedule. Their spring sale began on March 29, whereas last year we listed it almost a week and a half later. While we wouldn't go so far as to say that the promotion is on par with the shopping holiday that shares its name, the Black Friday sale is a good opportunity to stock up on <a href="" title="home and garden deals">home improvement items</a> you'll inevitably need. And for once, the sales are available to everyone at the same time, ahead of schedule.</p> <h3>Hold Off on Office Furniture</h3> <p>Some sources praise April as the best month for <a href="" title="office furniture deals">top office furniture deals</a>, but according to our archives, we've consistently seen either more or better-quality deals in both May and June. The latter, in particular, racks up more Editors' Choice caliber offers, meaning that the styles are at the lowest price point we've seen. Look to <a href="" title="OfficeMax coupons">OfficeMax</a>, <a href="" title="Office Depot coupons">Office Depot</a>, <a href="" title="Staples coupons">Staples</a>, and <a href="" title="Walmart coupons">Walmart</a> for these offers down the line.</p> <h3>Wait for It to Really Heat Up Before Buying a Grill</h3> <p>It's easy to start dreaming about backyard barbecues once the weather gets warmer, and although the promise of an upcoming season of grilling is enticing, don't jump the gun by purchasing a <a href="" title="grill deals">new grill</a> just yet. Our deal archives suggest that June will see better-quality deals, while other sources promote post-Independence day sales as an excellent opportunity to get discounts on grills and the like.</p> <h3>Big Screen HDTVs Hold Steady, While 3D Trends Cheaper</h3> <p>Although April isn't a big month for <a href="" title="TV deals">TV deals</a>, we don't expect it to be a bad month either. Deals on brand-name 55&quot; TVs haven't changed since the holidays, coming in at exactly $800. Off-brand models on the other hand have actually dropped in price since December, and so far this year they're averaging $590 (which is 14% lower than the best price we saw in 2011). We expect this trend to continue in April, so if you're shopping for a 55&quot; TV, look for deals under $590 (for off-brand sets) and under $800 (for brand-name models). Likewise, name-brand 46&quot; LCD HDTVs were cheaper in February and March of 2012 than they were on Black Friday, with prices averaging $550. (The best deal in November was $598.)</p> <p>As far as 3D TVs are concerned, February's all-time low of $699 didn't repeat itself in March. But we do expect it to make a return before the summer, so keep a look out for deals on off-brand 55&quot; 3D TVs.</p> <h3>With Laptop Deals, Aim for Big Systems and Skinny Form Factors</h3> <p>Although February's stellar deal on a fully-equipped desktop replacement didn't make a re-appearance in March, average prices in 2012 are still at Black Friday levels. So if you're in need of a laptop, look for deals on <a href="" title="laptop deals">fully-loaded desktop replacements</a> (17&quot; or larger, with a minimum of 8GB RAM, a Core i7 CPU, and a 500GB hard drive) at or below $800.</p> <p>Last month we noticed an influx of deals on <a href="" title="laptop deals">ultrabooks</a> and we expect the same for April. In particular, look for deals on the ASUS Zenbook or the Acer Aspire S3 as those are the most discounted ultrabooks we've seen. Price-wise, the former has hit an all-time low of $849 whereas the S3 has reached a low of $749.</p> <p>Ready to put this information to use? Set up an <a href="" title="dealnews email alerts">email alert</a> to know immediately when we list the items of your choice.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a href="">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> From home-improvement supplies to vacations to aggressively priced tablets, discover the best and worst things to shop for this month. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Dealnews</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping deals on spring clothes electronics finding deals Mother's day sales Tue, 03 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Dealnews 915106 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy in March <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-in-march" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="black dog and basketball" title="black dog and basketball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>March is here, and even though you may be planning to stay glued to the couch for all of March Madness, you'll also be doing a bit of spring shopping &mdash; especially if you're <a title="online shopping at work" href="">fond of online retailers like us</a>! So we've mined the extensive dealnews archives for sales, coupons, and