Let’s be honest: everyone hates holiday shopping. We love the bit about gift-giving when they open up the present and when the look on their face says you knocked it out of the park. We even love the part where we know our gifts were way more on point than anyone else’s, even if we don’t admit that. But the shopping part? Ugh, no thank you. Malls are the worst. Parking is a nightmare, lines everywhere, and there are so many people that you begin to agree with Dwight from “The Office” when he called for a new plague.
The answer is simple: Shop online! You can do it in your pajamas while binging Christmas specials and peppermint bark. Watch the snow fall gracefully outside your window instead of shoveling it out from under your car. Make use of the best shopping hacks to ensure you’re prepared for the big day without going crazy from stress. While everyone is awake at 2 a.m. standing in line at Best Buy, you’ll be snoozing peacefully.
Shop at Odd Times
Do your shopping during the week. Lifehacker says that statistically, Tuesday and Thursday have the best online deals. This is doubly good, because it preserves your weekend free time for tree lightings, ice skating or cozying up with a blanket and Netflix.
Discounts, Discounts, Discounts
There’s no end of discounts on the internet. Use a little savings stacking-fu, and you’ll find the amount of deals out there is bonkers. Hang on to those endless coupons in your email, sign up for Amazon Prime’s 30-day free trial and don’t forget about those apps or extensions that help you keep on top of discounts. Enable cookies on your computer — websites that see you’ve been looking at specific items, or left them in your cart, will email you discounts. Have a cash-back credit card? Use it.
Get Your Stalker On
There’s always that one hard-to-find gift, that super popular kids’ toy or limited run of a video game console. These are the gifts that make holiday shopping into a competitive sport. Don’t be afraid to cyberstalk your favorite gift choices on your websites of choice. Stock is fairly fluid around the holidays, so keep a close and frequent eye out to see if you can catch it in those rare moments when it’s buyable. Put your Twitter and Facebook to good use!
Credit card fraud is real, scary, and on the rise during the holidays. Stay safe! When shopping online, look for the green lock icon on the site’s address showing it is encrypted. Use credit before debit (this also helps if you need to return anything). Be wary of links in your email — those could be phishing scams. Watch your cards or set up alerts to make sure all of your charges are yours. Use a secure internet connection. Make sure the password on your Wi-Fi is strong. Nothing ruins the holidays like a wiley internet thief emptying out your bank account.
Picture it: Christmas morning, and your dad opens up his present to find … a backorder receipt? How embarrassing. Don’t be that person, and make sure you get your shopping done in plenty of time to allow for surprises in shipping or potential backorder issues. You should never order anything past December 16, and even that is iffy. Shopping early also provides financial benefits: November has the best shopping deals compared to the rest of the year. You’ll need that extra cash to keep you in hot chocolate money.