Jostling your way through the mall with holiday gifts may be appealing to some shoppers but shopping online is convenient and less stressful. With so many stores and outlets online now it just makes sense to get all your shopping done from your desk. If you plan to join the virtual masses this holiday season, then be a smart shopper. Save your hard-earned money and get your shopping done before the holiday rush. Give Santa a little financial help and try these ten cost-cutting measures.
Make a List
Remember the phrase “I felt like a kid in a candy store?” That’s what holiday shopping is like, even when you do your shopping online. This nostalgic, wonder-filled feeling is not good to have when you want to stay in a budget. Make your list and stick to it before you ever get online. Even if you are unsure what to buy set a dollar amount and stick to it. Have a list or a spending budget in place, on paper, before you crank up the computer.
Get Coupon Codes
Stop before heading to the checkout of your favorite web store and search for coupon codes first. Go to your preferred search engine and type in the product name and the term “coupon codes.” Search through your results to find a good deal on your product. Enter the coupon code in the coupon code box at the checkout. Not all stores have this nifty feature but some do. Take advantage of it when you see it.
Popular Online Stores
Many stores are online today but there a few stand-bys that have lots of experience getting products to you on time and for cheap. Visit popular stores like Amazon.com and Ebay for the best deals on must-have gifts.
The number one fear of online shopper is getting a package too late. Worrying about a package’s arrival time may cause you to select a faster, more expensive shipping option. Two-day and one-day shipping costs often ring up to double the price of the actual gift. Do yourself a favor; buy your gift earlier rather than later to avoid this pricey situation.
Deals of the Day
Check out the “deal of the day” featured on your favorite websites. With some luck, you will find a real steal in this hidden section. Pay attention to the small print though. Even the “deal of the day” should have some type of guarantee or return policy.
Avoid Bulk Buying
Some online stores offer a discount for bulk buying. It may seem like a good idea to buy a “lot” of 12 Talking Elmo Dolls but chances are, you will end up keeping 10. Avoid bulk buying unless the item in question is on your list and you are sure that your gift recipients will want them. Bulk purchases are difficult to return too. Save your money!
Credit Card Rebates
Shop using a credit card that offers you a cash back rebate for all your purchases. Do all your purchasing with one card and at the end of the season, you will have nice little check just for you. Now that’s a gift! Also, using the same card will keep you on budget. It is easy to overspend when you use two or more cards. Spreading out the debt makes you feel as if you have spent less than you really have.
Free Gift Wrapping
Santa hates wrapping all his presents the night before Christmas – so should you. Request free gift-wrapping. This way, when they arrive they are ready to go under the tree. Forget about color coordinating all the packages; variety is the spice of life! However, you should avoid using stores that charge you a gift-wrapping fee. These fees add up if you have more than a few persons to buy for.
Check out the store’s online refund policy. If the online store has a brick and mortar shop, are you allowed to make exchanges there? Or must you return the package via the mail? Ask for a gift receipt to be included in your packages. This will allow your loved ones to make returns if they need to without hassling you about it.
It never hurts to ask about a store discount. Special discounts like ones for military, seniors or deals of the day are out there, but sometimes you have to ask. Before clicking on “Checkout” go to the Live Chat section and ask about store discounts.
Get your holiday shopping done and have something left over by using these online holiday shopping tips.