individual products from the past few years to guide you in your quest for the most savvy purchases this month. Here's what we found. (See also: <a href="" title="Shopping Calendar">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h3>A Great Time for Winter Outdoors Gear</h3> <p>Last month, we mentioned what a great time it was to buy <a title="clothing deals" href="">winter apparel</a> because of the exceptionally mild season. This theme will continue into March. It also appears that the warmer winter has put a damper on sales at outdoor specialty shops as well &mdash; presumably effecting gear for cold weather activities in specific. As Leisure Trends puts it, &quot;outdoor retailers may need to <a title="discounts on winter gear" href="">plan for an early spring</a>,&quot; which means we may see stronger and earlier discounts on cold weather gear and accessories than usual. If you're looking to gear up for springtime activities though, keep in mind that traditionally, we've seen the highest number of top-shelf offers on outdoors gear in the months of May and June. In either case, look to stores like <a title="REI deals" href="">REI</a>, <a title="Altrec deals" href="">Altrec</a>, Backwoods, <a title="Backcountry deals" href="">Backcountry</a>, and <a title="EMS" href="">EMS</a> for sales.</p> <h3>Hold Off on Spring Apparel</h3> <p>It's common knowledge that the best time to buy <a title="clothing deals" href="">current season apparel</a> is well after that season has begun. That's why cold weather apparel is such a hot buy right now. But how long should you wait to spring on short sleeves, shorts, and flirty dresses? A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two to three months in order to score the best discounts on seasonal apparel. In the meantime, if you simply must buy something, keep an eye out for a <a title="dealcoupon" href="">coupon code</a> to at least get a small discount off full price.</p> <h3>Skip the Lingerie</h3> <p>You may think that immediately after the most romantic day of the year, you'll see massive <a title="lingerie deals" href="">discounts on lingerie</a>. Although we do indeed see some price cuts, ladies would be better served by waiting until this summer to restock on their favorite styles. Around June is when <a title="Victoria's Secret deals" href="">Victoria's Secret</a> unveils its famed Semi-Annual Sale, and last year around that time we saw excellent markdowns from aerie by American Eagle, <a title="Frederick's of Hollywood deals" href="">Frederick's of Hollywood</a>, <a title="Macy's deals" href="">Macy's</a>, <a title="Soma Intimates deals" href="">Soma Intimates</a>, and <a title="Figleaves deals" href="">Figleaves</a>. That said, summer deals paled in comparison to the October to December stretch, which saw numerous Editors' Choice offers from many of these same vendors.</p> <h3>Treat Yourself With Chocolate</h3> <p>Again, after a holiday, it's only natural that themed sweets will go on sale. As such, Valentine's Day candy will continue to see discounts this month, if it hasn't already been all snatched up. But, since this holiday in particular puts emphasis on higher end sweets to impress your loved ones, you can especially look to stores like <a title="Godiva deals" href="">Godiva</a> for tasty ways to treat yourself on a budget.</p> <h3>Say Bon Voyage With Luggage</h3> <p>After a few months cooped up indoors, you may begin feeling the itch to get outside and take on an adventure of two. And if your travel gear is lacking, you're in luck! This time of year is a good time to buy new baggage. Last year, <a title="luggage deals" href="">luggage deals</a> began to pick up steam in March, with sales at <a title="Walmart deals" href="">Walmart</a>, <a title="eBags deals" href="">eBags</a>, Macy's, and <a title="Sears deals" href="">Sears</a>. Technically, we saw a larger spike in sales during the month of August last year, but there were still many notable offers in March.</p> <h3>Wait Until Black Friday to Upgrade Your Vacuum</h3> <p>While you may be in the mood to consider refreshing your living space with a little spring cleaning, March isn't the best time to go shopping for a new <a title="vacuum cleaner deals" href="">vacuum cleaner</a>. Many resources will tell you that April is in fact the best time to shop for a vacuum, but actually, according to our deals, November is much stronger with numerous top deals available around the <a title="National Deal Week" href="">Deal Week</a> time frame.</p> <h3>Stock Up on Frozen Foods</h3> <p>Were you aware that March is National Frozen Foods Month? No? Well, it is. And yes, this is largely a marketing ploy to draw attention to the frozen foods industry, but we could still very well see special promotions from different frozen food brands. So it may be time to go couponing! And if you come across a particularly hot deal, you can easily stock up on the long-lasting foodstuffs.