The spirit of giving is great, but you need to be savvy. Being a savvy shopper encompasses a number of different things. You have to get appropriate gifts, you have to get the gifts on time, and you have to take all reasonable precautions to avoid theft or other common problems. Don’t just be another shopper. Be a savvy shopper this holiday season.
Below are the top ten ways to be a smart holiday shopper:
1.Take Preliminary Inventory
Make your list, and check it twice. Save on shipping fees when buying in bulk online. Identify who you would like to shop for and what you would like to purchase for them. You can buy something special for a few people. Keep shopping for coworkers, in-laws, distant friends, and second cousins on-budget.
2.Take Advantage of Online Shopping
Many different e-commerce sites will have something for everyone on your list. And, they will ship the gift item in wrapping paper with a gift receipt for you. Avoid the lines at the post office. In the event things go wrong, blame the shipping company.
3.Find the Right Generic Gifts for the Office
Getting a gift valued at $200 from an acquaintance can be a little off-putting. Find the right gift that is simply a nice gesture at the right price. A few good ideas include small boxes of candy, small brain-teaser games for adults, and small care packages. It’s the thought that counts. Order a few extra to ensure that no one feels left out.
4.Get Special Gifts for the Right Price
People that know how to sew a quilt or knit an entire blanket are talented and amazing. Other people can use different e-commerce sites to find a handmade gift at a reasonable price. Niche items can also often be best found online. Skip the scavenger hunt and hit the search button.
5.Go With Plastic or PayPal
Protect yourself from theft by using a major credit card or major payment processing site such as PayPal to complete online transactions. You can file a dispute with PayPal or the bank that provides your Visa or MasterCard in the event an item ordered online simply never arrived or arrived in unacceptable condition. Major banks are very adept at settling billing disputes and identifying fraudulent card activity. Once you hand over a money order, that money is gone for good. Identify theft is a prevalent issue, and major banks will typically refund the money that was charged to your card.
6.Learn to Call Shipping Companies and Complain
Find your nasty side after your $500 package was lost in the mail. Call the shipping company and start complaining. You often have to be a little snippy and a little long-winded. 95% of the time the company will find a way to grant a refund or otherwise find a reasonable solution. Learn how to snap, “Oh, so your delivery guy left the package where anyone could walk by and steal it!”
7.Speaking of Complaining about Items Not Received
Many major e-commerce sites do not advertise how customer-oriented they really are. Call customer service representatives and complain about a poor merchant if their order management is not up to snuff. You will likely be reimbursed, and the merchant will likely be penalized. This process is pretty quick and easy when working with e-commerce mega sites.
8.Local Commerce and Online Orders
Numerous shoppers choose to forgo the hassle of shipping in lieu of the hassle of going to a store during the holiday season. Find an item online, and call the store to see if they can hold the item until you are ready to pick it up. Many small businesses will be happy to hold an item for a day. You know that you will get the item on-time. This can also be a good idea for expensive purchases.
9.Resist the Urge to Purchase Items from Abroad When Shopping Online
Shipping within the United States can be difficult enough during the holiday season. Do not tempt fate by purchasing a rush order from New Zealand or Uruguay. Customs can be a nightmare, and shipping can take forever.
10.Don’t Shop for Yourself
You will get your own gifts in a few weeks. Resist the urge to buy preliminary gifts for yourself.
Be a Super Shopper
Shop online, and use a few tips to stay on-budget. Enjoy this holiday season instead of turning holiday shopping into a tension convention.
Ella Gray is happy home maker and self proclaied online shopping addict. Please feel free to email her at [email protected]