Holiday shopping will look a little different in 2020, with many people opting to stay at home and shop online rather than heading out to a crowded shopping mall. Indeed, we’re already seeing record numbers of online spending. In the first few weeks of November alone, shoppers shelled out around $21.7 billion online – representing a 21% jump over last year’s figures.
While online holiday shopping can be more convenient than hitting the shops in-person, it can also be surprisingly time-consuming and even exhausting to scour the web for the best deals – and surprisingly easy to spend more than you meant to, without the visual cue of a full shopping cart at your side.
To help you shop smartly and stay on budget, check out these top tips for online holiday shopping. They’ll help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list while also saving money, so you can get back to more enjoyable wintertime pursuits like watching your favorite holiday film with a cup of hot cocoa.
Get Rewards With a Shopping App
If you haven’t yet explored all the great shopping apps available, now is the time to get started! There are tons of great apps that partner with clothing brands, entertainment companies, food businesses and so on to get you access to coupons, vouchers, discounts and cash back deals from a huge range of retailers. Ibotta, which offers cash back from hundreds of stores and brands when you shop via the Ibotta phone app or with a desktop browser, is a great place to start. As always when it comes to shopping rewards, build a budget first so that you’re not spending above your means just to nab a special offer. With a budget in hand and the right rewards app, you can keep your spending in check while also enjoying some truly great offers.
Look for Delivery and Pickup Deals
A large part of holiday spending often comes down to food, drinks, napkins and all the other grocery store staples you need to make a celebration special. This year, many supermarkets are offering delivery or curbside pickup for the very first time – and they’ve also got special offers and discounts to promote these services to people who might be uncertain about using them. See what’s available from grocery stores in your area. Along with potentially saving you money, shopping for groceries online has the added benefit of reducing impulse purchases because you’re more likely to stick to your list and only buy the goods you really need, rather than something tempting you spied in the checkout line.
Shop With the Right Credit Card
Making your festive purchases online keeps cash out of the holiday shopping equation, which can actually be a good thing if you’re trying to stick to a budget, track spending, and pick up some rewards along the way. Choose a credit card with perks, like the HUECU Platinum Rewards Mastercard that offers 3x cash back on gas, 2x cash back on groceries, and 1x cash back on everything else. It’s also important to have a card with robust fraud protection that keeps you safe from unauthorized use of your card online. This is especially true around the holidays, when many fraudsters are on the lookout for new online shoppers to target.
Don’t Settle for the First Price
For big-ticket items like furniture, electronics or anything else that will account for a significant portion of your holiday shopping budget, try this method of online shopping – first shop for the perfect item, and then shop for the perfect price. You’ll usually find that the first place you saw the item isn’t actually the cheapest place it’s available. Google is your best friend in the pursuit to find the best price, but it’s also a good idea to look around on local secondhand shopping sites or even to reach out on a community message board. Often, you’ll find that someone is selling the exact product you want or something similar, for a price that’s far below what you’d pay to purchase it new.
Hunt for Coupons
Clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper is a holiday shopping tradition for many, but when you’re doing your holiday shopping online, you’ll have to get a little more creative. Whenever you find a product you like, Google around and see if the merchant has any coupon codes. You can also find coupon codes on community messages boards or social media, so ask around and see what’s available. Many merchants also offer discounts of 10-15% to new customers, so take advantage of that – and if you’ve already used your new customer code, it might be possible to register again with your work email or the email of a family member, so you can nab another discount.