4 SIMPLE ways to MAXIMIZE Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) …and KRW

The following is a guest post by @kharlar, a friend and fellow blogger.

Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) and the Kingston Restaurant Week (KRW) are highly anticipated annual events meant to entice and incite consumers to have good experiences, and also to spend. Consumers look forward to the deep discounts from stores during FNO, while KRW is a time for people to enjoy eating out at their favourite restaurants or experience new ones, as restaurateurs offer special menus at subsidized prices.

Now I support both events, I mean who doesn’t like discounts from stores or the opportunity to try out a new eating spot without having the spend too much?  Unfortunately the hype doesn’t always work out. As it relates to FNO, the discounted items may not necessarily be the most desirable items. Unless a blanket discount on all items is offered, sometimes the benefit is lost. What also leaves much to be desired is that some store owners use the much anticipated sales night as a means of clearing old stock. That’s not much of a benefit as you end up feeling cheated. Another drawback of the event is the over-crowding. The stores have no parking. The stores barely have standing space so unless you know where you are going and what you are going to buy then the environment really isn’t conducive to any type of leisurely activity.  Outside of all that though, people do look forward to event and store owners enjoy the increase in business activity.

Jamaica Observer's Fashion's Night Out

Kingston Restaurant Week (KRW)
KRW is a lot less busy but equally anticipated and attended. Patrons are required to make reservations for the desired eatery to secure their place. The most popular spots are usually booked out within days of reservations being opened. Menus for the restaurants are posted online to assist in the decision making process. One of the most attractive features of KRW is that restaurants are categorized based on the price of their offerings. For one flat price, customers are able to get an appetizer, main course and dessert.

4 ways to manage both
Now much like FNO, KRW requires quite a bit of planning. Not only do you have to worry about where you go and what you will buy or eat, as the case may be, you have to be careful of what you spend. FNO is generally at the beginning of the month, while KRW is a mid-month affair. These are generally times when most people have paid their expenses and are probably concerned about how they will make it to the end of the month. Unless previously budgeted for, people may end up spending more than they planned. Credit card usage is encouraged by banks during this period, with them partnering with stores to offer further discounts for using the card to make purchases. While good for the bank and the stores, this could see shoppers paying interest and other fees as a penalty for not properly budgeting or spending imprudently or just getting caught up in all the excitement.

As these events approach, here are 4 ways to manage both. You can share other tips you may have in the comments as well.

  1. Have a plan:Both events have published lists of participating stores/merchants/restaurants. Knowing whats available helps you narrow down your choices as well as identify needs rather than wants. Once you know what you want/need to purchase it becomes easier to avoid hectic situations like walking around over-crowded plazas attempting find out whats on sale.Restaurants participating in the KRW require patrons to make prior reservations, so being familiar with what each eatery is offering aids in this process. Also FNO and KRW usually fall at the beginning or middle of the month. Now these may not be the best times for impromptu spending, so if possible start saving in anticipation of the events.
  2. Have a budget: Once you know what you want to purchase during FNO it becomes easier to budget for that item. If the night is more a spontaneous bout of retail therapy then decide beforehand how much you wish to spend and try to stay within that limit. As it pretains to KRW, a restaurant must be selected from a grouping which has a preset price tag, so the spending limit is already pre-determined (with the exception of those items stated by the restaurant).
  3. Make use of additional discounts: During FNO, some banks offer their customers additional discounts for using their credit/debit cards. So in addition to the security these cards offer, discounts are an added benefit. However, credit and debit cards carry with them the inherent risk of spending more than intended simply because you have access to the funds. remind yourself of the spending limit you have imposed on yourself so that you will not exceed your budget and will be able to pay back what you have spent from your credit card. Prompt payment will ensure you avoid interest charges and other fees.
  4. Be focused: Ensure that the intended purchases are reflective of your needs or will provide some benefit in the near future. Making a purchase just because you can or because it seems like a bargain at the moment may result in buyer’s remorse later on.

What other tips do you have for surviving Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), or maximizing the Kingston Restaurant Week (KRW)? Share them below.

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