Think Before You Shop: Free Financial Advice
Bromfield Financial Group, Inc.
10 Rogers St. Room 102
Cambridge, MA 02142
www.bromfieldfinancial.comEric Sneider, a chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner, has you covered with a quick word of advice and some tips to put your mind at ease this holiday season:
“Using credit cards to purchase gifts could lead to excessive finance charges if not paid off in full when your bill is received. If you can’t afford to pay off the entire balance on your credit card each month, you should not buy anything on credit. A good alternative may be the use of a layaway or special financing program established by retailers that allows you to spread your payments over time without blowing your budget. However, with these types of plans, if you don’t make your payments on time or the loan is not paid off in full when the term ends, you could have your entire balance taken off the promotion as well as be subject to the penalty rate, which is typically astronomical (i.e. more than 20 percent). These types of plans are great if you are able to make the payment terms, if not, buyer beware. … Keep it simple, don’t buy more than you can afford. If you can’t pay for it now, it will likely cost you a lot more later.”
Keeping that advice in mind, here are a few wonderful stops to visit during your holiday errands. If you don’t yet have a quick list of budget-minded stores Sears, Best Buy, Toys R Us and TJ Maxx or Marshalls boast lay-a-way plans available year long.
Men’s Designer Fashion Outlet
481 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02111
www.facebook.comPrices: 30 to 45 percent off for clearance and discounts
This men’s haberdashery is full service and a well kept secret known only to those who travel within the heart of Downtown Crossing. It’s been in business in Boston since September of 2009, with its main headquarters in Levitttown, N.Y. It’s also affiliated with Porta Classica. MDFO offers everything a man could want, including on site personal tailoring services. MDFO offers a wide selection of low to high-end clothing at reasonable prices for any size or occasion, whether professional or casual. Browse suits, blazers, slacks, regular and French-cuff dress shirts, ties, bow-ties, socks, hats, cuff-links, shoes, caps, casual shirts, jeans, and sweaters and winter outerwear. It’s a one-of-a-kind shop that the most fashion-ready and conscientious shoppers want to keep on the down low for just that special occasion.
Harvard Cooperative Society’s Coop
1400 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02238
www.harvardsquare.com/Dates: March 6 to Dec. 25 – 11 a.m to 12 a.m.
Prices: 8-percent rebate to members/50-percent discounts
The world-famous Harvard Coop, located in the heart of Harvard Square, was founded by Harvard students in 1882 and features four floors of books. That it’s one of the only officially licensed Harvard/MIT logo clothing/gift shops makes The Coop a personalized Cambridge tradition. Coop Cafe adds another fun dimension with candy, greeting cards, dorm furnishings, etc. It’s the classic one-stop shop. One of the newest features at The Coop is the “Coop Kids Story Time and Craft” every Tuesday, giving parents a full hour to shop while the kids enjoy a story, snack and related craft. The Coop gets its support from the community and shares its revenue with the colleges and city of Cambridge. Your holiday shopping fund goes a lot further here than at a department store.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
4 Market St.
Boston, MA 02163
Dates: Dec. 1 to Dec. 24
Prices: discounts/coupons/half-price tickets
If you’re looking for deals and variety all in one place you’ll find it here at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. More than 45 owner-operated and nationally owned shops fill the marketplace with a unique selection of jewelry, formal and casual clothing, accessories and gift ware. It’s the Bull court that gives this shopping space that extra flair. Delicacies and old-fashioned dishes from every ethnic background may be wrapped up in a pretty package and ready to gift in a snap. Go onto its promotions page and find coupons for specific shops before heading to the marketplace. Build-a-Bear Workshop offers more than 30 bears to stuff, make a wish on and put a heart inside. Add personalized outfits and accessories to make this the most unique gift for anyone on your list. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s ninth annual Mayor’s Holiday Special offers event discounts, unique dining deals and gift ideas with tickets half price for the holidays.
Poor Little Rich Girl
121 Hampshire St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Poor Little Rich Girl will fit any budget with vintage class. New arrivals come on an hourly basis, so you may not want to leave. Take advantage of this venue regardless what season, especially if your pocket money doesn’t coincide with your dream list. The style here is unmatched: Find treasures on shelves and racks throughout the shop. Shoes, outerwear, dresses and sleek pant suits are organized by size and era. Don’t forget the jewelry case, opera gloves or that hat that matches the outfit you’ve been trying to polish off. Every item available is marked down from its original cost, still in pristine condition.
5 Copley Place
Boston, MA 02116
www.neimanmarcus.comDate: Dec. 5 to Dec. 16 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Prices: 50 to 55 percent clearance and discounts
There is nothing more festive than a trip to Copley Place during the month of December. The holiday atmosphere, indoor waterfall and piano bar promise to make your holiday shopping more of a special trip than just an errand. Neiman Marcus holds everything on your holiday list under one roof, including gifts appropriate for all ages and sizes. Designers are featured in every area, Cusp, Bergdorf Goodman, Horchow and Last Call by Neiman Marcus exclusively, more designers you’ve come to know and love are available. For example: Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Dolce & Cabana, Valentino, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent, all at bargain prices. Neiman’s holds a “Fashion Dash” in December, slashing the already discounted prices, switching between designers and giving you a full range of options to make your shopping experience less of a strain on your wallet. Alex Soldier Traveling Trunk Show also gives you a view of the latest collections of precious jewelry on level three in the Precious Jewels Salon this holiday season.
Related: Boston’s Best Shopping Malls
Freelance writer Corinne Costantino presents expert tips and tricks to everything Boston with over 30 yrs of shopping and fashion sense. Get your edge on everyday style with a Master Seamstress and Art enthusiast. Recently designing her own clothing line and sharing her unique wardrobe with friends and family, featuring many peices in textile shows
across Massachusetts. She extends her knowledge base by offering fashion tips, beauty hints, and shopping advice that will balance your style between trends and make functional practicality versatile. Her work can be found on http://www.examiner.com/early-childhood-parenting-in-boston/corinne-costantino