There’s a general theme I hear from women when discussing holiday shopping. We buy too much. We lose track of our purchases. We spend more than we intended. I know I’m guilty of it, and when I do a gift inventory I often find that I haven’t kept things very even between my children. Then I need to set gifts aside or go out and shop some more. Of course, I can also order more gifts from my laptop.
Online shopping has gained popularity over the years. In fact, a recent TD survey found that 72 per cent of Canadians are doing at least some of their holiday shopping online. Shopping from the comfort of your home is certainly easier than risking icy roads and weaving through malls! Online shopping generally requires your purchases be made with a credit card, and it can also lead to overspending.
If you are using a credit card for your holiday purchases, planning is very important. Set a budget and track your purchases as you go to avoid surprises when the bill comes. You can stretch your dollar further by redeeming loyalty points from your credit cards to cross some items off of your holiday list. The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* credit card offers redemption flexibility for not only travel but also name brand merchandise and gift cards.
Holiday Shopping Advice
TD bank and Cathie Mostowyk, online shopping expert and president of Shoestring Shopping Guide Inc., has some tips for practical holiday shopping:
- Pick your price: Canadians love a good bargain. The TD survey found that 57 per cent of Canadians surveyed shop online looking for better pricing. You can use online shopping to compare prices so you can help ensure you get the best deal without having to face a crowded mall.
- Sign up for savings: Sign up with your favourite retailers for their email updates. They often send out information about upcoming sales, or special pricing and offers for their subscribers.
- Consider international expenses: If you’re like the 39 per cent of Canadians who shop online for the ability to shop with international retailers, make sure you factor in duty taxes, exchange rates, and consider the return shipping costs, as those costs can quickly add up.
- Cut shipping costs: Many stores offer reduced or even free shipping with a minimum dollar amount spent. Think about how many people you can cross off your list from one retailer – it can help save you time and money.
My own suggestion is to shop close to Christmas. I know the recommendation is usually to start your shopping early, and I definitely recommend setting the money aside earlier in the year, but shopping too soon can add to overspending. In my case it also means that gifts are purchased and forgotten! Last year I ended up buying the same book set twice! Thankfully I had two readers who would enjoy it.
For more information, tools and resources on budgeting, visit: www.tdcanadatrust.com.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.