WASHINGTON (TND) — Didn’t get exactly what you wanted under the tree this year? ‘Tis the season for returns, exchanges and post-Christmas deals – so The National Desk’s Eugene Ramirez spoke with shopping expert Trae Bodge to find out how to purchase the items you’ve had your eye on all season long.

If you need to make a return or exchange in the new year, Bodge said to be familiar with the rules of the retailer.

“Every retailer has their own rules,” said Bodge. “What are the store hours? What is your return window? Do you need a receipt or not? So these are really important things to be informed about before you venture out.”

Bodge said whatever you’re returning should also be in as perfect condition as possible.

“You want to make it as easy as you can on the retailer to resell that item. So, items should be back in the box, items should have tags on or at least tags with them,” said Bodge. “Anything you could do to make it easier on the retailer will be much appreciated on their end.”

Don’t worry about rushing straight to the store for returns. Bodge says most retailers extend return deadlines into January no matter when the item was purchased.

“What I would avoid right now is returning this week, because this is prime returning time. You’re going to find crowds, maybe frustrated salespeople, long lines at the post office. So, I would try for right after Jan. 1 if you can,” said Bodge. “Being kind goes a long way.”

Looking to buy something for yourself in the new year? Bodge said right now there are big deals on phone plans and holiday decor.

“If you’ve got a smartphone for the holidays, you can get service from Mint Mobile. If you buy yourself three months of service, you can get three months for free and they have plans as low as $15 per month,” said Bodge. “If you need holiday decor for next year – if you can think that far ahead – you will find clearance-level deals. I saw a beautiful pre-lit faux Christmas tree at Walmart for 50% off.”


Click here to view the original segment on TheNationalDesk.com.

Related: The Ins and Outs of Returns