Are You a Savvy Shopper? You Can Be!

By Megan Trent

November 23, 2011 Updated Nov 23, 2011 at 5:38 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Layaway has joined the ranks of phone apps and online deals as stores fight to be your spot to shop this holiday season.

We all get the ads in the mail, but how do you really know where and when to get that perfect gift at the best price?

Mark Hammond of Fort Wayne says his shopping strategy is pretty basic."With a two year old and a four year old, right now it's pretty simple for me to just kind of come in and when I see something that I know that they want, I pretty much grab it if the budget is right."

Mark Oppy of Huntington often likes to look at prices before he heads to the store. "Sometimes I look online, but most of the time I just look at their ads."

Michael Mast of Columbia City was out shopping with his five-year-old son, Mason. He says comparing prices is key. "Ad matches is what I utilize, if anything, and I look for stuff on sale."

Kathy Slone of Warsaw says she is the queen of clipping coupons. "If there are some coupon sales going on, I like to apply that to whatever my final sales are. Yeah, I'm a coupon girl."

Some stores like Kmart and Sears have offered layaway for years, but this season they are joined by other retailers hoping to cater to budget conscious shoppers. Toys R Us has offered layaway on big ticket items in the past, but now you can select just about any item. Best Buy is trying layaway out in a few markets (not in Fort Wayne), and Walmart has implemented an advertising blitz for their new layaway program.

"I think layaway could be good for some people if they have that one big item that they know that their child wants," says Hammond. "Maybe they want to give them their first bike or something that's more of an expensive item. Right now times are obviously tough for some people."

Be careful! You may avoid a charge to your credit card, but you could still end up paying more than the sticker price. Always check out fees, restrictions, and guidelines.

"Of course, my rule of thumb is don't overspend if you can't pay for it," adds Hammond.

The old favorite layaway has now joined new favorites - smart phone applications. You can compare prices while shopping, and if you find an item for less money at a competing store, most retailers will price match.

Story Simpson is the Customer Solutions Manager at Best Buy. He says there are Best Buy applications for iphone and Android markets. "A lot of what you'll be able to do is scan bar codes in the store. If you scan that with your smart phone, and you'll be able to get customer reviews, pricing, online pricing. If there's anybody else that has it shopped differently, you'll have that ability to look it up ahead of time.

There are apps to search for the best bargains, and even Christmas list apps to keep you organized. "Smart phone technology makes that very convenient," says Hammond.

Sometimes store websites have special discounts for online orders as well. Simpson says, "BestBuy.com will have different deals than sometimes we advertise in store. You can actually get emails early and have the ability to shop early."

This holiday season, be the envy of all your friends. Pay for gifts in payments, download that newest shopping app, or just shop for a Snuggie in your Snuggie.

Happy shopping!




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