Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Shopping Tips

My sister posted some tips on Facebook that she received in an email from a place called LIFESPAN on how to be a better (and safer) shopper on this most horrible of shopping days -- Black Friday.  (of course, if you were in line last night, all this won't help you, but might be something to think about for future holiday shopping trips.)

Five Things Not To Do At The Mall

Thieves are suffering during this economy just as much as the rest of us. They’re more brazen than ever so it pays to take some precautions. Read on for LifeSpan’s Financial Counselors’ shopping do’s and don’ts for a safer and “on budget” holiday season:

· Don’t carry your checkbook or more credit cards than you will use during that shopping trip. If your wallet is lost or stolen, this will limit the damage. Do: Make a copy of the front and back of all credit cards, and put the list in a safe place at home so if a card is stolen you can report it immediately.

· Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Even if you are committed to paying for your purchases with cash, be aware that pick-pockets take advantage of crowded areas and distracted people. Do: Break up shopping trips, replenishing cash for each trip.

· Don’t shop while in a hurry or at the last minute. You’ll end up spending more than you should so mark the item off your list. Do: Block out a specific time for shopping.

· Don’t shop without a list. Santa thinks it’s a useful tool, and so should we. Do: Make your list specific: recipient’s name, gift idea and what you’re going to spend. Having an overall holiday budget floating around in your head isn’t good enough. Without a plan, you’ll likely get caught up in the hype and overspend.

· Don’t pile new debt on top of old. Some of us are still paying for 2011 holiday expenses. Do: Think about it. You’re buying for friends and relatives who will understand if you need to cut back. Tell them! Then do something personal such as writing a heartfelt note or offering to do something – clean, babysit etc.

I added these tips to her list:

This list should also have mentioned safe and proper ways to carry your purse to discourage thieves.  If you carry it with the strap across your body from one shoulder to the opposite hip is best.  Always make sure the zipper of your purse is closed after every transaction to discourage thieves dipping their hands into it in crowded areas. (open purses that can't be closed should be left at home.)

Don't use purses made of fragile material that could be easily cut open.

The bags the APPLE store give you have a lovely string handle.  However, don't carry your APPLE purchase by this string around your arm or wrist because a thief can grab it and break your wrist getting it.  APPLE products are a favorite goal of thieves because there is such a demand for them and they can easily be sold.  Grab the Apple bag by the neck, or carry the purchase in your arms, or put this bag into another shopping bag if possible, or into your purse if your purchase is small.

Don't overload yourself with open store bags.  At some point, take all your goodies back to the car, place them hidden in your trunk (not on a car seat), then MOVE your car.  Thieves also watch the parking lots and rob cars if you simply walk back into the mall.  Driving away and finding a new parking place makes them think you've left the area.

Above all BE SAFE -- You are the only you that you have.

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