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Lex What Wear: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – here we come!

By Alex McLean
KyForward columnist

After a few years working in retail and eCommerce, I’d like to think I’m pretty knowledgable about the sport of shopping. Yes, it is a sport – and getting in plenty of practice and following a game plan make you that much better at it!

(Photo from visitlex.com)

(Photo from visitlex.com)

Although I’ve had to check myself into shoppers anonymous and won’t be knocking down helpless shopping foes trying to get the last pair of sequined shoes this year, I will be here (behind the computer) offering up my know-how on how to shop smart on three of the best shopping days around – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (read more below) and Cyber Monday. We are a team, after all!

So … here are my tips for smarter shopping:

1. Prioritize! Consider your needs and wants, especially what you NEED to get a good deal on.

2. Make a list, from 1 to 10, of the items you’ll be shopping for and identify which ones you’ll search out first. Create a game plan, whether you’ll be shopping in the real world or cyber world.

3. Check ads and apps to find out where some of the best deals will be. This will give you an idea of which stores are offering special, special deals. There are a number of apps available – utilize them!

4. Compare prices – there are several Internet sites that help you do this, including PriceGrabber.com and PriceWatch.com.

5. Shop early! The early bird definitely gets the worm when it comes to this time of year. Be sure to look for all the early bird discounts, doorbusters and, dare I say, Thanksgiving night deals (wait till the turkey’s gone!). I shouldn’t have to remind you – but I will – to check the stores’ hours beforehand. Nothing worse than getting up at the crack of dawn only to be shut out of a store that doesn’t open until 9 a.m.

4. Promo up! For your online shopping, research promo codes BEFORE you shop and record them with the corresponding items on your list.

5. Do your research! This is especially helpful if you plan to buy a big-ticket item. No matter how good a deal you get on something, it’s NOT a good deal if it’s a bad product.

6. Have fun! This is easy for me to say … I love to shop. But even if you don’t love it like I do, you can make the best of it. Some of my fondest memories are of my Mom and me navigating through Black Friday sales, out-foxing people in traffic and putting our feet up afterwards with a cup of hot coffee. Be careful out there!

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1 shop

About Small Business Saturday: While all the hype surrounds Black Friday, and to some degree Cyber Monday, I would like to focus on what is widely known as Small Business Saturday – the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year on Nov. 30. If you want to make a difference this holiday shopping season, “shop local and shop small.”

As Tom Underwood, Kentucky state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, put it: “Shopping small and shopping local – on Small Business Saturday and every other day of the year – is a great way for people to help their friends and neighbors and create jobs and opportunities in the places where they live.

Plus, with there being five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small business owners say they’ll be doing more to get shoppers into their stores! And that’s great for all of us.

According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business:

• 67 percent of small-business owners will offer discounts on specific items or general discounts on the day.
• 39 percent of small-business owners are planning to collaborate with other small businesses in a community event to promote Small Business Saturday.
• 36 percent will offer coupons for future offers or discounts.
• 32 percent are starting their holiday promotions earlier than last year.
• 21 percent are planning to increase the number of employees working on Small Business Saturday.

If you follow my columns and blog regularly, you know there are many small/local fashion shops in and around Lexington that I am particularly fond of … Calypso, Bluetique, Twirl … just to name a few. These and the many others have a wide selection and expert customer service, and they benefit greatly from our business.

So this year, remember to shop small and shop local too!

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Before I sign off for this week, I must share some things I’ll be shopping for at some point soon …

1 Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 1.55

1 Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 1.57

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Alex McLean writes daily for LexWhatWear.com, a Lexington style-spotting blog she created for people who love to read about what’s hot … and sometimes what’s not … in fashion. She also shares lifestyle tips, creative ideas and stories about local fashionistas and others who inspire – live from New York City, where she now lives.

For more of Alex’s Lex What Wear columns, click here.

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