Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Underground Issue 05

'Tis The Season To Penny Pinch

Added Dec 2, 2010 by Jiyoon Ellie Kim 

“Since I don’t have a job right now, saving is really important,” said Taylor Smith, fourth-year psychology student. Smith speaks for many students at UTSC, who want to get into the holiday spirit of gift-giving without overspending. Getting great gifts for your loved ones doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. The following are three tips to being frugal without being cheap this holiday season.

1. Shop online

For busy students who are victims of end-of-semester assignments and final exams, shopping online can be a convenient and efficient option. Many online stores offer better deals than what you may find in stores. Also, they often offer free shipping during the holiday season.

The best part is that everything is just one click away, helping students to avoid battling massive crowds at the mall.

Online shopping also gives shoppers the opportunity to compare prices more easily, making for a better deal.

Kerthiga Manokumar, fourth-year English and history student and avid online shopper warned that one has to be careful to make sure items are not fake or bad quality. However, she suggested that some background research often solves such a problem.

“You see a lot of fakes, but you also can find real items,” Manokumar explained. “It takes time but you can end up with good quality, designer stuff that [online retailers] get directly from factories for a much cheaper price.”

Manokumar recommended eBay as a good place to start, as it is reliable with a wide variety of choice.

Also, Amazon and Chapters/Indigo offer discounted prices for online shoppers and members.

Students should keep an eye out for online-only products, as they can make for unique gifts that can’t be found in stores.

2. Make your own gift package

Making a mix and match package is a good way to stick to your budget. Buying items from separate stores after shopping around ensures that you are getting the best deals possible.

For example, putting together a cookie baking kit for someone who likes to bake is pretty simple. A holiday gingerbread cookie mix is $9.99 at Hallmark, and a holiday baking book from Good Housekeeping is $10.79 on Amazone. One can get a cookie cutter set and a cookie box for under $3 at a dollar store. These items make for a big package that costs less than 25 bucks.

Making a gift package obviously requires more effort than buying at $25 gift card, but shows more effort and thoughtfulness which can make the gift more meaningful.

3. Wait for post-Christmas sales

Most people try to get all their holiday shopping done before Dec. 25, but if you know you’re not going to see someone until after Christmas, why not wait to take advantage of post-Christmas sales.

The most obvious day for post-Christmas shopping is Boxing Day. For those of you wary of crowds, many stores also offer Boxing Day deals online.

Third-year science student, Mohammad Waqqas, suggested students should pay more attention to Internet forums such as Red Flag Deals, which often has information about bargains at popular stores including Best Buy.


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