Avoid the Friends and Family Trap

>> 11.16.2009

It's that time of the year- holiday shopping season is about to hit full swing and retail stores are having their big 'Friends and Family' events. Did you know that these sales were once actually exclusively for the friends or family of store employees? I remember my friends begging me to give them one of my (few) coupon cards back when I worked in retail. Now, getting the discount is as easy as grabbing a code off of a website (go here for a list)... and the stores know this.

In most cases, this promotion is held to increase holiday shopping traffic and secure sales. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, prices will continue to drop and even better promotions will pop up.
So, if I knew that the discount wasn't anything special, why did I walk away with a bag full of clothes?
Because I shopped strategically! I know that I can do better than 30% off of a regularly-priced sweater, but when I find a top or dress that fits me perfectly and is marked ‘final sale,’ I know that it’s time to swipe it up!

Next time you come across one of these F&F events, remember to use the guidelines you would use with any other coupon:
-As yourself if you would have bought the item without a coupon.
-When possible, try to layer on the savings.
-If you love the item and there's a chance it's going to sell out, go for it!
-Feel free to think things out (use the coupon while it's there and make returns later if you need to)

What a surprise! An even better deal has already come along... ;)

Anyone score great F&F deals this weekend? I *finally* grabbed a summer dress I've had my eye on for $10 (originally $70).
Waiting for me to share more of my thrifty holiday shopping tips and ideas? They're coming up soon!


ashley morgan November 16, 2009 at 10:29 AM  

Love the new blog look! I'm dying to change mine up, but I have no idea what to do.

And, I've gotten quite a few of those coupons via email over the last couple of weeks. Haven't used any yet though.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog November 16, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

@Ashley Morgan- I've been playing around with the layout so that I can make everything more organized. I'm glad you like it!

The Brick Cottage November 16, 2009 at 10:44 AM  

Your blog is looking great! Love the look!

I used to work at Macy's and for our F&F, each associate would be given a number of coupons to give away. It was a great time for customers to purchase say a designer handbag for a discount (as most coupons excluded the item, which made our F&F coupons great).

I love when the Gap F&F comes out (although we didn't do any shopping this go around) because it can also be used at the outlets--which is great for the basic polo shirts my husband wears to work.

Amanda November 16, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

Great tips. One more tip- if you're going to use the last bullet point on your list, the one where you make returns later if needed, MAKE SURE you actually make the returns! Don't do like I do so often and put the item in some unknown corner only to discover it in 4 months. It's like hiding a pile of cash that you can never use! Great tips though, and thank you so much for the list!

Katy Campbell November 16, 2009 at 1:35 PM  

I did, at both Gap and Banna. We only bought from the sale section and used the 30% off at both places. Very grateful for the savings! He ended up getting a $78 something pair of khakis for $20!!! Sigh, I love a good deal. :)

Katy Campbell November 16, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

banana** I do know how to spell, promise:) but apparently not how to proofread....

Adam and Natalie November 16, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

Aw, man! I am so bummed. I let this coupon pass me by because I thought it read "not to be combined with any other offers" so I didn't think it could be used on sale items! That would've been the only way I would've used it.

ps-thanks for your comment on my blog! I'm excited to see what kind of thrifty ideas I can "borrow" from you. :)

Mel November 17, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

I did the same. Got a pair of $80 jeans at Banana for $36 with the sale price and the coupon. Hooray!

Jen November 18, 2009 at 10:43 AM  

I love using those extra 30% off coupons on clearance items. My kids all wear GAP and Gymboree clothes for less than thrift store prices as a result. You are right about the friends and family trick and about prices getting lower the longer you wait. I love shopping online for the clearance items because they have more sizes and often offer free shipping.

Emily @ Waldo Bungie November 21, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

Ha ha! That's funny! I actually work part time at Gap, and all the employees LOVE F&F coupons because it's the one time we can get 30% off the sale stuff.....otherwise we just stick to our 50% off full price items discount! :)

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