Tips and Tricks

Online Holiday Shopping Tips

This time of year can be such a magical time, one filled with brightly coloured lights, festive song, lively decorations, and get-togethers of cheer. Yet, let’s draw some much-needed attention to another aspect of the holidays, the extra spending and added costs which seem to pop up at every turn. Because of this, the holidays can be one that’s also filled with panic, stress, and anxiety. 

We’ve solved a lot of that stress with the introduction of online holiday shopping. It’s much more relaxing to conveniently browse and shop from the comforts of home, without the chaos that is ‘stores’. This way you can decide the best time to shop, surrounded by the elements best suited to you – such as coffee in hand on a silent night, versus ‘Silent Night’ blasting over a speaker while others carts and people are bumping into yours and you. 

Online shopping is more popular than you may realize! A recent TD survey found that when it comes to purchasing gifts for loved ones, instead of battling the busy malls, more than seven out of 10 {72%} of Canadians surveyed do at least some of their holiday shopping online.

Perhaps online shopping is too comfortable though? While it may have great conveniences, there can also be the impulse to splurge and overspend when online shopping. The same TD survey found that over one-third {37%} of those surveyed, who do most of their holiday shopping online, are more likely to say they spend more than they would in store.

So while we Canadian love online shopping during the holidays, we do need some help in making sure it doesn’t get out of control. The following tips are some of my own, and some are from TD and Cathie Mostowyk, online shopping expert and president of Shoestring Shopping Guide Inc.

online holiday shopping tips

 
Online Holiday Shopping Tips:
 

  • Pick Your Price: Canadians love a good bargain. The TD survey found that 57% 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.
  • Make a Shopping List: Before you buy anything online, make a list of all the items to purchase, so you don’t get too click-happy. If you see an item which is not on your list, re-=evaluate that list, the money available, weigh how much that item is needed, and sit on the idea for a period of time. This cuts down on impulse buying. 
  • Organize Spending: Not simply a short list of items written down on a piece of scrap paper, why not try making a holiday spending spreadsheet with all required items so that you are fully prepared for the bulk of holiday expenses and can budget accordingly. Yes, write down the postage, wrapping paper, and even holiday travel. This way you know what to financially expect this season, and if you need to cut back on certain areas. Making a plan and tracking each purchase helps manage temptation. That way, there should be no surprises when you see your credit card bill at the end of the month.
  • 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. As well, download some frugal apps that price match and offer coupons toward purchases. 
  • Consider International Expenses: If you’re like the 39% 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.
  • Redeem Credit Card Loyalty Points – Using rewards points for your holiday gifts is one way you can help stay within your budget, while making buying gifts easier and giving yourself more time to spend with your loved ones this holiday season. The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* credit card offers redemption flexibility for not only travel but also name brand merchandise and gift cards.

When you plan what to buy, decide on a budget, and figure out the best place to make those purchases; you’ll definitely have a smoother sailing {and less expensive} holiday season. This time of year doesn’t need to come with as much chaos and bank-braking, with some diligence and organization to make you a savvy shopper.

Have any other online holiday shopping tips?

 

This is a compensated post on behalf of TD Canada. All opinions are my own.

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49 Comments

  1. My Christmas shopping is already done, but I will keep these tips in mind for next year 😉

  2. I love online shopping because its easier to find the best deals and it’s super convenient to have the goods delivered right to my door!

  3. We do online shopping a lot because I can get it mail to the person without me having to take a separate trip, but I do spend more than I originally think!

  4. I absolutely love online shopping because it is so much easier than hauling all 4 kids out to the stores. And we like to shop around for the best deals to save money. So with online shopping we can usually compare different retailers without wasting money on gas. And then we use shopping rebate websites to help us save even more money.

  5. I like doing online shopping & often find deals there, but I still prefer to do it in person if it’s a present for someone. Well, I prefer shopping in person if I can go alone. With the kids it generally ends up in chaos. I have some amazing little independent shops in my neighbourhood that are my go-tos for gift shopping. 🙂

  6. Online shopping does make it easier to get what you need. I don’t miss the crowds or having to spend hours searching different stores for 1 item.

  7. We shop online often. I hate the hassle of going shopping with all my kiddos especially around holidays. So I welcome all the online shopping tips!

