Happy November!

With Thanksgiving and Halloween behind us, retail stores seem to have transformed to a winter wonderland of gifts overnight. I got you covered for gift giving galore without even having to leave the comfort of your room.

How you ask?

ONLINE SHOPPING!

I absolutely love online shopping! While there may be fear of credit card theft, many online websites provide a secure check-out module to protect your privacy. Think about it: Buying gifts for all of your loved ones while enjoying your favourite show on Netflix and drinking a nice big cup of coffee. No worrying about whether your specific location still carries what you are looking for. No worrying about long lineups. No worrying about finding a babysitter while you do your shopping. Bye-bye stress! Gifts buying is at the tips of your fingers…literally. You just have to check out and wait for your items to be shipped and delivered.

Here are a few tips on getting the most out of your online holiday shopping this year!

  • Using cash-back websites, such as Ebates, will provide you with some money back while buying gifts for others. No matter what you are looking for, Ebates is bound to have a featured shop that will cater to your liking, while providing you with some cash-back for shopping. Quarterly, Ebates sends you checks to your home with your cash-back amount (with a minimum “Big Fat Check balance of $5). If your balance is less than $5, they save your balance for the next check quarter until you have $5+ to mail in a check. Ebates features websites such as Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Best Buy, Groupon, Chapters Indigo, eBay, etc. Ebates also informs you of special deals and discounts for online stores. [http://www.ebates.com]
  • Take Advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When shopping Black Friday sales online, you do not have to wake up early to stand in lines for hours with cranky other people who woke up early as well. Many online stores also have a whole weekend sale from Black Friday to Cyber Monday or a whole 7 day online sale. This year, Black Friday is on November 27, 2015 and Cyber Monday is November 30, 2015.
  • Use Coupon Codes. Much of the time, if you Google “[Store Name] Coupon Code [month/year]” you will be able to find a coupon code to use on the online website. Googling this will also provide you with current specials and general sales for that store.
  • Browse Before You Buy. One of the perks you have with online shopping is the ability to price-match side-by-side. Online, you can look at multiple stores with the same item at the same time. Here, you are able to see which store has the lowest prices for the gift you are looking for. It is important to check shipping prices and include that in your overall price-match, as well. An item could be $20 at one store, and $25 at another store; but if the $20 item has a $15 shipping fee and the $25 item has free shipping, the seemingly cheaper $20 item is still more expensive when shipping is taken into account.
  • Find Free Shipping. When shopping online, make sure you check websites to see if they have free shipping if you spend a certain amount. This is very beneficial if you plan on buying a lot of things from a particular store. For example, at Chapters Indigo, you get free shipping if you spend $25 or more. This really takes a load off of your shoulders if you know you have a couple books, for example, you need to purchase for gifts. If you shop Canadian stores or stores with warehouses located within Canada, you are bound to find cheaper shipping.
  • Gift wrap options. Some websites will wrap gifts for you, for an additional price. If you really dislike gift wrapping things, it can be done for you.
  • Ship Gifts. Have family that lives far away but still want to get them a gift? There are many shops that will ship the items you have purchased to an alternative address. This way, you can give gifts without worrying about packaging it up and paying for mailing prices. If you choose a website with free shipping, you basically save money on shipping gifts instead of mailing them yourself.

I hope these online shopping tips take a few burdens off of your shoulders this holiday season.

About the Author

Jennifer Liwanag is a fourth year Legal Studies student minoring in Communications & Digital Media Studies at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. While her childhood dream has been to pursue law, she has an undying love for writing, creativity, discovering new gadgets and learning new software. You can keep up to date with her digital and creative lifestyle on her personal blog (www.jennibearrxo.com/) where she shares her new favourite gadgets and crafty projects.