Money Monday: Save Money This Holiday Season With These Power Shopping Tips

BY: - 22 Oct '12 | Home

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With two months left before Christmas, the last thing on many people’s minds is holiday shopping. But proactive planning can keep both your pocketbook and sanity intact.

Develop A Game Plan

Start by creating a list of the people for whom you’ll purchase gifts, then develop a tentative budget based on the list. Such a holiday shopping budget ensures that your gift spending doesn’t put the rest of your personal finances at peril.

And with nearly two months before Christmas you’ll even have time to put aside a sum of money each week to meet your budget goal. If your holiday budget is $800, for instance, start saving $100 a week to save enough money for your holiday shopping.

Take Advantage of New Retailer Price Matching Offers

Big box retailers have grown weary of shoppers using stores as showrooms to check out products they intend to purchase online. In response, several big box retailers recently announced they will match the prices of their major online competitors during the holiday season.

Target will run its price-matching guarantee between November 1 and December 16, matching the online prices of retailers like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Walmart.com. Best Buy will also match prices found online for appliances and electronics.

Use these new price match policies to secure the best prices at some of your favorite bricks-and-mortars retailers.

Don’t Get Sucked Into Black Friday Mania

Think Black Friday will get you the best prices on holiday gifts? Think again. The day may be great for obtaining lower quality merchandise on the cheap, but according to Consumer Reports, shoppers do at least as well or better by waiting until after Black Friday for the lowest prices on quality merchandise.

Consumer Reports asked the price prediction website Decide.com to analyze the prices of some of Consumer Report’s best recommended products:

“In a significant proportion of cases, Decide.com data showed, the lowest prices of the season on those items were not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the day following the Thanksgiving weekend. Specifically, more than a quarter of the recommended TVs and cameras were at least 5 per cent cheaper between Cyber Monday and December 13 than they were earlier, including during the Black Friday weekend.”

Mark Your Calendar For Free Shipping Day

Shop online on Monday, December 17, 2012 and you’ll receive free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve at over 1000 online retailers. Last year Free Shipping Day produced over $1 billion in online sales. To check out which online retailers are participating this year, visit FreeShippingDay.com.

Consider Discounted Gift Cards For Extra Holiday Savings

Save between 5% – 30% simply by using discounted gift cards. Give them as gifts themselves or use them at retailers where you do your holiday shopping. Check out Giftcardrescue.com, Plasticjungle.com, or Giftcards.com for deals on gift cards from hundreds of merchants.

Take Advantage of Social Media

One of the surest ways to secure great discounts is by following your favorite retailers using social media. Simply by subscribing to your favorite merchant’s twitter feed or facebook page you’ll be eligible for exclusive coupons, deals, and other freebies. Lord and Taylor, for instance offered a facebook offer for 25% off almost everything in the store. Kohl’s offered a facebook coupon for 20% off of store merchandise.

By being smart and planning ahead you can save big bucks this holiday season.

BMWK, What are some of your best holiday shopping your secrets?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 258 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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What Affects a Couple's Frequency of Intimacy?

BY: - 22 Oct '12 | Home

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Jealousy, anger, complacency, revenge and fatigue are just a few of the actions that creep into our homes, take over our bodies and prevent our ability to connect physically. These actions also prevent our marriages from producing the joy that they should.

All of these behaviors may make for a great mini-series on Lifetime television, but not one of these has any right to dwell in a marriage.

Jealousy, which can show up in a couple of different ways, cripples a relationship. It can appear when we’re jealous of another person getting our spouse’s attention, or when we’re envious of our spouse’s success. Sometimes we don’t realize how to handle the emotions that surface. When they do appear they show up in the form of disagreements, ineffective communication or no communication at all; which all directly affect our desire to be intimate. If our focus is on worrying about whom else might draw our spouse’s attention, then our spouse is no longer our primary focus. We must bring our concentration back to making the marriage the absolute best it can be. Trusting in the fact that our spouse chose us for a reason is critical.

Anger is damaging whether it shows up in a marriage or in other parts of our lives. Those who hold on to anger and use it to hurt other people are sabotaging their own joy and peace of mind. Of course, when we are angry, the very last thing we want to do is be touched or held by our mates. We won’t pretend or even suggest that we never get angry. It isn’t realistic. But what if we controlled the anger instead of allowing it to control us. First, determine what made us so angry and why it did, then address it with our partner. We’re going to get angry, but we must have solutions in place so that we aren’t holding on to it and letting it destroy what we’ve built.

Complacency is one of the most common reasons we miss opportunities to physically love on our spouses. Couples get comfortable with one another and for some odd reason think we no longer have to try as hard. This is FALSE. We have to work even harder; we can’t allow complacency to prevent us from putting effort into creating a happy, healthy partnership. Keep the results in mind. You get back what you put in.

Revenge is a big no-no in marriage. Some of us are using sex as a weapon or as a power tool to get what we want or get even. I am urging anyone who does that to stop it, and stop it now. Our intimate connections are for both partners enjoyment, not to be held over the head of the other.

Fatigue is the most legit reason our intimacy suffers. Work and family life will both definitely play a role in how we physically feel. In order to not feel so overwhelmed, we must delegate and ask for help when we need it. Sharing with our spouse that we need help in certain areas creates an honesty, and an open line of communication, resulting in a greater connection in the end.

The above are just a few of the things that affect our relationships. We have to make love and loving on our spouse a number one priority. The more connected we are the better we feel, and our marriages deserve the best from us.

BMWK, what do you feel affects a couple’s intimacy and what can we do about it?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 565 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.

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