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Smart Holiday Shopping Tips

It has been nearly two months since the Wall Street meltdown and the credit crunch shook up. Unemployment rate is up, consumer confidence is down… with all these negative news around us, it’s important to plan early and spend wisely. Here are some planning tips:

1. Plan early and have a shopping list.
It’s my own experience that if you write down your shopping list, it’s easier to stick within budget and not end up buying too much because of impulse purchase.

2. Do a product search online.
Do a quick search online through Google and Google Products. Learn your products, hear some reviews to help you decide whether it’s the appropriate gift for the intended recepient. Also learn the market price so as to help you know what is a fair price and spot a deal when you see it.

3. Consider substitute products
Is it absolutely necessary, and the only product that will work? Consider alternatives… Can you use an alternative product, or brand? Substitute may offer more bang for your bucks. For toy and school supplies, online stores such as cartoonfansclub and superbackpack offer easy to browse search function where you can easily shop and compare alternatives

4. Calculate the time wisely.
When doing your shopping online, check when can product ship, where it is shipping from… For example, most items sold online manufactured by Sports Coverage ship in 2 to 3 weeks from time of ordering. Make sure you allow enough time and order in advance.
Knowing the transit time will also help you determine the method of shipping so that you don’t overspend on shipping and still have your package ontime. Here is a valuable tool from Fedex that will help you determine the transit time

5. Consider the total cost of purchase and delivery
Many online payment services such as paypal and amazon payments offer special financing options. Knowing when you can pay them off will help you get a better picture of the overall cost. If you are buying the gift for someone located in a different location, where mailing is necessary. Compare the cost of shopping locally + mailing cost, vs the cost of shopping online. Most online stores these days offer a lower rate of shipping than what you would pay if you were to ship yourself. For example, amazon fulfilment items ship for free when qualified purchase is over $ 25.00. So if you can get an item for $ 25.00 at amazon with free shipping, and the same item in a local store for $ 20.00. Knowing item weighs 2.5 Lbs, Where would you spend your shopping dollars? (Assuming you have to pay $ 9.30 to mail it (flat rate box mail), then your cost of purchase would be $ 20.00 + local tax + 9.30 shipping)

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