  8. I like to use prepaid credit cards for online shopping. I load what my budget is and can shop without going over.

  9. These are great tips. I prefer online shopping to actually going out there in the traffic and crowds.

  10. Thank you for all these great tips. I always look for free shipping and use coupons whenever I can.

  11. Living in Alaska, online shopping is essential. Not a ton of shopping options up here! But mostly I love online shopping because I have three toddlers and store aren’t open late enough for me to go without babies!

  12. I love to shop online year round but especially at the holiday time!! These are great tips the hardest for me is staying with in the budget sometimes!

  13. I’m definitely going to try to cut costs by looking at shipping promotions. I need to look into using rewards points too.

  14. When shopping online before I finalize my order I always google to see if I could find a discount code.

    Make sure you shop around and look at prices! II save just about $100 buy shopping arround.

    I’m bying my granddaughter a car seat for Christmas, my daughter did the research and decided which car seat she wanted. first site I check the price is $209 but they want $64 for shipping with a discount of $10. (no stroe pick up) Second site I check 15 % but they want $65 for shipping, Third site I check the car seat with GST is $173 and no shipping cost.

  15. Great tips! I do love online shopping for the unique items and convenience of it – but that shipping and duty can make the purchase very much not worth it if you dont pay attention!

  16. I love using Amazon when they have the trail periods for Amazon Prime! You get free 2 day shipping during the trial period and they come up fairly often so you can cancel it well before you need to pay and rejoin when a new trial begins!

  17. Great read , i do some of my shopping online , as we are always last minute shoppers 🙂 thanks for sharing

  18. Online shopping is the best but I do agree you have to be careful to watch what you spend because it is very easy to get carried away. I also find it is really important to make sure you compare prices because online it not always cheaper.

  19. Great advice. Nothing is more than a let down after the holidays are over than to have a pile of bills to pay that you can’t afford.

  20. Having good internet security and shopping from home to make sure the wifi is safe is what I do. I try to follow deal blogs to get the hottest deals that are live.

  21. The sign up for savings tip is really smart. If I am shopping online by the time I’ve decided I’m usually in too much of a hurry to wait for the savings e-mails from the company.

  22. I try to do most of my shopping online for the holidays. It’s a lot easier to find exactly what you’re looking for and stay on budget. I take advantage of free shipping, and loyalty programs.

  23. I always spend more – usually at Think Geek because I forget the border crossing charge… never fails. I put in the cost for converting Canadian into American but forget the charge as the items cross the border! Unfortunately they have a lot of good things there so I stick to a list and try to get it all in one box.

    M

  24. I have not done much online shopping, but since moving to the wilds of the Kootenays I have had to rethink that. Thank you for the tips.

  25. I do on-line shopping for my grandson as he lives in Alberta and its easier but the rest i do in store. Some great information thank you

  26. These are all great tips. I always make a list for each person I’m buying for and then look for the best deals. Over spending in not a problem I have. I have seen too many others fall into that pit and no thanks!

  27. I don’t mind shopping online, I just don’t like buying clothes though, and other than the ease of online shopping, paying the shipping can get pretty costly too, but if you can’t find what your looking for in the stores, online is the way to go!!

  28. I love online shopping because I can do it from home in my pajamas! I find I get really good deals too. I always check out the online coupon sites for coupon codes before I check out which often saves me a bunch!

  29. Great tips! I try to make a list and stick to it.. easy to get carried away clicking on things to add to the cart!

  30. Yes, the only thing I don’t like about online shopping is paying for shipping. It makes me feel lazy, like I should have just gone to the store instead. That’s a good tip about buying everything at once for free shipping offers.

  31. Thanks for all the great shopping tips. You really do have to have a plan or else you can run into trouble and overspend. I admit I do love to online shop as it is so easy to do and it doesn’t take much to fill up your bag.

  32. Living with a disability i love that i can now shop online,its such a convenient to have the goods delivered right to my door! Thanks for the tips.

  33. I do lots of shopping online at this time of year! Thank you for sharing these tips!

  34. I also like ebates and then I get money back from my online purchases. Great tips. Following my list helps too, then I don’t forget something, this can add to extra unnecessary shipping charges.

  35. With our dollar so low this year, I am sticking to cdn online retailers for sure. Indigo is great for Christmas shopping and so is Amazon.ca

  36. I’ve only really become a convert to online shopping recently. I love well.ca, beyondtherack, and walmart.ca Mostly because they have free shipping over a certain price point, and I live in the middle of nowhere, so can’t always get to a big box store.

  37. I like online shopping and find I don’t splurge as much as when I am in store. I like to take my time and looks for best price. Get my airmiles work great too

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