December 2, 2019
The holidays and spending money go together far better than peanut butter and jelly. This time of year is notorious for draining bank accounts, but there are ways to indulge in the spirit of giving while keeping the lights on at home.
Based on 2018 trends, online shopping is giving brick and mortar stores a run for their money. Black Friday shopping may never go away, but Cyber Monday has started to outshine the day more and more as most are inclined to sit home in their PJ’s and shop, rather than fight crowds and traffic.
Here are some tips and tricks that may come in handy for you while shopping online this holiday season.
Comparison shopping. If you think shopping is ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’, there’s a chance you may be overspending. Comparing the same or similar items across a few sites/stores before making a purchase can lead you to savings you didn’t know existed. Not only can you compare the item cost, but the cost of shipping and additional discounts or offers available.
Read reviews. Most know to take online feedback with a grain of salt, but if you notice a trend in negative reviews there is most likely a reason why. You can also ‘shop’ for reviews. Since some sites don’t allow reviews or don’t have any on particular products, you can usually still get the scoop on any product you’re looking for through a simple Google search.
Beware of flash-in-the-pan sales or door buster deals. In some cases, these deals are offered on items the retailer may have a harder time selling. For example: if you see a door buster deal for a 75” 8K Ultra HD Smart TV for $200, but it’s a brand you’ve never heard of, there may be a reason why it’s priced so low. It could be far lesser quality than its competitors, may not have a reasonable warranty program, or another explanation for why the retailer is promoting it in that way. Also, be sure you are purchasing the item because you need it and not just because it’s on sale.
Have a plan and stick to it. If you know what you’re looking for, you can save yourself time, energy, and prevent overspending. Pro-tip: start a running list of gift ideas throughout the year. For example, if you’re out and about with your mother-in-law and she mentions how much easier life would be if she had a heavy duty tote to transport food to potlucks, jot it down right then and there! You’d be surprised how many tips people give you throughout the year without even knowing it. This can also set you up to have your holiday shopping taken care of before the shopping season hits.
Consider joining hassle-free discount/cash-back sites. There are several sites out there that give cash-back for making purchases at select retailers. As these types of sites become increasingly popular, more retailers have jumped on the band-wagon. For many, all it takes is setting up an account and linking a credit card. And while the cash-back may not accumulate too quickly, it’s still free money!
Keep track. We can admit we’ve bought presents and completely forgot about them until gift wrapping time comes around. Can anyone relate? Whether it’s a piece of paper you keep in your wallet or a note on your cell phone, keeping a list of your holiday purchases for each person on your shopping list can hold you more accountable and keep you on track throughout the year as you find items.
Whether you’re the ultimate planner and already have your shopping done or are just gearing up to get started shopping online, we hope you are able to walk away with a tip or two to help moving forward. As always, be sure to reach out to us here at GICU to learn about ways we can make your holidays run as smoothly as possible!
- money management