Holiday Shopping Deals & Gift Card Tips

Monday, November 06, 2006

We have the tips on how to get the best deals this holiday season plus what every shopper needs to know about gift cards.

About 60-percent of Americans plan to buy gift cards this holiday season, even though about 19-percent have yet to use their gift cards from last year!

And waiting to cash in on your gift cards can be a costly mistake. Many cards expire or lose value over time, that's because maintenance charges or dormancy fees often kick in after a specified period of time.

When you buy a gift card make sure you read the fine print on the card itself and on the holder the card comes in. Also, as soon as you buy or receive a gift card, record the number and keep the receipt in case the card gets lost. If the card expires, ask the store to reactivate it, some retailers will do that for a small fee.

In Pennsylvania, the buyer of the card can get unredeemed gift certificate money back, businesses have to turn that money over to the state two years after a card expires or five years after it was issued. Delaware has a simliar law, call your state's unclaimed property division to see if you have any money owed to you.

We have an insider secret for shoppers this holiday season. Try to plan your shopping trip after 6:00 p.m. the day before a sale is advertised to begin, many retailers program their registers with discounted prices the night before a sale.

Also, if you plan to buy specific advertised sales items, take the complete ad with you to eliminate any confusion on your part or the merchants.

If you see an item for full price, ask a sales associate about upcoming sales and unadvertised coupons.

When you're shopping online, do a quick internet search for coupon, discount or promotional codes, or check out websites like or

If you buy through websites like ebates, you can get up to 5-percent of your money back on purchases as well as exclusive offers and free shipping for hundreds of etailers.

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