SarahC at AT Chicago that might ease some of the pressures of shopping as the big day nears: For those who hate to deal with holiday crowds, online shopping is an attractive alternative. From your computer, you can collect a lot of information in a short amount of time, compare prices, and read product reviews at a glance. You also have to watch for scams, calculate shipping times, double check return policies, and keep an eye out for added fees. Click below for a few tips and tricks to help you navigate the web this holiday season...
Stick to reputable stores. If you haven't used or heard of a store before, verify their contact information and make sure they have a direct phone number with a real person at the other end of the line who you can call in case of problems. For online store recommendations from AT:Chicago, click here.
Keep a budget and stick to it. It can be tempting to overbuy online when a purchase can take place in seconds. Keep close track of what you've spent to avoid overdoing it.
Check return policies, return timelines, shipping costs, and find out what fees you'll have pay if you end up sending an item back.
Check the retailer's shipping timelines to make sure your gift will be delivered in time. The US Post Office also lists holiday deadlines for shipping on their site.
Consider buying vintage online. It's greener and often cheaper than buying new, and sites like eBay and Etsy have a wide selection of vintage goods.
Keep an eye out for online sales. We post many of them to our Sales Calendar, and sites like ShopStyle and ZingSale allow you to search for products by sale price.
Check the clearance rack. Like brick-and-mortar stores, most online shops have clearance sections with significant markdowns.
When shopping for electronics, you can often get better deals by buying refurbished. Stores such as Apple and Target feature refurbished sections on their sites.
Do you have other tips for online holiday shoppers? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Nicole and Brandon's Oak Park Bungalow