Make Ends Meet: Shopping tips during a COVID Christmas

Even Santa and his elves are doing more than making a list and checking it twice -- and...
Even Santa and his elves are doing more than making a list and checking it twice -- and shoppers should, too.(Rebecca Bollwitt | Flickr)
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 6:01 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Like just about everything in our lives this year, holiday shopping in 2020 will be different. 

Many families have a tradition of eating their Thanksgiving meal and then heading out to get their place in line for the Black Friday Bonanza of deals, but that’s all different this year. However, just because Santa will be showing up socially distanced or virtually this year, it doesn’t mean Christmas can’t be merry.

Accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator Trae Bodge specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, parenting and retail. Bodge’s website True Trae is considered a consumer’s best friend, especially around the holiday shopping season.

“The first thing I would recommend is to get organized,” Bodge shared with WAVE 3 News. “Even if every other year you never make a list, I would make a list this year.”

With even more challenges than usual brought on by the coronavirus this holiday season, even Santa and his elves are doing more than making a list and checking it twice -- and shoppers should, too.

“Make the list of recipients,” Bodge said. “You set a budget. That budget may be different this year than last year because your job situation may have changed. That’s really important to look at.”

If a special person wants a specific gift, looking in the right places is the key to finding it at the right price. Deep discounts are usually found by those who take the time to search.

“The discounts that I’m seeing right now, many of them already rival black Friday level,” Bodge said. “Pay attention to what your favorite retailers are doing, but also take a look at your memberships too, and you can save even more.”

Memberships like AARP, Triple A, Amazon Prime and different warehouse clubs like Sam’s and Costco could save shoppers big bucks.

“Something to keep in mind, if you see a great sale don’t assume that’s the best sale,” Bodge explained. “Go online. Google that item. See if it’s on sale elsewhere.”

While checking prices, consumers should make sure the site they’re on it legitimate. Bodge said no one wants to lose their hard earned money to someone who may also be working hard scamming deal hunters.

“Any website that you’re shopping on should have an ‘S’ at the end,” Bodge explained. “So, https means that sight is secure.”

Emails offering deals of a lifetime should also be avoided before further inspection.

“Take a look at the email address,” Bodge said. “Does it look like a real email address? If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.”

She said not to let the whirlwind of gift giving and trying to make ends meet make the holiday season less than merry and bright.

“Just take your time and go slow and try not to let it overwhelm you, but the more organized you are, the better you’re going to be,” Bodge explained.

Bodge said to also remember while shopping online that this is still the year of sold-out stock and lots of delays. Below are dates for the deadlines of shipping dates for an item to make it to its destination for Christmas, though they may change based on demands or problems that may be faced during the shopping season:

  • Dec. 15 (Tuesday) – Deadline for USPS Retail Ground
  • Dec. 18 (Friday) – Deadline for First Class Mail*
  • Dec. 19 (Saturday) – Deadline for Priority Mail** shipments
  • Dec. 9 (Wednesday) – Deadline for FedEx SmartPost shipments (exclusions apply)
  • Dec. 15 (Tuesday) – Deadline for FedEx Ground (scheduled pickup) and FedEx Home Delivery shipments
  • Dec. 21 (Monday) – Deadline for FedEx Express Saver shipments
  • Dec. 22 (Tuesday) – Deadline for FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. shipments
  • Dec. 23 (Wednesday) – Deadline for FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
  • Dec. 25 (Friday) – Deadline for all FedEx SameDay shipments (additional Holiday fee is applied)
  • Dec. 15 (Tuesday) – Ground shipments
  • Dec. 21 (Monday) – Deadline for UPS 3 Day Select shipments
  • Dec. 22 (Tuesday) – Deadline for UPS 2nd Day Air shipments Scheduled delivery on Dec. 24
  • Dec. 23 (Wednesday) – Deadline for UPS Next Day Air shipments

People may also want to consider non-traditional gifts that can build relationships and make a person feel some of the emotions missed in the disconnected year of pandemics and protests. Making a person’s favorite meal, cooking up a homemade treat, or offering to help with a task that may be overwhelming for a loved one could mean more than anything found at a store, and it may actually save a person money. 

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.