Financial Shopping Tips Around the Holidays
As you prepare to cross your loved ones off your gift list this holiday season, have you given thought to your shopping plan? Here are some tips on how to shop efficiently, effectively and safely this holiday season.
Shop Small Businesses
While many of the retail giants dominate the advertising spaces during the holiday shopping season, make sure to stop by your local small businesses. They may have a unique item you have been searching for, a customizable option or something you did not think of, altogether. There will be no concerns of shipping delays as you can take your purchases home with you that day, ready to be wrapped. You also achieve the added satisfaction of knowing your money is helping a local business owner in your community.
Consider Shipping Delays
Supply chain issues have been a major topic of discussion in recent months. Add in the notoriously busy holiday season, and you could be in for some shipping or supply delays. If you are traditionally a last-minute shopper, 2021 may be the year for you to break that habit. Start shopping early to ensure all your gifts arrive on time.
Cut Back on Shipping Costs by Buying at Once
If you choose to do your shopping online, try to limit the amount of times and places you purchase. Most online retailers set their shipping pricing structure on a per item or per cost basis, so if you buy multiple times, you could set yourself up for unnecessary shipping costs. Some retailers even offer free shipping if your purchases meet a certain threshold, so make sure to take advantage of that.
Do Your Research Before You Buy
Before making your purchases, particularly on big-ticket items, be sure to shop around first. That way, you can be certain you are getting the best deal. Some retailers mention sales ahead of time and others offer price matches if presented with a valid competitor’s price. Just a small amount of research will guarantee you don’t pay more for the same item.
Establish a Budget
The holiday spirit can be contagious and before you know it, you may have added more to your credit card bill than you anticipated. To avoid unnecessary spending, create a list for everyone you plan to shop for and set a budget either per person or as a grand total. That way, you can stay within your means and enjoy the festivities without the post-holiday sticker shock.
When you do your online shopping, it is best to keep in mind your usual cybersecurity measures. Only shop while on a secure Wi-Fi connection that you trust, put your card controls on and stay cognizant of your accounts so no fraudulent charges go unnoticed. It is also smart to only shop from domains and companies you can trust and verify. This is the best way to be certain you are buying only for your friends and family, and not an opportunistic hacker.
Shopping, whether in person or online, can cause stress during the holiday season. By staying safe, having a plan and knowing where and when to shop, you can avoid any headaches that may occur.
By: Michael Quirk
Michael Quirk is the communications coordinator for Ameris Bank. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Katy, and their two dogs. He enjoys running, playing fetch with his golden retriever and watching any sports that come across the TV.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.