If you feel like the holiday season is spreading your time and money thinner than usual, you're not alone.
Each year, more and more consumers turn to online shopping instead of visiting bricks-and-mortar stores, and it's easy to see why. In the digital age, there are countless tools to make the yearly ritual easier than ever. With an emphasis on smartphone usage for a variety of tasks, consumers are craving convenience and a simple user-friendly experience when shopping for the holidays.
Use retailer websites to shop
With most retailers having higher quality e-commerce sites, shopping for gifts can be quicker than an in-person visit. From November to December, shopping malls will be crowded with families searching for the latest and greatest presents. To avoid the hassle of having to deal with long lines, tough crowds and having to travel in general, retailer websites can make it possible for you to buy items from the comfort of your couch.
You can even shop for gifts 24/7 as the online store never closes. With less daylight during the colder months, it's easy to be dissuaded from doing the shopping until the last minute. However, it's easier to find time to do the shopping when you can peruse deals from your mobile device or laptop. Along with having the option to receive deals for retail stores on the web, you can utilize coupon extensions when you’re shopping on your desktop. These are easily downloadable and automatically apply the most useful discount to your payment information at checkout. These tools can limit any confusion you may have on which coupons the retail stores are currently running, reduce the number of paper coupons you have to track and eliminates the process of typing in a discount code manually.
Online shopping also means you can have a wider selection of goods. Without the restraints of shelving space, retailers can offer more variations, brands and even more exclusive products that you may not find at the mall. There is no need for you to wander the aisles looking for your item to discover that it's out of stock. Instead, you can take your time to browse through their website and find the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
In fact, you can typically find lower prices online than in a brick-and-mortar location. Since running an online store is typically cheaper than having a physical one, most retailers will pass the savings onto their customers.
Bonus tip: when you order directly from the retailer, you can use available coupon codes or discounts that apply to online purchases and aren't available in-store.
Compare prices with online tools
Similarly, you can use digital comparison tools to find the best sales and discounts. Websites like PriceGrabber can help you sort through the hundreds of retailers offering the same product and find the best price. Like the digital coupon platforms, there is also a downloadable browser extension for this type of service that instantly searches for applicable coupons that offer the best deals at the moment of purchase.
Most online sites have email alerts that allow you to monitor certain products or upcoming sales events too! You can even get exclusive discounts or holiday offers when you become a loyalty member. Signing up to become a loyalty member requires some personal information in relation to your personal finances and identification. These tools not only save you money but also the time needed to scroll through websites hunting for the best prices or coupons. This can most certainly come in handy when you’re shopping for multiple people during the holiday season as you’ll be saving a lot of time and stress from tracking an assortment of discount opportunities.
Track your finances digitally
Unfortunately, with all of the online shopping you have been tasked to complete, it's easy to overspend on gifts for your family members and closest friends. Your bank account totals can quickly dwindle without you realizing it, and you could suddenly find yourself in a financial pitfall. To prevent this headache, use a bank account with overdraft protection and real-time text alerts to help you keep an eye on your balances throughout you’re time shopping. This way, you can always see how much you are spending in real-time and avoid paying unnecessary fees during the process.
Creating a holiday budget can limit how much you are spending as well. Before you sit down to shop, create a list of everyone you want to buy for and how much you want to spend on each gift. Online tools like Schwab's Moneywise can help you track your monthly habits. Most likely, your smartphone will be attached to your hip while buying gifts, so having a resource that is as timely as this one can make budgeting a hassle-free approach to your holiday shopping success this year. Not only do online budgeting apps keep you organized, but they can also help save a tremendous amount of money this holiday season.
Take advantage of free shipping
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you are getting free shipping on all your orders. Most retailers offer free shipping if you order within a certain time frame or a specific amount of items, but you can also look for available coupon codes at FreeShipping.org to complete your order without a delivery fee. If you complete your shopping and realize you are in need of a few more items to hit the free shipping threshold, consider shopping ahead of time for presents for upcoming birthdays or anniversaries.
You can also have gifts directly sent to the recipient without a trip to the local post office. Or if you are travelling for the holidays, sending gifts ahead of time can save valuable suitcase space. You can even have the present gift-wrapped ahead of time by the retailer so that your gifts still have that personal touch.
By going digital this holiday season, you can save yourself dollars and minutes spent on shopping for gifts for your loved ones. Avoid the hassle of the yearly mall visit, and stay home and shop from your favourite armchair.