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Online Shopping Savings and Secrets

’Tis the season to start shopping! In this economy, every penny counts this year. Spend your Christmas holiday shopping dollars wisely. Though gas prices are down for the time being, chances are they will start to climb the closer we get to the holidays. Frankly, I think that gas only came down due to the elections, but that’s a story for another time. My advice is to shop online this year to reap your holiday savings.

Smart shoppers use the Web to maximize their shopping budgets, find the best deals, and to get the coolest gifts for their friends and family all year round. Let’s face it. Who has the time to comparison shop in the malls during the crazy holiday shopping season? It’s practically a marathon race just finding a decent parking spot. When you shop online, you can research your purchases, comparison shop, get promo codes without coupon clipping, and get it all shipped to you—even gift wrapped. Need I say more? Well, I guess I should tell you how to save big shopping online for Christmas this year.

Sign Up for Emails
First, always sign up for emails. Yes, I said to opt in for junk mail. It’s not just spam. Spam can save you money. Don’t assume that just because you bought from a company online you will automatically get emails. Today the government is cracking down on spam big time. Many companies will not email offers to you unless you sign up for emails. Often companies will send out promotion codes exclusively to their customers or email recipients. In addition, you’ll be the first to find out about sales, special promotions, and new items. In this day and age of online shopping, everybody should have multiple email accounts. What I recommend is to get a Gmail or Yahoo type of email account for shopping purposes only. It’s my spam mail account. It’s the account I use to register on all my online shopping sites. This way I’m able to separate my bargain hunting emails from my business and personal emails.

Search Coupon Codes
Always search for coupon codes and printable coupons online before checking out. Often companies will have various and exclusive coupon codes at online coupon sites. Search companies by name and read about them, their press releases, articles, reviews, etc. I like to shop companies that give back and support our troops as well as various charities.

Find the Goober
Spread the word and look for the great goober. Companies might offer various value added goobers. By goober, I mean an extra value added something that just might give your purchase or gift that little extra touch of WOW. One of my favorite goobers is a story card with purchase. Let’s face it—do you really want to explain to mom in some long drawn out letter why you bought the perfect gift for her? Do you really have the hour to spend on writer’s block? Or would you rather have her gasp and totally over come with emotion when she opens it with you doing the least amount of work? You will not get a story card with purchase at your mall store.

Free Gift-Wrap and Note Cards
Another favorite goober of mine is free gift-wrap and note cards. Not many companies offer free gift-wrap with note cards, so when you find one, definitely bookmark them! You will find free gift-wrap even rarer in the mall stores. Free gift-wrap is such a huge time saver during the Christmas shopping season. Not to mention wrapping paper and gift tags are a big expense during the holidays. Free gift-wrap and note cards save you time and money, stretching your holiday dollars even more!

Shipping Charges
Don’t be put off by shipping charges this year. Lots of companies, even the big guys and mega stores, are no longer offering free shipping or flat rate shipping. Shipping costs have sky rocketed due to the price of gas and fuel surcharges. It’s cheaper to shop online then to drive around for miles bargain hunting. I always try to compare my time spent online, verses my time and money if drove to the malls, and shipping charge spent to how much I make an hour to put things into perspective. Plus when you add goobers like free gift wrapping and notes cards coupled with promo code discounts, it’s totally worth it.

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