By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s gift giving season, and many of us are spending more than usual during this time of the year. But you can also save money if you play your cards right. Even with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday behind us, there are plenty of shopping deals to be had. In fact, some promotions don’t come into full swing until December. Nancy Ngo from the Pioneer Press Gets Us Movin’ on what to buy and when.

TOYS

Some of the hottest toys of the season will be at their lowest prices for the holiday season two weeks before Christmas. So if you can wait, we’re talking markdowns by as much as 30 percent. However, don’t wait until the very last minute — prices will go up again during the 11th hour when stores know that it’s crunch time for many shoppers. So it’s a delicate balance.

GIFT CARDS

December is the time of the year where we’ll see a lot of holiday promotions on gift cards. If history repeats itself, we’ll see several large retailers offer things like $100 in gift cards for $80.

FREE SHIPPING DAY

Free Shipping Day falls on Friday, Dec. 15. You might be thinking free shipping has become so common these days so what’s the big deal? Well, in addition to free shipping, host website freeshippingday.com continues to up the ante.

The site now also requires that participating retailers waive any minimum purchase requirements in order to be included on the list. Participating retailers also must guarantee purchases arrive by Christmas Eve, so it’s great for last minute online shoppers.

The last time I checked, there were more than 90 retailers signed up, including Target and Herberger’s. And the list is expected to only keep growing.

GOLF CLUBS

Golf season isn’t in full swing in Minnesota this time of the year. As a result, retailers will give steep markdowns on golf clubs by as much as 40 to 50 percent off.

So it’s a good time to stock up in anticipation of that golf trip to a warmer weather climate this winter or for the arrival of tee time here next spring.

CHAMPAGNE

Toward the end of the month, champagne is in high demand in anticipation of those New Year’s Eve soirees. Liquor stores will get competitive and in order to get you to shop with them, you’ll see select champagnes marked down by as much as 15 to 20 percent off. It’s a way for retailers to get your business and for you to get a great deal at the same time, so it’s cheers all around.

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