The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Whether you’re hitting the retail stores or doing all your shopping online, you want to shop wisely and protect your personal information. The FTC has a few holiday shopping tips to help you.
- Make a list (and check it twice!) as well as a budget. This will help you stick to your spending limits and remember incidentals like holiday cards, gift wrapping, hostess gifts, food items to bring to parties, etc.
- Compare prices. Get the most bang for your buck by shopping around for the best deal. There are websites that let you compare items sold online and at stores in your area.
- Double check the scanned price. Sometimes sale items are marked incorrectly or left out of the system. So, be sure to pay extra attention at the register so you aren’t overcharged and making a second trip to the store.
- Look for rebates. You will likely have to send these to the manufacturer, but some rebates can be redeemed at the register.
- Do your research! Read reviews and recommendations for products on your gift list. You can also check out people’s experiences with online sellers to make sure they follow through what they’re promising and correct any mistakes. Just remember to consider the source when it comes to reviews.
- Know what kind of info you’re disclosing. Shopping apps can collect a lot of personal information. Use apps that tell you what data they’re collection, what they with it and how they keep your information safe.
- Check the terms of your purchases. Before you buy a gift online, look at the company’s terms/policies on delivery dates and refunds.
- Save your documentation. Whether you’re shopping in store or online, you want to keep receipts and/or order numbers for your purchases in case there’s an issue.
- Shipping out of state or overseas. You want your gift to arrive on time, so check with the U.S. Postal Service for their holiday shipping deadlines.
- Have packages delivered to a secure location. Package theft is a growing problem. You’ve probably seen countless videos on the news and thieves will likely be out in full force during the holidays. If you can’t be home when a package is delivered, have it delivered to your work. Or, ask your neighbor to be on the lookout if he or she is available. You could also require a signature for delivery or choose to pick up your deliveries at local stores or mailing centers.