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Allergic to Holiday Crowds?
The Solution May be Right in Front of You
Time and money are very precious commodities these days. And, as past years have proven, the demand for both will only increase as we move through December. Luckily, it's not too late to face these challenges head on. All that's required is a slight change to your holiday shopping routine. Instead of making a trip (or trips) to the mall, simply let your fingers do the walking.
At one time, the aforementioned reference was a promotion for utilizing the phonebook as a shopping resource. The plan was to flip through the pages, find the proper business, and phone ahead, inquiring about a product's price and availability. The point was to avoid an excursion which yielded no payoff. Nowadays that plan seems almost laughable. Not because it doesn't work, but because we have access to a much greater and faster resource. You guessed it, the Internet.
Now, if you know what you want to buy and where you'd like to buy it, many stores will allow you to place your order online. If the item is available, you may order it and then select whether you want to have it shipped to you or, in the case of retailers which have "brick-and-mortar" stores, arrange for pick-up at the location closest to you. This can save time and frustration, especially when it comes to locating products that are in high demand.
So we've established that the Internet can be a valuable tool when it comes to making purchases you've decided upon already. But what about when you're not sure what gift you want or where to buy it? Who's got the best price? How much will it cost to ship the item? Is the company reliable? It can all be rather overwhelming.
That's where YOU Magazine comes in. We have dug deep for you, searching out several sites that will make your shopping experience friendlier, both in terms of the potential money and time saved. So, toss another log on the fire, grab some hot chocolate, and let's go shopping.
The last thing anyone wants is to become a victim of identity theft. So, whenever a website is requesting your personal or credit card information, make sure that your web browser designates the page as being secure.
One way that you can determine this is by examining the web address bar. Look for https:// at the beginning of the web address, as opposed to the normal http://. The addition of the letter "s" indicates that you can enter your information with confidence.
Another way of determining the security of a page within a website is by looking at the lock icon. This is typically in the bottom, right-hand corner of your browser. If the lock appears in the "locked" position, then it is safe to enter your information.
I Want a Deal
Who doesn't? Try Googling "online discounts", and you'll pull up over a million links, all claiming that they'll save you money. Spending time searching through them is about as productive as driving around the mall looking for a parking space.
If you would like to save both time and money, the first website you'll want to visit is www.DealsofAmerica.com. This site contains an amazing array of deals, not just from online retailers but from traditional stores as well. Featured items are highlighted by price, and each listing includes a picture of the product. The site also offers comparison tools, coupon codes for online shopping, and a list of items that are free either via rebate or coupon!
Surf on over to www.ableshoppers.com, and you'll find "deals of the day". As deals are often available for a limited amount of time, you will also see when the offers expire. The site also has an extensive listing of coupons.
If you're looking for deals but still prefer to mix it up with the masses, check out www.ShopLocal.com. This site will help you to find bargains within driving range of your home.
Coupons Aren't Just for Sunday
If you've been getting the Sunday paper because you just can't resist the coupons, you may be able to cancel your subscription!
Both www.CoolSavings.com and www.Keycode.com include coupons right on their homepages, and they also offer the ability to search by retailer. The coupons you'll find at these sites apply to more than just gift ideas. Every day items such as bread, diapers, and pharmaceuticals are also featured.
Shopping Comparison Sites
While everyone knows that Google™ is the place to go when searching for information online, they have many other helpful tools as well. Froogle™ is Google's "smart shopping" tool. If you go to www.froogle.com and type in Plasma TV for example, you will be treated to an array of results, including breakdowns by price, brands, stores, and seller ratings. You also have the option of inputting your zip code to obtain local offerings, complete with a map of store locations.
The home page at www.PriceGrabber.com offers over 25 retail categories to choose from, ranging from clothing to video games. A quick search of men's suits offered prices ranging from under $60 to over $2,000, leaving no category of fine attire untouched. A search for watches brought up an even wider range of results, starting with a simple digital cuff watch that was under $5, and going up to an eye-popping $225,000 for a diamond bespectacled Cartier tank watch!
Regardless the brand name you are looking for, Shopping.com has it all. With over 18,500 brands to choose from, the site also features comparisons by categories and highlights the hottest products of the day according to their users.
No online shopping guide would be complete without a mention of www.amazon.com. Their selection is unbeatable, and each listing shows Amazon's price along with those of third party vendors. In addition, Amazon provides customer reviews and associated products that may also be of interest to you.
Whether you choose to fight the crowds or shop from home this holiday season, hopefully these sites will help to make the holiday season a little brighter for you. Good luck, and happy shopping!
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