Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Ten Tips for Teens to be Holiday Shopping Savvy

Posted 11/30/2010 by Mia Nogueira

Ten easy tips for teens who want to save their money during the holiday shopping season.

Help your money tree grow during the holidays. Artwork by Mia Nogueira

As millions of Americans get ready for the jolliest time of the year – the holiday season – by indulging in their expenses, it is important to be informed on every way to get the best deals, especially during this economic recession. Teenagers are the most targeted shoppers in marketing, therefore here are ten easy and savvy tips on how to save your money and still find every item on your wish list!

1.    Make a Plan: After all those hard hours on the job earning money, you do not want to spend more than you should. We teenagers spend some of our precious free time at some horrible job just to make $7.25 an hour-before taxes-and we still pay for our own gas! Unfair. But what is fair is knowing what you want to buy, where, and for how much. Make a plan of everything you want to buy and the locations; this way you won’t get sidetracked and show up late for the deal you want. Plan out every person you’re buying a present for and include a couple of alternative gifts in case your plan fails. Go as far as visiting the store the day before Black Friday, or other shopping holidays, locating your item and mapping out your trip. This way you’ll be the quickest one to the item once the doors open.

2.    Look Everywhere: Sometimes when you think Best Buy had the best deal for an iPod Car Hookup, CarToys had a better one, and you’d never know. Many businesses don’t have enough space on newspaper advertising pages to announce their sales, so they go unknown. Look online for any deals, sign up on email offers, and clip all those coupons that come in the mail. They can save you some valuable time and money.

3.    Make a Need & Wish List: Yeah, that Blackberry does look fun to play with but do you really need it? The key to saving money is deciding what is needed and what is wanted. Make a “Need List” of all items you truly need, such as a new iPod (because you filled your 8GB up). Then revise this list and make a separate “Wish List” of all items you wish you could have, such as that Blackberry. If you have money left over, invest in your “Wish” list, but beware of impulsive shopping.

4.    Learn to Compare Prices: Saving money is not only for adults; the earlier kids learn to save, the better off they will be in life. Have the patience to compare the prices of at least three stores. The more you research your item, the better deal you’ll find.  You can even try, a website that finds great deals in a quick minute.

5.    Read the Sunday Newspaper: In case you didn’t know, the Sunday Newspaper is chockfull of awesome discounts and coupons. Take some time to sort all those pages and read each ad carefully. Sometimes they like to sneak in a discounted price where you ought not look!

6.    Shop Early: Holiday shopping is not a hare and tortoise kind of deal; it’s a first come first serve. Shop as early as you can! Some stores have time frames for which deals they will be selling, and if you show up late you can say goodbye to Madden 11. By shopping early you can also avoid the mob of moms that hover over all the good presents a week before the holidays.

7.    Get Online:  Did you ever notice on the bottom left corner of the Apple Store website, there are some incredible deals on iPods and computers? I bet you didn’t! Buy refurbished items-good as new items that have been returned and fixed-and save about $50. The internet can do wonders; it can especially save you money. Many stores even offer Online Black Friday deals that can start on Thanksgiving Day. But if you still can’t find the price you’re looking for, do not get discouraged!,, and other sales websites are guaranteed to have the item that you’re looking for, sometimes at a much cheaper price.

8.    Throw a Fit: As a retail store associate myself, I don’t recommend making a scene at a store, but if you have the proof, and act respectfully, then go right ahead. Many stores have a lowest price guarantee and they usually aren’t right. Be prepared to prove it. Find the ads with lower prices and have them in hand to show that you can get the same thing somewhere else cheaper and hopefully the store will give you a discount. Just know most stores only honor the guarantees to online items.

9.    Don’t Fall Into Peer Pressure: “No, sorry we don’t have that size any longer but we have this shirt here that looks exactly like the one you want and its only $20 more.” Lots of store associates are prepared to lay that line down in hopes that you agree to buy the much more expensive item. Learn to say, “No, thank you,” and walk away. Don’t fall into the pressure of buying items just because you don’t want to make the clerk angry. I have this problem myself but I have come to realize the clerks will not remember one person in their day that said “No,” to their face. It’s their job to reel you in as much as possible to buy that extra shirt, as it is your job to save your money.

10.    Trust the Future: Don’t worry, that amazing blouse in the front of the store will soon make its way to the clearance rack in the back, and not getting the blouse in time for the holidays won’t kill anyone. Remember that Black Friday is not the only shopping holiday in the near future; there will be sales on the days before and after Christmas.

Take these simple tips TJ and hopefully your pockets won’t weight too less by the time you’re done shopping. Happy Holidays!