November is here and that means many of you will start (or finish) your holiday shopping. While you may head out to the stores to pick up some items, once in a while you can find better deals on line. But, before you start adding items to your cart, you might want to keep a few things in mind about not only how to stay safe, but also how to save money while doing so. Here are some of my holiday shopping tips:
Use only secure websites. To ensure that you are using a site that is secure, you should check to make sure you have one of the following:
- You should see an image of an unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window. If the key is not broken or the lock is open – then the page you are on at that time is not secure.
- When you are getting ready to enter your credit card information, make sure the web address says “https:” rather than “http:”
- You may also see the words “Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)” when you are entering the secure section on the website.
Shop with a credit card (vs. debit card). Yes, I preach all of the time about using cash and debit cards to shop. However, if you shop on-line it is better to use a credit card. The reason is that if someone steals your information, credit cards carry with them more options to dispute charges. In addition, if your card is stolen, they could only rack up charges on a credit card vs. wipe your checking or savings account clean.
Follow your gut. If the website seems sketchy or you are nervous about shopping on that website, then don’t. You can probably find the item on another site where you feel more secure.
Compare prices. There are several sites which offer the same products. Make sure that you do a little homework to check other sites’ pricing before you buy.
Watch for hidden charges. This time of year, many sites advertise “FREE SHIPPING!!!” However, when you get to checkout,you find you did not qualify as the offer was on purchases of $50 or more. Always read the fine print on offers before you try to redeem them.
Use on-line codes. One of my favorite sites to use use Retail Me Not. They have TONS of great on-line codes that you can use to apply to your purchases.
Use a rebate site to shop. My favorite rebate site to use is Ebates! You earn cash back on your purchases when you shop and when you reach $20 in your account, you can get an actual check mailed to you. Right now, they are also offering $10 gift card bonus once you make your first purchase after signing up. It is good to sign up now and then remember to use them all season long so you can get paid to shop!
Sign up for emails or trial shipping offers. Right now, there are two great ways to get free shipping. When you join Shoprunner, you can get free shipping for 30 days during your trial period. Amazon also offers Amazon Prime and if you have not had a trial membership with them within the past 13 months, you can get another one and try them for free for 30 days. Each of these sites charge $79 annually if you elect to continue the service. So, if you are not wanting to pay, make sure that you cancel before the trial period ends.
Of course, these are great tips, but the best way to save money and shop securely is to FOLLOW ME!!! I do all of this for you. I only share reliable and safe sites for you to use. I find the codes and some of the best deals. I even remind you about when to use that free shipping site or the rebate offer to save you even more!