It’s that time of year again when the retail stores are lusting after your hard earned money and you almost need a two-wheel dolly to lug all the weekly flyers into the house.  A lot of people dread shopping now and will do anything to avoid the crowds.

I have to admit that, personally, I like going to the mall.  I like seeing the displays and Christmas decorations and I like to browse and actually see the items I plan to purchase.  My sister-in-law usually has all her gifts bought and wrapped by the end of July, but I confess I’m one of those people that wait until the last week of December to do my Christmas shopping.

Every year I plan on getting a head start, but every year I always think I have plenty of time and then the month sneaks up on me and I have about one day to do all my gift shopping.  This is usually the coldest or stormiest day of the year, I have to park at least 2 kilometres from the mall, and all the stores are filled with crabby customers, whiny children and overwhelmed sales clerks – but I love it!

Christmas Shopping Online

A lot of people like to avoid this scenario and do their Christmas shopping online from the comfort of their own home or office (on your own time, please) anytime, day or night. They can take all the time need to think, compare, calculate – and have a relaxing drink at the same time.  This is not usually my thing, but there would be certain instances when it would appeal to me.

If I had to send a gift to someone in another city I would consider shopping online for the free (or low) shipping service some sites offer.  They can deliver within a couple of days.  Canada Post is outrageously expensive for parcel delivery, doesn’t guarantee a delivery date, and standing in a mile-long lineup in my heavy winter coat to get to the counter is not my idea of a good time.

Related: Save Money Shopping Online With Great Canadian Rebates

If I knew the exact item I wanted to purchase I would take advantage of comparison-shopping search engines such as NexTag.com or Bing.com.  These sites will give you a list of places the item is available along with prices.  You then can link directly to the online store and make your purchase.  Bing.com also has a cashback program that allows you to get discounts on products you’re purchasing.   This would save me from running all over the city when my time is at a premium.

Always remember to give your personal information only to secure sites.  Set a limit and stay within your budget – it’s easier to overspend when you’re just clicking a button.  Be patient – some days servers will be over taxed and there will be glitches.  Expect that.  And, check your credit card periodically (you can do this online) to check the balance and make sure there are no unauthorized charges.  Happy shopping!


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