In the lead up to Christmas we often have to spend evenings, weekends and valuable spare time festive shopping. But you can shop smart on a budget in the comfort of your own home with these online shopping tips.
Forget making expensive, time-wasting mistakes when you’re looking for the perfect presents. Online shopping ensures your well-chosen gifts land on the doorstep in time.
DO: You can save time and money on Christmas shopping by doing your research first. Make a list of everyone you need to buy presents for, with a few ideas next to each name, and then start searching online for the best deals and prices.
DO: Make sure your presents arrive in time. During the busy Christmas period, sites often have a cut-off point for guaranteeing the delivery of gifts for December 25. The typical "last order date" for online shops is 18 December, though it does vary.
DO: Take note of return policies. Many online stores offer an extended exchange or return policy during the Christmas shopping period so look before you buy and see if it suits your needs.
DO: Use a credit card if your Christmas shopping costs more than £100 as it gives you extra protection if things go wrong. Always try and use the longest 0% spending credit card possible.
DO: Keep a record of all your online transactions including all receipts, order confirmations and correspondence. If it helps, create a separate "Christmas shopping" folder on your email to keep things in order.
DON’T: Enter your bank details if the site is unsecure. Look for a padlock symbol or "https" in the website address before you enter your personal or payment details to avoid fraudulent activity.
DON’T: Waste time doing all the hard wrapping work if you don’t have to. Some sites offer a gift-wrapping option so you don’t have to do battle with the sticky tape and scissors.
DON’T: Order a sackload of presents to arrive at your home when you’re not going to be in. It will mean you then have to find the time to traipse to the post office to pick up your deliveries. Many online retailers will deliver to a work address if you can’t wait at home for a delivery.
DON’T: Be caught out by the extras. Make sure you have checked that the advertised price includes tax, delivery and any extra charges before you checkout and get unwanted surprises.
DON’T: Feel short-changed if you change your mind or the item is faulty. If you decide to cancel your order, online retailers must refund the full cost, plus the original delivery charge, although you may have to pay the cost of returns. Always check the terms and conditions.