Recap: Post-Thanksgiving Sales

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek

Once the turkey and stuffing have been devoured, it will be time to start planning your post-Thanksgiving shopping ventures. Do you plan to brave the crowd of Black Friday, support the community on Small Business Saturday, or shop from the comfort of your home on Cyber Monday?

No matter whether you’re doing your shopping in one day or spreading it out, there are a few things that you can do to make your job less hectic. The first and most important is to make a list of the things that you’re looking to buy. Shopping without a list is a practically guaranteed way to buy things that you don’t need and miss items that you could have used. If you’re purchasing gifts, make a list of who you’re buying for and what you could get them, as well as your budget for each person. As you shop, you can check off your list knowing that you’ve saved a bunch by buying when the items were on a deep discount!

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is a great place to support local businesses all year round. We are a local independent insurance agency that offers Boston residents excellent home insurance, renters’ insurance, car insurance, and beyond. Call 617-298-0655 or visit our website for a free quote today!

Ready to Shop? After Thanksgiving Sales are Coming!

Thanksgiving is next week, and that can only mean one thing – stores are getting ready for the after-Thanksgiving sale season! Bargain hunters will be ready to hit the road to take advantage of the savings opportunities at stores across the greater Boston area… will you be one of them?

As you plan out your Thanksgiving dinner, you can also start to plan your upcoming holiday shopping excursions. Make a list of who you’re shopping for, as well as some ideas for things that they might want or need. Then, you can figure out the perfect day to get them the right gift. You have three main options when it comes to getting a great deal:

Black Friday

Arguably the most well known of the Thanksgiving shopping holidays, Black Friday is when many big box retailers will offer significant savings on both small and big-ticket items. This makes it a perfect time for anyone looking for, for example, a new television to do some personal shopping. Many people also take the opportunity to make their gifting budget for the year stretch further with the significant savings. However, if you want to reap the benefits, you will have to put up with the drawbacks of shopping on Black Friday – namely, the massive crowds.

To get the most out of Black Friday, it is critical that you have a plan. Browse store advertisements to figure out which stores you want to visit, and plan your outing based on when they open – be careful, though, since some will start their sales on Thanksgiving afternoon and others will wait until the more traditional pre-dawn on Friday.

Small Business Saturday

A more recent addition to the post-Thanksgiving shopping lineup is Small Business Saturday. Only officially observed since 2010, this holiday of sorts is a celebration of the community-based businesses that we love here in the Boston area. In fact, it was here in Boston that the celebration started thanks to a partnership between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Roslindale Village Main Street.

If you want to patronize your favorite small business on Small Business Saturday, snap a picture while you’re out and use the hashtag #shopsmall to tell your friends that you are choosing to support our local community as you make your holiday purchases. Spending your money at small local businesses is a great way to make sure that our community thrives, and that you are getting high quality products and great customer service from local business owners. At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are dedicated to showing our support to the small businesses here in Dorchester – that’s why we pride ourselves on offering top of the line business insurance policies!

2018 Lower Mills Holiday Stroll

One of the best ways that you can celebrate Small Business Saturday here in Dorchester is by attending the Lower Mills Holiday Stroll. It is a favorite of the Vargas and Vargas Insurance staff every year. Local businesses that participate will offer hot cocoa, host giveaways, and much more!

So, if you’re free on November 24th from 4:30 until 7:30, consider dropping by. The trolley will be running up and down Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street all afternoon, and you might even be able to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause!

Cyber Monday

Quickly becoming one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday has been celebrated on the Monday after Thanksgiving since 2005. Last year (2017) people shopped online in record numbers on Cyber Monday, bringing in $3,364,000,000 – yes, that’s over 3 billion dollars – in sales.

Cyber Monday is a great time to cozy up at home in your pajamas and do lots of comparison shopping right from the comfort of your own home. If you want to take advantage of this year’s Cyber Monday sales, first make sure that you subscribe to the newsletter and follow on Social Media the retailers that you might buy from on Monday. You never know when they might offer extra savings or put a spotlight on a great deal that you could have otherwise missed.

Whether you choose to participate in one or all of these post-Thanksgiving shopping days, we hope that you get a great deal on what you purchase, and make sure that you stay tuned to our blog for more great winter and holiday tips, as well as advice on how to get 2019 off to a great start!

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to get a great deal on your insurance policies. Call 617-298-0655 to speak to a great Massachusetts insurance agent about your home insurance, auto insurance, and business insurance needs. No matter what type of insurance you need, we can get you a free quote at Thanksgiving and all year round.

Budgeting for the Holiday Season

It may only be October, but now is the time to start thinking about your end-of-the-year holiday budget. Most Vargas and Vargas Insurance customers that we talk to agree – the holiday season is an expensive time of year (let’s face it – the festivity and merriment don’t come cheap!) Before you even think about picking out the best-looking turkey for Thanksgiving, pick up a pencil and make out a quick budget for the rest of 2018. It doesn’t have to be perfect – any sort of guideline can help make sure that you start the New Year in the black.

