The internet has made it quite convenient for people to shop online and many are making purchases from the comfort of their home versus trying to tango with traffic and mill through mall mobs for their one day every day deals and sales offers. Time is money and consumers are making good use of their time by spending online. While shopping online has many great advantages, like anything else, it has its downsides.
Below, weve compiled some of the best online shopping tips out there to help you avoid any online headaches when making your holiday purchases. Follow these guidelines and you may just end of saving more time and money.
ONE: Cater to credit and discard the debit. Using your debit card may seem more convenient and thrifty, avoiding creditor fees, etc but many banks are now assessing more fees to debit card charges than the difference youd pay in interest. More importantly, should you become a victim of identity theft your entire bank account could be drained using a debit card vs a credit card. Also, banks have made it more difficult to recover funds from debit fraud than credit card disputes.
TWO: Trace your transactions. Most online purchases provide a print option from the purchase confirmation page. This is a great tool if everyone had a printer, ink cartridges were half the price of a new printer, and or we wernt conservatively trying to save the planet. A better option is to take a screen shot of the confirmation page and email it to yourself, creating a folder on your desktop or in your email account labeled receipts. This is also ideal to do with your monthly bill pays. Ever so often an online payment may not have ‘processed’ and creditors are quick to hit you with a feee. If you screenshot and document all your online transactions you’re creating an E-trail to reference should something arise later regarding your purchases or payments.
THREE: Watch UR URLs. Number one / if you receive an email from an unknown source asking you to click through delete it. Delete it and permanently delete it. Most viruses are spread by email. Some gimmick about some fantastic deal that weve all fallen for. Along with email there any many phantom sites that mirror legitimate sites to make people think their on the official page and BAM! You’ve voluntarily given all your payment information to a hacker. Most of the bogus emails we mentioned earlier are directed to sites like these. You can identify these bogus bad boys by checking the url at the top (the web address). If it says http:target.com/sales/567/ghuytns%?wef or has sort or weird extension- get out of there asap. Also, you can indentify a secured page versus a non-secured page by checking the http at the beginning of the url. A secured page will have the http with an s, like https:// this ensures the information youre submitting is on a page protected page.
FOUR: Shop shipping and service fees. Surprisingly enough, some sites will allow you to make your purchase and enter your shipping details in anticipation of a swift delivery while they do not physically have the item in stock. They could also be a middle man with better online presence and have to order from the manufacturer as orders come in. This can really slow down your delivery and are often the case when you hear those horror stories of kids not getting their presents xmas day…not that its all about the presents right? ….Anyway, make sure the item youre purchasing is ‘in stock’. Look for shipping guarantees and read their policies. Skim the policy if you must but get the main points before clicking their buy now buttons. Become knowledgeable of their return policies and all their fees too. Sometimes the shipping and handling fees outweigh the savings you could have gotten going to the store yourself.
FIVE: Spend your dime on your time. Please…don’t shop online while youre at work. Its bad enough were all face-booking during business hours and writing it off as –company networking- hogwash. Those employed should be very thankful to be in such a position as the current state of the economy plummets while unemployment rises. Losing your job and income because you were spending it at an inappropriate time is somewhat of an oxymoron. The movie Friday comes to mind…How ya gonna lose your job on your day off?! Keep the income coming and spend your dime on your own time.
Remember to always budget before buying. Know what you have to spend in accordance with your regular monthly bills. With proper money management you can easily avoid going overboard for the holidays and falling behind. For a free budget counseling session call one of our certified credit counselors 800.905.1563 and learn even more effective ways you can save money and be debt free with Freedom Debt Management. We are a non-profit financial counseling organization rated A+ by the BBB for educating America and helping people become debt free.