Planning for Christmas, catalog or online shopping has many advantages over the holiday mall scene.
No long lines. No sore feet. No staggering to the car, weighed down by parcels and shopping bags.
Shopping becomes a pleasure, conducted from a favorite chair. Make your choice, load your cart, sit back, and wait for the UPS man. Ahhhhh!
Still, it's possible to have too much of a good thing! Holiday promotions sweep in at the end of August, filling email inboxes--and disorganized shopping exacts a high price for convenience.
The very ease of online transactions encourage free spending. Scattershot orders pay high toll in the form of shipping and handling fees. Returns can be problematic, especially when the receipt has vanished in the flood of opened boxes.
How to shop smart and save? Try these three tips to organize online shopping.
Savvy shoppers know that shipping and handling charges are the bane of catalog and online shopping. These fees can add as much as 25% to the cost of the merchandise! Piecemeal orders require multiple trips to the post office to collect packages. Best strategy: order as many gifts as possible in a single order from one source.
How to consolidate? Choose one online retailer or marketplace, and keep tabs on orders placed. Ready to buy? Check your master gift list for any planned purchases that can be added to the order to shave shipping fees.
Consider keeping an open shopping card for a day or so before you buy. Retailers may make a better offer--and the delay will make it easier to avoid heat-of-the-bargain mistakes.
Savvy consumers use a credit card for online transactions so they can dispute charges for undelivered or unsatisfactory merchandise. The downside? Credit card shopping can lead to over-spending--and online retailers are masters at provoking impulse purchases. Unbridled online shopping can easily tip the holiday budget into a financial morass.
To track online orders, consider a printable order tracker to organize Internet/catalog shopping. Check the Printable library for a free online order tracker or shopping list.
Keep your lists before your eyes as you make out orders. If the item isn't on the list, it's an impulse purchase--so don't buy it! When you phone in an order, say "No, thanks!" to all telephone specials, today-only offers, and other temptations that will be led across your path.
Know when to call a halt
Once you've placed your orders, stop shopping! You'll want to order early, to make sure items are in stock, and can be delivered on time--but there's a danger to early shopping. Sellers will be back with more and more offers, leading to over-buying. Be firm! Once the master gift list is satisfied, ignore the siren songs, sales, and special offers for your financial well-being.
Ready? Set? Shop carefully . . . to get ready for Christmas.