Friday, December 5, 2008

Online Shopping Tips and Tricks on A Budget


Though some say that the economy is rapidly deteriorating the good news is that the spirit of Christmas is alive and well. The good news is, it isn't stopping parents from shopping for their kids' this holiday season. This is definitely great news for keeping Santa employed and the kids (okay and retailers) happy!

However, this holiday season I thought I would try something a little different and actually set-up a holiday-shopping budget so I don't wind up overspending. This year I have found that the ease of shopping for gifts online has been a great option for this Rookie Mom when it comes to looking to save both money and time. I can shop in my jammers, I can get it done while on the road and most importantly I do not have to worry about hauling Cookie all over town.

So for this chilly Friday, I thought I would share some helpful online shopping tips for parents looking to get the most for their money this holiday season.

Comparison Shopping:
Take advantage of price comparison websites this holiday season. Websites like Price Grabber, Bizrate or Nextag allow consumers to search for whatever type of product they are looking for. For instance, let's say you’re looking for the KidKraft Savannah Dollhouse. Go onto Price Grabber and search for the product you are looking for. Price Grabber compiles a list of online retailers that sell the dollhouse, telling you how much it costs at each site, plus any additional charges. Now you can shop around from the convenience of your own home!

Smart Searching:
Websites like SearchPerks and Scour reward consumers for using that particular site, by offering prizes or discounts on purchases. For instance, MSN's SearchPerks rewards visitors that use MSN's Live Search search engine with "tickets" that can be redeemed for prizes. You can earn up to 25 tickets per day - the more you accumulate, the bigger your prizes. 4500 tickets, for instance, earns you an XBox 360 Wireless controller, which retails for $50! In order to take advantage of these great deals, you must register by December 31st, so hurry! Scour is a social search engine that rewards its users with points redeemable for $25 VISA gift cards. By searching, voting, commenting and referring friends, users can see big savings! Search for everything from ride-on vehicles, video games and play kitchen sets! It's fun and rewarding!

Shop With E-Coupons:
E-coupons are becoming a huge business these days. This definitely has its share of positives and negatives. The most obvious positive is the chance for consumers to save big money! using sites like CouponMountain, FatWallet, CurrentCodes and FreeShipping - shoppers can print coupons for top retailers across the country. The negative associated with these coupon sites is whether or not all of the coupons are legitimate. Retailers have been cracking down on counterfeit online coupon scams - with some stores not even accepting them at all. If you're wary of these big coupon sites, check out toy circulars that you receive in the mail - many have coupons that are redeemable online!

Quality, Quality, Quality:
Don't buy a toy just because it's cheap! [Needless to say I learned this the hard way.] You should be looking for high quality toys for your kids. Read product reviews on sites like Amazon, and ePinions. Chances are if other parents have problems with certain products, you will too. Look for products that are made from high quality, non toxic materials. Natural wood toys made from sustainably harvested hardwood and plastic toys that are PVC-free are all safe bets. It's important that you get into the habit of reading labels - just as you would in a grocery store! Also, check out Recalls.gov for all the latest info on toy recalls.

If you are anything like this Rookie Mom and dread the thought of enduring a busy mall during the holidays you find yourself looking for your straight jacket. [Yes, ever Mother should have one if only in their minds] But this year I will not fear the stress of last minute shopping because the Internet is here!

So kick back, grab a class of eggnog and snuggle up to your favorite Internet browser and list of websites. Before you know it you may just reduce your holiday shopping nerves, and fattened up your wallet with the online holiday savings deals you will find!


Cheers to online Holiday Shopping and the deals to be made!


2 comments:

practicalfocus said...

I find the web site http://www.buyvenue.com to be a great help when I want to shop online and find best products at best prices.

This free access site (with no advertising clutter—how refreshing!) points to the most competitive price comparison sites and retailers, helpful product reviews, pre-owned merchandise, discounts, coupons and freebies, with lots of direct links to practical time and money saving consumer information and advice.

I highly recommend this educational and informative site for anyone who wants to learn how to save money!

comparison shopping said...

i say, don't just go on a comparison shopping engine like shopzilla. you should compare the comparison engines. non of them have EVERY merchant listed, shopzilla might have store x, y, and z. but pricegrabber will have stores x, y, z, and w. Or visa versa. you know?