Down to the wire on your holiday shopping? That doesn’t mean you have to completely blow your budget…especially not when you’ve been on the financial “Nice List” all year! Resist the temptation to pay a premium for convenience and try these 5 tips for smarter last-minute spending:
- Cut the clutter: Don’t let your inbox be flooded with daily deals, which will only tempt you to overspend. This time of year especially, we’re all bombarded with offers, newsletters and promos. To stay focused on what you really need when you are online shopping, take a few minutes and click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the emails. Or, you can use a service like unroll.me that pulls up all of your subscriptions and let’s you just make one click to get out of them. If you want some pertinent emails from your go-tos, the service let’s you schedule your subscriptions into a daily email rollup that you can schedule for a certain time everyday to keep your shopping efficient.
- Avoid eye candy: For those promotional emails that you do let through, don’t click on the prompt to “display images” within the email. Instead, go straight to the “unsubscribe” link within the message. Do not mark these as “spam” or just put them in the trash; that won’t stop them from coming. You have to actually click “unsubscribe” (the button is typically all the way at the bottom of the email, so keep scrolling!). You should do this especially for flash sale and auction sites, which can be some of the most addicting shopping experiences out there.
- Clear your cookies: Remember those shoes you were looking at online? Ever notice how they keep popping back up on the side of your email or when you do a search or on your social media? It feels like those shoes are haunting you, and it always seems to happen when you feel stressed and might need a pick-me-up in the form of an impulse buy. Those are called “cookies.” It’s technology that retailers use to pester you about an item that you look at once on their site. It’s not coincidence; it’s a marketing effort on their part to get you to actually buy that item. And those constant reminders can come back to bite you in a moment of weakness. So clear your cookie trail! It’s super easy: go to the preferences or settings in your browser and click “clear history and website data” then click “disable cookies” and like magic you’ll never be haunted by what you were looking at wherever you go online.
- Streamline checkout: Once you’ve decided exactly what you need, check out more conveniently. Take advantage of services that let you check out safely and easily without having to enter all of your information again. Try Google Wallet, Apple Pay or Visa Checkout which also offers exclusive deals for major retailers like Under Armour when you check out using them, without the headache and stress of the constant entry and re-entry of credit card information. After all, time is money—and ‘tis the season to save a bit of both!
- Plan before you go: Now that you’ve cut the clutter, plan out the remaining of your shopping. You can go old school and make a grocery-style list of what you need before you go online. Just write it down like you would before you go food shopping and stick to it. Stay focused because it’s easy to go down unwanted shopping rabbit holes in the online shopping world. Google’s “My Shortlist” feature is a great way to stay organized when shopping online; it lets you sort by price and when you added the item and allows you to list a short description of the items you want so you’ll remember later.