</p> <h3>Get a Gym Membership When Temperatures Rise</h3> <p>During the month of March, you're stuck in limbo: It's after the wave of New Year's promos, and before the sales that try to entice you indoors when it's warm enough to exercise outside. Hold out just a little longer on getting a new membership, and you're more likely to encounter better promotions.</p> <h3>Make Way for the 2012 TVs</h3> <p>With the holidays and the Super Bowl now behind us, TV-buying season is officially over. March won't see the same head-turning price points we've been used to (we already saw some slight price upticks in February), but there is some good news at the end of the tunnel. <a title="Samsung prices leaked" href="">HD Guru</a> reports that Samsung's 2012 CES TVs are slated to enter the market this month, which could mean some surprise discounts on older 2011 models.</p> <p>3D fans should also take note, last month we listed the first ever third-tier <a title="55 LCD TV deals" href="">55&quot; 3D LCD HDTV</a> courtesy of Sigmac. The $699 TV is to date the least-expensive 55&quot; 3D TV we've seen and could help pave the way for even lower-priced name-brand 3D TVs.</p> <h3>Keep Your Eye on Desktop Replacements and Ultrabooks</h3> <p>Last month we informed you of the stellar deals we've been seeing on fully equipped <a title="laptop deals" href="">desktop replacements</a> (those with Core i7 CPUs and 8GB of RAM). Well, this month we're back with even better news. Last month we listed the least-expensive premium desktop replacement ever (an <a title="HP 17.5 notebook deal" href="">HP Pavilion dv7t Quad-Edition Intel Core i7 Quad-Core 2.2GHz 17.3&quot; LED-Backlit Notebook</a>) for an astonishing $550 &mdash; the lowest we've seen for any top-of-the-line desktop replacement. The chances of seeing that deal again are slim, but the chances of seeing another great desktop replacement deal are very high. Look for deals at $800 or below.</p> <p>February also saw a small-but-impressive stream of deals on ultrabooks (we listed six in total) with deals on the ASUS Zenbook and Acer Aspire. Prices on the latter have finally reached the $749 mark, while the highly-coveted Zenbook hit an all-time low of $849.</p> <p>Ready to put this information to use? Set up an <a title="dealnews email alert" href="">email alert</a> to know immediately when we list the items of your choice.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a href="" title="dealnews">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Does &quot;in like a lion and out like a lamb&quot; apply to shopping? Discover the best and worst things to buy in March. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Dealnews</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping electronics finding deals sales Wed, 07 Mar 2012 11:36:12 +0000 Dealnews 909758 at How to Network Sincerely and Effectively <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-network-sincerely-and-effectively" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Network Sincerely and Effectively" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>In almost any business environment you will hear from the people on top about the importance of networking. But what exactly is networking? Is networking establishing <a href="" target="_blank">deep, meaningful social connections</a>? Or can any social situation wherein you simply engage with another person in the most superficial of manners be considered &ldquo;networking?&rdquo;</p> <p>In its simplest definition, the latter is <i>technically</i> correct. Even if that connection is an exceedingly tenuous one, the bare goal of networking is to establish a connection between yourself and another person. This is done quickly and easily: &ldquo;Hello, blah blah blah me me me, vague chitchat,&rdquo; and bam! Networking done, take the rest of the week off.</p> <p>But networking superficially comes at a price, because you&rsquo;ve established a poor connection. And these connections can easily &ldquo;snap.&rdquo; And having a connection snap can have a more negative impact than never having established a connection in the first place.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Because, people recognize fakeness and insincerity. They know when you have &ldquo;networked&rdquo; them in a superficial, self interested manner. They&rsquo;re just too polite to say anything about it to your face.</p> <p>So how do you network sincerely &ndash; and therefore effectively? By adhering to a few simple principles.</p> <p><b>Actually Listen to People</b></p> <p>This is rule number one to establishing a connection. Listen and retain information.