Online Shopping for the Holidays

on Monday, 01 December 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

Want to get your Christmas shopping done from the comfort of your own home?  We are here to help!  Whether you are a rookie online shopper or have been done all of your shopping online for years, this article is for you!  We have offered some tips for safe shopping, tips to help you get the most out of your shopping, and a list of some of our favorite places online to go shopping!  Enjoy!  

 First things first, let's start with safety.  Here are some tips you can follow that will help keep you and your personal information safe while you are shopping online.  These are not only good tools for holiday shopping, but for any online shopping you plan to do at any time of the year.

  • HTTPS:  When looking for safe places to shop online, it is crucial that you look for the S in the web address.  This means that a site is secure and is working to protect any personal information that you provided, including credit card numbers.  NEVER give any kind of personal information that could be compromised to a site that is unsecure or a site that you don't trust.  

  • If possible, use credit cards over debit cards to make online purchases, or use a debit card that is attached to a secondary account.  If you are not comfortable with either of these and want to be eve safer, there are several options that you can explore.

         -PayPal:  You do have to give PayPal your credit card information when you first open your account, but they remain the only ones with access to your information after that.  PayPal takes the  money out of your  account for you whenever you  utilize their service to make an online purchase, and use it to pay for your items.  This is safer than providing multiple different online retailers with your credit card information.

        -Pre-paid or re-fillable credit cards:  You can get these through your personal bank or other places, and they work in a very similar fashion to gift cards.  You can put any amount of money on these cards and  then use them for online shopping in place of an actual credit card.  Just remember to be mindful of how much money you put on the card when making your purchases so you don't exceed the value you have given it!

        -Visa Gift Cards:  These also work just like a credit card, and can be purchased at  any retail outlet where gift cards are sold.  The only thing that you need to do in order to be able to use this as a credit card for online purchases is to register it.  The purpose of doing this is so there is a name and address attached to the card that can be used as the billing/shipping address for your order. 

        -Retailer Gift Cards:  If you know where you want to go online to purchase your items, you can purchase gift cards specific to that retailer(s) and use those in place of your credit card when you order your items. You put the money down ahead of time when you do this, but you can assure your safety by not having to give  any online retailers your credit card information.  

  • NEVER provide anyone with an account number or other personal information via e-mail.  Legitimate sites where you were asked to provide this info will ask you to log in to your account to verify information, they will not ask for it in an e-mail.

Now that you know how to protect your safety, here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make your online shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable.  

  • Follow your favorite online retail sites on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to watch for deals and exclusive offers that they may be offering at any given time.  

  • Do a quick google search for an item for price checks to make sure you are getting the best deal before you buy.

  • Read consumer reviews before you decide to buy an item to make sure it is worth the money that you will be spending.

  • Look for any extras or free gifts that may come with an item to get the most out of your money.

  • Bookmark your favorite sites for quick and easy access.

  • Make wish lists and shopping lists on Pinterest that you can share with others and keep your gift ideas organized.


And finally, now that you are working towards becoming an online shopping pro, here are some great sites for you to explore that will help you fufill the gifting needs of everyone on your shopping list!

EBay logoThis is a fun site to explore for many different reasons.  on ebay, you can find gifts that you can't find anywhere else.  This includes gifts that are no longer sold in stores, vintage gifts, handmade gifts, and more.  Using ebay really allows you to think outside the box while shopping for your gifts.  


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Pinterest is a great and fun place to go shopping!  On Pinterest, you can search for any item that interests you and see a numerous pins featuring that item.  When you find one that you like you can simply click on the picture and get redirected to the site where you can purchase it.  Pinterest also allows you to make wish lists and shopping lists to share with others.

etsy-logoEtsy is a great place to go where you can purchase handmade and vintage gifts directly from the people who made them.  You can also purchase art, art supplies, and other fun little gifts from this site.  

FindGift logo 350pxYou can find more creative gift ideas when you explore this website.  You can search gifts based on the occasion, recipient, catergory, type, and store where they could be found. There is also a search bar where you can do more specific gift searches.  You can also create an account on the site where you can create gift registries, safe gift ideas, and receive reminder e-mails. 

LogoNexTagWhen you use Nextag, they do the comparison shopping for you and present you with the best deals that they were able to find.  You can search for items on Nextag by catergory or you can do a general search to generate results more specific to what you are looking for.  They also have a best sellers list, a link to their app, links to their social media sites, and an e-mail list that users can join; all of which help users stay better connected to their site!  

ThinkGeek logo

Looking for a gift for the geek in your life?  This site is definitely the place to go!  ThinkGeek has items from many different games, tv shows, movies and other things that geeks would enjoy!  Geeks can search the newest, best selling and exclusive items, and can also exlpore the Holiday gift center.  If you're not sure what geeky gift to buy, they have gift certificates available.  This site has tons of stuff to explore and is sure to be able to fufill all your geeky gift giving needs!  

amazon todays deals 2

The "Today's Deals" section of the Amazon website shows you the best deals being offered on the site each day.  It also shows you the featured deal of the day, bonus deal of the day, upcoming deals, and deals that you missed.  This is a great feature that helps make sure you are getting the most for your money!

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When you first enter this site, you will likely see a pop-up come up immediately asking you to join their e-mail list and offering you 10% off your next purchase if you do.  You can also create an account on the site that allows you to make lists and create registries, and join "Club O" where you can earn rewards.  Another feature that makes this site stand out is the fact that you can shop for more than just standard gifts.  The Overstock site has links to world stock shops, farmer's markets, places to adopt pets, and places to shop for cars and insurance.   This site seems devoted to bringing consumers great deals on a wide variety of different items!

cybermonday logo

Cyber Monday may have already come and gone this year, but you can visit this site for Cyber Monday style deals all year round.  This site allows you to do comparison shopping to find out who has the best deals, and also has their own section of featured deals.  You can also shop for items by category and gain access to the sites for all of the merchants that work with this site.  No longer does Cyber Monday have to come around just once a year!  



Take some time to explore each of these sites and enhance your holiday shopping experience!  We hope that this will help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your shopping list!  

Happy Holidays!  



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