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How to Really Save While Shopping Online for the Holidays

1 December, 2011 / by marketing

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Canadians are trying to reduce their debt, and we’re trying to keep more in our savings too. Good for us, but the holidays are a very hard time to do either of those things. And if you’re like most Canadians, to keep on track, you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground listening for those ever-important money-saving holiday tips. There are a lot of them, but the one that comes up most often: do most of your shopping online! Yes, shopping online is definitely much more convenient, and it can save you money, as more retailers are starting to offer online-only discounts. But in order to make sure that shopping your PJ’s is really saving you money make sure to have these tips close at hand so you don’t end up taking out a second mortgage just to pay for the holidays.
Know what you’re shopping for
Walking into a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or any other major retail store without a list in hand can be a very dangerous thing. It leads to impulse shopping and overspending, and much of that debt many of us are trying to climb out of. But it’s not the actual store that causes you to overspend, it’s not being disciplined and too-easily forgetting that you are only there for certain things. It’s just as easy to do this when you flip page by page, instead of walk down aisle by aisle. Create a list before you even get online, and know what you’re shopping for. Then, only buy those things.
Know what you’ll be spending
It’s easy to compare an online price of $19.99 with an in-store price of $25.99 and say that the former is the better deal. But look a little closer. Will you be paying for shipping? Administrative fees? Any other fees for that convenience that you get from shopping out of your own home? Add it all up and if you’ll still be getting a better deal online, make the purchase. If not, it might be worth going to stand in line for.
Look for deals
We’re not just talking about doing a little comparison shopping around at different sites; that’s a no-brainer when it comes to shopping online and saving money. But you should never be satisfied once you’ve found the lowest price either. There are tons of websites that offer discount coupons and promotion codes for different online shopping sites and just having one of these when you go to shop can save you even more on your online purchase. Red Flag Deals and Retail Me Not are just two sites that offer these codes and coupons.
Know where you can shop, and with what
It’s easy to say that you can go online and shop til you drop. But what if you’re relying on PayPal to make your purchases? In Canada, you’ll only have a few sites available to you. Find something fabulous on Check and see if they have it there too. If not, you’re out of luck due to Amazon’s international shipping restrictions. That’s an important one, because all sites have their own shipping policies and many (many) American websites won’t ship to Canada. Also, if you’re planning on dipping into your HELOC to shop online, you need to make sure you can. Depending on how your’s is set up, that might be a possibility but that also may not always be the case, so check with your broker or lender.
Plan ahead, make a budget, and know how much you’re spending – those are the tricks to help you actually save money by shopping online, instead of spending more than you intended to.