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s say you&rsquo;ve met Bob. Bob is a potential associate. You want to network with Bob. It starts simply. Ask him a question then actually listen to his response. Maybe even ask a follow-up question, you little Cronkite. But most importantly, retain the information you&rsquo;ve learned from listening. As much as you can. Yes, always.</p> <p><b>Remember the Details!</b></p> <p>Remembering is easier than you think it is. We have good memories, but we&rsquo;re just lazy. If you will remember long ago, all the way back in those simpler times we call eight years ago before cell phone address books, people had to remember lots of things, like hundreds of phone numbers at once. What big brains we had.</p> <p>So what&rsquo;s so hard about remembering some concrete details about old Bob like you used to be able to remember people&rsquo;s phone numbers? Write the details down that night if you have to. Study them later. Listen, but don&rsquo;t just listen: learn something about your new acquaintances. Learn their interests.</p> <p>Maybe even&hellip;</p> <p><b>Get &lsquo;Em Something Nice or Better: Something Useful</b></p> <p>I had a friend who once recommended buying people magazine subscriptions because it was a constant reminder to that person that you had given them a gift. I recommend something a little less transparently networky: if you&rsquo;ve started to establish a connection with someone, buy them a small gift they will actually use, and use often.</p> <p>Maybe you listened to Bob talk about <i>pinot noirs</i> and exciting wines coming out of Washington State (and you remembered it!). And maybe Christmas is rolling around and buying a Washington State <i>Pinot</i> for Bob sounds like a great idea. Not bad, and probably better than another holiday fruitcake. But after Bob guzzles that bottle he&rsquo;ll forget about it. Why not look to buy something related to his hobby that he&rsquo;ll use many times: a wine aerator, a decanter, even a nice corkscrew? Something he&rsquo;ll look at and remember you.</p> <p>But keep in mind&hellip;</p> <p><b>Networking Isn&rsquo;t &lsquo;Quid Pro Quo&rsquo;</b></p> <p>File this under &ldquo;being a good person.&rdquo; While you&rsquo;re networking sincerely, you do, of course, hope that you&rsquo;ll get something positive from the relationship. But you can&rsquo;t expect it and get huffy when it&rsquo;s not reciprocated. Networking sincerely comes from a place of altruism. You listen, you retain information about your fellow human being, you help out. It&rsquo;s all gravy if the person you&rsquo;re networking with <i>wants</i> to help you back. If Bob doesn&rsquo;t want to help you though, so be it. Bob&rsquo;s loss there.</p> <p>But you shouldn&rsquo;t be completely passive. Networking sincerely also requires that you be willing to&hellip;</p> <p><b>Ask For an Opinion</b></p> <p>People like feeling warm and fuzzy. And nothing turns on the warm fuzzies like feeling needed. And not in a way that feels like work. People like to feel challenged and useful. Asking for opinions signals to a person that you value their perspective. That they are an equal. And after Bob has shared his advice, consider following it. He&rsquo;s smarter than he looks.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, Bob, what&rsquo;s your favorite Washington <i>Pinot</i>?&rdquo;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jacob Harper</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center marketing networking sales small business Thu, 22 Dec 2011 22:58:01 +0000 Jacob Harper 835748 at 5 Red Flags Your Business Might Be Waving <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-red-flags-your-business-might-be-waving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Red Flags Your Business Might Be Waving" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Many a business owner, concerned about the lack of success in their chosen trade, has cried into the night, &ldquo;Why oh why is nobody buying? The doodads I sell are of the finest quality and fairest price!&rdquo;</p> <p>Besides the possibility that the bottom completely dropped out of the doodad market, the reason a business owner is not doing the brisk business initially projected could be that the business is waving big, bright &ldquo;red flags.&rdquo; Red flags are the alienating, off-putting quirks that overshadow the business. Customers see and remember them first and last, and when red flags are flying high customers stay away. The doodads don&rsquo;t stand a chance.