How to buy online – Part IV: preparing for some holiday shopping

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Whether you’re an online shopping aficionado or prefer going to the store, you should be preparing for some holiday shopping by now. At least, if you want to save some money while doing it.

The best and most important advice anyone can give about this is: plan, plan, plan! You need to know, first and foremost, a couple of things:
– how many people you’re getting presents this year;
– how much are you willing to spend per person and in total;
– how much time you have to spend browsing for deals.


Making a gift checklist

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I’ve been doing a gift list for many years now, and it always helps to see all the ideas on paper. I normally use a piece of paper and just write the names, gifts ideas and price, but I browsed online for some printables for those of you just starting to get organized. Believe me, it helps seeing what you are looking for and checking it once you found it.

This one is from aHolidayHaven.com and it’s the simplest, best one I found. A great start.

So, now that you have your list, what should you do next? Compare prices. Go online, to Google even, and just search the product you’re looking for. Browse the online shops and see where it’s cheaper. It is that easy.


Upcoming sales events

Be aware that since November 1st, after Halloween, all the retail world is in Holiday-mode and is sending out promotional emails with lots of discounts and sales events. If you don’t receive these emails, you can also browse the stores websites for the current sales (and some of them even have promos on future sales).

Also, there’s the biggest retail sales event coming up: the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For those of you that don’t know what this is “Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online.” They used to be only on the day after Thanksgiving and the Monday after that. But now they’re expanding and there are already some pre-Black Friday deals in some online shops. Don’t be fooled: the best deals are still on these days. But some of you may not be interested in fighting over a product just because it has 60% off. My favorite of these two is definitely Cyber Monday, and last year I took advantage of it in some stores to buy my family some really discounted gifts. This year Black Friday is Nov 23 and Cyber Monday is Nov 26. Only a couple of weeks away!


Talking budgets

Specially in big sales events like Black Friday, you need to have a budget.
There are some really good deals out there and you will be tempted and may end up buying things you really didn’t need just because they’re half-off or more. I’ll repeat what should be your mantra this season: Plan, Plan, Plan!
Define a budget and stick to it. If you want to, define a grey area for your budget, but stick to it. I only advise you to define a grey area if you really can afford it. If you can, if your budget is $100, you may be able to add $20 extra for your grey area. But if you do, this should be seen as your “emergency budget”, and should only be spent in something you really need. It shouldn’t be more than 20% of your original budget.

If you plan your holiday shopping, I’m sure you will be able to save some money. And all of these tips that I shared with you for this seasonal shopping can really be applied to your everyday life the rest of the year if you want to. We plan our grocery shopping list and I check the flyers of the supermarkets that we have closer to us to see where the products on our list are cheaper. And if you do this on a regular basis, it will become just a part of your thinking. You will be more aware of deals and ways to save. We don’t have the possibility to go couponing here in Portugal – we don’t have that – so we need to be smart while shopping.

I hope this 4-part Online Shopping Series was helpful to you! See you again tomorrow!

Check out the entire series and share with your friends!
– How to buy online – Part I: safety tips and tricks
– How to buy online – Part II: saving as much as you can
– How to buy online – Part III: my favorite websites to save

 

Sofia @ Something on Everything

I'm a 32 year old Portuguese Psychomotricist / Early Intervention Specialist that loves to write about everything! Here you'll find a lot of different and great topics, but lately I've been loving to write about Food, Fitness and DIY! Hope you enjoy it and follow me on a journey to a better self! Aside from the social media links on the top of the page, you can also connect with Sofia Linha on:Google+