Online shopping has completely changed how we buy gifts. Now, you can order something from anywhere in the world with just a simple click of a button.
Unfortunately, we have some serious considerations to make when shopping online, especially regarding our cyber safety and the amount of money we spend.
This article will explore some simple but effective tips for buying gifts online. You’ll discover the dos and don’ts, learn to stay safe, and make huge savings.
Below are three simple tips on what you should do to make the most of buying gifts online.
1. Set yourself a budget
Keeping track of your spending can be difficult when buying gifts online, especially when using a credit card. For this reason, you should create a budget for online shopping to help you manage your spending.
Ways to set a reasonable budget include creating a detailed list of gift ideas and their expected prices and tallying the final figure ahead of time. Calculate the maximum spending you can afford, and search for ways to reduce costs, such as finding discounts, sales, spreading out payments, and more.
Remember to factor in potential shipping costs and customs taxes. Regularly review and update your budget if something in your life impacts your ability to spend money freely.
2. Start as early as you can
As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. Starting early with online shopping can help make a massive difference in how much money you spend and the quality of gifts you can find. Benefits include:
- Price comparison: You can search websites for the cheapest deals or wait to buy when sales are in motion.
- More choice: You’ll have the best selection of gift ideas, and there will be no shortages in stock.
- Time to return: By buying online early, you’re giving yourself the maximum time to send back or replace a gift if it arrives broken/damaged.
- Less stress: You’ll have more time to research, plan, and save money for gifts. You’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed or pressured to buy last-minute gifts.
3. Stay safe when buying online
When buying online, it’s essential to protect yourself from hackers. This is because more and more criminals target shoppers at home through phishing and malware attacks.
A virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to stay safe online. It encrypts your internet connection, protecting your online activity (and shopping basket) from prying eyes. Your personal information, including financial details, will all be secured.
Many VPNs also have cybersecurity features that can help flag suspicious websites and links before you click them, saving you from online scams, malware, and more.
One of the best VPNs to consider is NordVPN, known for its lightning-fast speeds, advanced security, and user-friendly interface. This is thanks to the simplified NordVPN login process, which allows you to create an account instantly using your Google account or Apple ID.
Below are four things you should avoid doing to save money and protect yourself online.
1. Don’t follow suspicious links to online stores
One of the most common cyber scams to target shoppers is fake online stores, which can be posted on social media or websites to trick people into sharing their financial details with hackers.
If you want to avoid becoming the victim of an online shopping scam, pay attention to these details:
- Too good to be true: If the gift is advertised at an unbelievable price or is trying to pressure you into buying something quickly, it’s likely a scam.
- Poor details: Examine photos and descriptions. These are often copied from other sites and look altered or have poor quality.
- Website: Check the website address thoroughly before creating an account or entering your details. Criminals may misspell addresses to trick you.
- Payment: Be wary of sellers who want immediate payment through wire transfer or cryptocurrency, as these are impossible to refund.
2. Don’t limit yourself to physical gifts
Are you stuck for gift ideas? Sometimes, we get so focused on purchasing physical items online that we forget that digital products can be just as thoughtful to a person.
Online subscriptions to popular streaming platforms can make for the perfect last-minute gift. From Disney+ to Netflix, Hulu to Peacock, and more, a subscription can unlock thousands of programs across news, sports, and entertainment the whole family can enjoy.
3. Don’t go overboard—never buy on impulse.
The final piece of advice, which can help you stay safe online and save money, is to never buy something for the sake of it. Online shopping makes it easy to buy things in quick succession, but it can also mean you lose the run of yourself.
Especially near the holiday season, people might spontaneously buy things they don’t need or typically wouldn’t consider worthwhile.
Simple ways to avoid impulse buying include:
- Wait: Don’t be pressured by time-sensitive discounts and flash sales. Wait 24 hours to see if you still want to buy the gift.
- Control your emotions: We tend to buy more things online when we feel strong emotions, whether positive or negative. Always try to shop online with a clear head.
- Ditch your cards: Consider removing saved card information from websites so you can’t buy things instantly.
- Plan your budget: Remember that budget you created? Regularly review it and use it as a guide to what gifts you should and shouldn’t buy online.