Greetings Soldiers! Strap on your seat belts! We’re about to enter the most prolific shopping time of the year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are quickly approaching. We’ve got to have a plan of attack to make sure holes aren’t left in our wallets.
Long before you brave the isles of retail or browse online deals, you MUST have a spending plan. You’re about to (if not already) get hit with a barrage of marketing tactics that elicit all kinds of emotions. Set a budget and stick to it. Two simple tactics you can implement with regards to your holiday spending are using the envelope system and setting a gift budget for individual family members, friends, and co-workers.
Avoid The Use of Credit
Disclaimer: If you pay your credit cards in full every month, I’m not talking to you. However, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 38% of U.S. households have revolving monthly credit card debt. Credit card delinquencies are on the rise as well. DO NOT allow things like fear, ignorance, entitlement, and comparison to trick you into swiping the plastic this holiday season. Only buy what you can afford.
SaleCycle.com reported that online sales have risen to an astounding $453.46 billion dollars (16% growth). Make no mistake, crooks will be looking to get a piece of the pie. You can safeguard your online purchases by using secure payment services such as PayPal, Visa Checkout, and Masterpass by Mastercard. If you are shopping in person, consider using secure mobile payment/digital wallet services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Walmart Pay. Remember to keep your receipts in case of incorrect charges or returns as well as monitor your bank balance to double-check purchase transactions.
Use Trustworthy Websites
Be wary of retailers that don’t have a secure URL. Secure websites have “https” in the domain name rather than just “http.” Emails or online ads may promise great deals that are too good to be true in an effort to direct you to a scam disguised as a trusted retailer.
Look For Free Shipping
Besides sales tax (if applicable in your state or county), shipping can quickly drive up the cost of your purchases. Do comparative shopping. If two retailers offer the same product and price, let the tiebreaker go to free shipping. This will ensure you save money in addition to the discounted pricing you worked so hard to find.
The following retailers are providing FREE shipping this holiday season (courtesy of Clark.com)
*Image credit: Chelsea Glass / Clark.com*
Relatively breaking news from Amazon, NON-PRIME members will get free shipping on any order set to be delivered before Christmas.
Best Buy will be offering free shipping for the holidays as well as same-day delivery on select items.
Target will have free shipping for the holidays without a purchase threshold.
Walmart has had free shipping available for some time now, but will be expanding it to more product offerings for the holidays. Check for exclusions.
Soldiers, you’ve got your battle plan to succeed this holiday shopping season. What additional steps do you need to take to ensure smooth buying experiences? Manage well and shop well. Oorah!