</p> <p>The most depressing thing is that most entrepreneurs are oblivious to the fact that they&rsquo;re waving them at all. These entrepreneurs remain blissfully unaware they&rsquo;re driving people away with their odious antics, like your Uncle Ralph when he takes off his shoes. So are you waving big red flags like Uncle Ralph? Swallow your pride and ask trusted confidants if you seem to be&hellip;</p> <p><strong>1. Giving of the Air of Desperation</strong></p> <p>Nobody likes to be made to feel sorry for a business. You deal in doodads, not pity. Guilting people into patronizing your doodad shop might get business initially, but in the long run it can create resentment.</p> <p>Gazing longingly out the window wondering where the doodad buyers have gone, being overly effusive in thanking people for their business, even little things like commenting on how much you depend on a person&rsquo;s business to that person&mdash;these kinds of things can make people feel uncomfortable and manipulated. And most customers don&rsquo;t like that.</p> <p><strong>2. Too Many Signs, Too Much Information</strong></p> <p>Like a college freshman&rsquo;s car densely cluttered with bumper stickers, too much business signage feels like somebody is trying to tell you everything about everything in one single breath. It&rsquo;s overwhelming, off-putting, and, frankly, obnoxious. Besides, nobody wants to walk into a business and right off the bat feel like they need a manual.</p> <p>Yes, you might want a sign because you&rsquo;re tired of always saying the same thing to customers. You might have tired of telling people not to um... taunt the doodads. Maybe you&rsquo;ve decided a sign would be the perfect solution to end this doodad taunting once and for all. But for the 98 percent of customers who&rsquo;d never think of taunting the doodads, you&rsquo;re giving off a &ldquo;get off my lawn&rdquo; vibe before they&rsquo;ve even had a chance to look around.</p> <p>Like the college freshman should do, pick one or two things to highlight. Take a breath and leave the rest of your space free and clear.</p> <p><strong>3. Rude or Disappearing Employees</strong></p> <p>There is almost no bigger red flag than the disappearing employee who cannot be summoned. Well, besides having present employees who are rude or condescending. But a customer shouldn&rsquo;t have to choose between the two extremes. It&rsquo;s like asking whether they prefer to be neglected or abused. How about something completely different?</p> <p>But remember, there can be too much of a good thing. A business owner&mdash;and by extension his or her employees&mdash;should aim for the middle between disappearing and hovering, rude and uncomfortably friendly. Employees should aim to be distant yet easily summoned to answer questions and/or solve problems, friendly but not creepily so. Basically, the target, in terms of general employee personality, is to hit the mark of an affable shop ghost.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Service that doesn&rsquo;t hit</a> that &ldquo;ghost mark&rdquo; will prop up a big red flag. Be mindful of it.</p> <p><strong>4. Mixing the Personal and Professional</strong></p> <p>Despite warnings to never mix the two, people just love mixing the personal and professional. And it&rsquo;s sure to drive people to a doodad shop that isn&rsquo;t full of drama. Yes, your significant other just left you and took the car and the Labradoodle. Leave it at home, or at least out of view of customers. Customers have enough problems without having to deal with your sad-sack tales of woe, too.</p> <p>This includes discussing politics as well. Your customers just want service; they couldn&rsquo;t care less about your thoughts on the way things oughta be. You&rsquo;re using a platform-&mdash;your business&mdash;for your own musings. It&rsquo;s like an actor who writes a book. Nobody cares. Stick to what you know, doodad salesperson.</p> <p><strong>5. Outdated Décor and Storefronts</strong></p> <p>This is the most expensive red flag to fix, which is probably why it&rsquo;s the one the flies the longest and proudest.</p> <p>The fact is, tastes change, and obsolete appearances just bum people out. Now, one doesn&rsquo;t need to single-mindedly obsess over trends like a doodad-peddling Patrick Bateman. But if it&rsquo;s been a couple Presidents since you&rsquo;ve given your place a makeover, it&rsquo;s probably time. This can be as simple as a repainting, rearranging, maybe updating a few things here and there. Any kind of movement will do, for this red flag is rooted in the firm ground of stagnation. All it needs to be taken down is a little jiggling, a little Feng Shui.</p> <p>And maybe a new couch.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jacob Harper</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center customer service retail retail environment sales sales staff small business Thu, 22 Dec 2011 00:46:50 +0000 Jacob Harper 825741 at