This holiday season, Americans are skipping the malls and hitting their couches. A recent poll shows that more than seven out of ten shoppers in nearly every age bracket plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping online this season. Those figures represent a considerable jump from last year’s holiday season, when barely half of shoppers opted for online over physical stores.
In an era of masks and social distancing, online stores keep shoppers safe from COVID-19. But convenience is actually the top factor driving shoppers to their screens this year, not health factors, according to the poll.
Whatever your reason for online shopping, here are five tips to consider before you settle into your comfiest chair with a cup of hot chocolate, ready to shop and click:1. Chat up the customer service rep.
Human contact can make the experience friendlier for you and your wallet can benefit as well. Even though you’re shopping online, you can still call the toll-free number or engage in a live chat. The rep could well offer you an extra coupon or alert you to deals you may have missed, which could be a welcome dose of comfort and joy this holiday season.2. Quell impulse purchasing.
The Internet is no less tempting than a brick and mortar store for making purchases you hadn’t planned and really don’t need. In some ways, the temptation can be greater, because the purchase is between you, your laptop, and your credit card. There’s no one silently judging you in that aisle-long line. To keep expenses down, consider buying a gift card from the online retailer for a set amount and stick to it. And speaking of cards...
3. Get sweet rewards with cash back or other bonus credit cards.
I take an early winter three-day jaunt to Florida on my miles rewards from my designated holiday credit card. Just watch your spending and pay off your full balance each month to truly save. Rewards only have value on sensible purchases and when they're not offset by recurring interest.
4. Sign up for multiple offers.
Encourage other family members to sign up for emails from your favorite retailers. This can lead to extra coupons, free shipping, or other deals.
5. Leave items in your cart.
This is a pro trick from no less than Suze Orman, who knows a thing or two about dollars and cents. After a few days, retailers have been known to check in with you and even offer a deal to convince you to click “Place your order.’’ Plus this strategy gives you time to consider whether the purchase is impulsive versus inspirational.
Remember that the Internet never closes so there should be no reason to rush the process. Take your time and shop sensibly. Making judicious purchases can spread a sense of joy to the recipient and relief to the giver. And that’s truly a gift worth giving.
Earn more this holiday season with Hanscom FCU's CASH + REWARDS World Mastercard. With no annual fee, unlimited 1% cash back, and reward categories that suit your preferences, this card will let you do more with your money through the holidays and beyond.
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