If you ask any kid, holiday gift giving is what makes Christmas the best holiday EVER. If you ask any parent, it is what makes it the most stressful holiday EVER. Determining who is on the Christmas list and how much to spend can have even the most festive person yelling “Bah Humbug!” Thankfully, keeping your holiday spirit can be done.
One thing I’m doing differently this year is purchasing more of my presents online. Much of my family lives in the US so buying online and direct shipping is easier. Unfortunately, buying online can add up quick and you can overspend if you don’t be careful. I know I’m not alone because a recent survey by TD Canada showed that one-third (37 per cent) of those surveyed who do most of their holiday shopping online are more likely to say they spend more than they would in store. Eep. That can lead to a nasty surprise come January!
Here are some great online shopping tips from Cathie Mostowyk, online shopping expert and president of Shoestring Shopping Guide Inc:
- Pick your price: Canadians love a good bargain. The TD survey found that 57 per cent of Canadians surveyed shop online looking for better pricing. You can use online shopping to compare prices so you can help ensure you get the best deal without having to face a crowded mall.
- Sign up for savings: Sign up with your favourite retailers for their email updates. They often send out information about upcoming sales, or special pricing and offers for their subscribers.
- Consider international expenses: If you’re like the 39 per cent of Canadians who shop online for the ability to shop with international retailers, make sure you factor in duty taxes, exchange rates, and consider the return shipping costs, as those costs can quickly add up.
- Cut shipping costs: Many stores offer reduced or even free shipping with a minimum dollar amount spent. Think about how many people you can cross off your list from one retailer – it can help save you time and money.
All of these are great tips that I use often. I watch for online sales at my favorite retailers. I also have accounts on US sites that allow it so that I can ship to my family there without paying shipping, duty or getting hit with conversion costs. It saves me a TON over buying things in Canada and shipping them myself.
Another tip – Go into your online banking daily during the holidays to keep track of what you have spent. It helps you keep yourself in check, manage temptation and it means you won’t get a nasty surprise when you get your credit card statement. Also remember that there is NO RULE saying that you can’t pay your credit card bill more than once per month. I often do that because it means that I know when to stop and I spend less.
And last but not least – Redeem your credit card loyalty points for your holiday gifts. It’s a great way to stay within your budget, while making buying gifts easier and giving yourself more time to spend with your loved ones this holiday season. For example, The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* credit card offers redemption flexibility for not only travel but also name brand merchandise and gift cards.
What is your favourite tip to ensure that you don’t overspend this holiday season?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by TD Canada. As always, all opinions are my own.