Our agency wants to do our part to help! Here are just a few of the categories that you may want to include in your budget, along with a few ways that you can get more bang for your buck this winter:

Holiday Décor

Part of the fun of the holiday season is the festivity and merriment that accompanies it. If you’re one to “deck the halls” then you probably already have most of the decorations that you use every year in storage. Occasionally, though, something will need to be replaced.

Do yourself a favor and save money on the replacement by using the old item one more time (if you can, of course) and purchasing the replacement on a deep discount after the holidays are over.

Food and Entertaining

During the holiday season, many people throw holiday parties or host family events. Whether you are hosting or attending these events, you will need to budget some money for them. Hosting can be costly, but you can cut down on your spending by asking attendees to bring a dish to contribute to the table or buffet – sides and desserts are easy for others to make and bring.

If you are attending an event, offer to bring something to help the host. You could bring food, but alcohol and other hostess gifts may also be appropriate. Many local shops in the Boston area offer a great selection of items that would be perfect to bring to a party.

Travel

Around this time of year, many people are making plans to visit their loved ones. Whether you’re going to be there to eat turkey or open presents, you should start making your plans now so that you don’t get stuck paying last-minute prices.

Depending on how far you need to travel and how many people are going with you, taking a road trip may be a cheaper option than flying. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping for tips and tricks to travelling by land. If you don’t have the time to travel by car, then flying is your best option. Buy your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best deal and remember when comparing prices to include the cost of extra fees and baggage to your total cost.

Gifts

If you’re someone that purchases gifts during the holidays, plan now so that you don’t overspend later. Make a list of everyone that you plan to gift to, and how much you will spend. Be as thorough with your list as possible – include family members and friends, as well as neighbors, teachers, your mailman… anyone who will get a present, even if it’s only going to be $10 or less.

When it comes to saving money on gifts, there are many options. For the brave, consider shopping during Black Friday sales to get great gifts at blowout prices. Some people may find Black Friday shopping a little too harrowing of an experience. If that sounds like you, (and you have even a little bit of creative capability) consider making your gifts this year. Often, DIY gifts are less expensive than store-bought, and they can hold extra meaning to the recipient.

As you budget for gifts, remember to also factor in the cost of cards and wrapping paper and bows. These are costly right before the holidays, but you can save money for next year’s presents by purchasing card multi-packs and wrapping paper on clearance and storing it with the rest of your decorations.

Once your holiday budget is complete, do your future self a favor. Take your estimated expenditure amount from this year and divide it by 12. Then you can set up an automatic deposit for that amount into a holiday savings account each month. By this time next year, you won’t have to worry about scrambling to find funds – you will have a lump sum ready to go for all your end of the year spending!

Remember – you can save money on your Massachusetts insurance policies all year ‘round with the help of Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One call to 617-298-0655 and our agents will work hard to make sure that you have home and auto insurance policies that will give you the right amount of coverage without overburdening your bank account.

How to Get the Best Black Friday Deals

When the feasting is over, and Thanksgiving is done, it will be time to gear up for deals – that is, if you’re a Black Friday shopper. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a few dozen years, you know what Black Friday is: a day of savings and often a great opportunity for bargain shopping.

Here’s the secret to getting the most out of Black Friday – it’s all about planning ahead.

Gather the advertisements for stores that you are interested in, and see when their sales start, and whether they are available online or in-store only. In recent years, some stores have been starting sales on Thanksgiving night, while others wait until bright and early on Friday morning. If you want to snag more than one big deal, you may need to recruit a friend or loved one so that you can divide and conquer once the shopping madness begins.

Make sure that you don’t get lured in by a fantastic sounding deal. Just remember, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Retailers want to sell as much as they can, so they sometimes make inferior products sound like a good buy, so check the specs of electronics before you make a purchase.

Don’t forget to increase your savings with coupons, memberships, and savings apps. Every little bit of money that you save now will mean more that you can spend during the holiday season!

And remember – you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to save on your Massachusetts insurance policies. Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency always has great deals on home insurance, auto insurance, business insurance, and all of our other products. Just call 617-298-0655 for a free quote.

Support Small Businesses This Holiday Season

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The end of the year is quickly approaching, and for many people that means it’s time to start shopping. Whether you need presents or hostess gifts, you’re going to have a lot of options of where to shop this holiday season. Instead of going to a big box store or ordering online, try shopping at local small businesses! There are many amazing small businesses in our area, and supporting local small businesses has lots of benefits:

  • Encourages local character by promoting individuality
  • Increases community involvement and well-being
  • Keeps wealth local and encourages local prosperity
  • Boosts the local economy with more jobs and better wages
  • Fuels entrepreneurship and innovation in the community
  • Helps sustain the environment and reduce pollution by reducing sprawl

In addition to helping the community, you may find that you benefit personally from doing your shopping at smaller establishments. You will find more unique items than at larger retailers, and you will often receive more personalized and more attentive customer service while at smaller businesses.

If you want to take your support of small businesses to the next level, shop locally for the ingredients to your holiday meals! You can find great local produce around the Greater Boston area, and it will be fresher than what you get at the grocery store.

And one more thing – if you need insurance, you can get the same benefits that are listed above by shopping locally. Ask us for more information about why getting insurance from a local independent insurance agency is the way to go.   We can help you with your Massachusetts automobile, homeowners, business and life insurance.