How to Shop for Christmas Gifts Online

Shopping online is fast, convenient, and can even save you money. So, is it any surprise that millions of customers will avoid the queues this year to shop for gifts from the comfort of their own homes? However, it’s easy to go overboard and forget you’re spending “real money” when you shop online, so it’s important to get organized in advance and know what you’re looking for.

There are hundreds of rewards to reap and deals to be found at this time of year; you just need to know where to look. To help you save money and reduce stress this Christmas, here are four tips to help you shop for gifts online.

Work Out What You Can Afford

Before you set yourself loose on the Internet, you need to work out a realistic budget that won’t leave you high and dry come January. Christmas isn’t an emergency, so don’t rely on credit cards to get you through. If you must borrow for Christmas, make sure you get a 0% card, so you’re not piling interest on to your repayments. Remember: don’t agree to buy gifts or attend parties you can’t afford, and suggest a Secret Santa with friends or family if funds are tight. Look for budget-friendly gift ideas to fit your budget.

Look Out for Reward Schemes

Some banks will give you cash rewards for switching accounts, and using a rewards card could earn you gift vouchers for online stores like Amazon or even airline and hotel loyalty points. Collect every coupon you can find and look out for genuine deals. It’s a good idea to raid your email inbox too, as companies tend to offer more promotions at this time of year. Only take up these offers if you planned to spend on the site anyway – if you follow every promise of a “great deal,” you’ll end up spending more.

Know the Best Times to Shop

If you’re a savvy Christmas gift-buyer, you’ll know that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the season. Some of the larger online retailers like Amazon offer promotions over the whole weekend, so wait until November 28th-30th to buy any pricey toys or electrical items, as these can be marked down by as much as 50-75%. Although you might be hesitant to leave your gift-buying to the last minute, December 21st-24th is also a great time to find bargains, as merchants offer significant discounts on premium items they want to shift before the big day.

Stay Safe Online

With the stress of the Christmas countdown, it’s easy to forget basic online safety practices, but hackers can access your card data and personal information, just by getting you to click an unsecured link. To lower your risk of a cyber attack, always use certified websites, and make sure you shop on sites that provide a secure payment gateway. A payment gateway transfers information between payment portals using encrypted technology to protect your data and ensure your transaction is legitimate. If in doubt, always look out for websites beginning “https” rather than “http” as this means the site’s transactions are secure.

Shopping online is an economical way to buy gifts this season, but make sure you only buy what you can afford, stay safe online, and look out for reward schemes and promotions to save yourself big bucks.

Jesse Fin
 

Jesse worked as a journalist for a large tv station in Korea in her past life. She now works full time at home as a blogger and loves to help her friends manage their personal budgets.

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