Money worries can add stress to the Holidays. So what can you do when there’s tons of shopping to do? First of all, you need to create a realistic budget for your holiday shopping. The holidays are about love and family, so don’t feel like you have to go into debt just to be able to afford expensive gifts. Put together a budget you’re comfortable with.
Next, make a list of each and every gift you need, where you need to get it, etc. You can also avoid stress by planning when you shop. Can you shop on the weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds? If possible, use the weekends for family time as opposed to shopping time!
Here are more tips to help you shop wisely over the holidays.
Get the Best Deal
1. Compare prices. Look for price-matching policies. Some merchants will match, or even beat, their competitors' prices. Read the merchant's pricing policy carefully. It may not apply to all items. Go online to check out internet sites that compare prices for items offered online.
2. Check shipping and handling fees. Don't forget to factor these into the cost of the order and choose the delivery option that best meets your needs and budget.
Order early to allow plenty of time for shipment and delivery.
3. Do your research. Ask family, friends or co-workers for recommendations on retailers, whether online or offline. Some items like jewelry can be expensive. The cost of jewelry depends a lot on the type of piece it is. Familiarize yourself with some key terms before you shop, for example, "natural," "laboratory-created," "imitation," "gold," "gold-plated." These can make big cost differences.
Know Your Rights
1. Can you get your money back? Check out refund and return policies before you buy.
2. Read the fine print. When shopping online, sometimes key restrictions on a sale are contained in the "fine print" on a website. Take some time to click on any hyperlinks leading to warranty or rebate information, additional costs, or other key information you should know about before you buy online. Check around the site since this information may be buried under a general link, for example under "Terms and Conditions."
3. Review warranties. Many high-tech gadgets and appliances come with warranties. You have the right to review a warranty before you purchase a product. For warranty information online, look for hyperlinks leading to the full warranty, or to an address where you can obtain a free copy. Reading the warranty before you buy can help you understand exactly what protection you'll get should something go wrong later. If a copy of the warranty is available online, print it out when you make your purchase and keep it with your records.
Keep Good Records
1. Track your purchases. Keep printouts of the web pages with details about the transaction, including any warranties, or return and refund policies if you're not satisfied. If shopping by telephone or catalog, keep records of your order: the company's name, address and phone number; the date of your order; a copy of the order form you sent to the company or a list of the items ordered and their stock codes, the order confirmation codes and the ad or catalog from which you ordered.
2. Keep receipts. You may need them to return an item or to reconcile your credit card statement. Ask for gift receipts to include with your gift.
(Information provided by the Federal Trade Commission. All Rights Reserved)