I just bought all three of my college-aged nieces their Christmas presents for less than $25 a piece – gifts with which I am sure they will be thrilled. With all of us feeling the tightening of the economic belt, making use of online (usually tax-free) offers is an easy fix.
There are many sites and many ways to approach online shopping. My first warning would be to stay with those sellers who are tried and true, and avoid those “who the heck are we.coms.” Most of you know the main ones, but for you newbies, evaluate sites with these easy tools: First, if they are nationally televised, they are probably okay. Secondly, difficulties with the big super-centers online are just minimal, if any. And, finally, I have had great success with the well-advertised online store that advertises all shipping for just $2.95.
When ordering online you should always know the seller’s return policy (how long you have to return, shipping costs, exact reasons items might be returned). Most TV shopping clubs make it very easy by including return shipping labels with their products. They also usually allow the item to be returned even if partially (or sometimes entirely) used. Check before buying, though, especially for an item of considerable weight, if you are responsible for return shipping costs. The two major televised shopping outlets also allow return dates through January 31 of the following year to encourage people to buy gifts now for Christmas, allowing the gift recipient to decide if it should be returned. And, I have never had any difficulty getting money back; I have never been asked to accept credit for future purchases.
An further thought about these TV shopping clubs: go to their websites. Theirs clearance areas can be gold mines of gift possibilities. You may even find yourself adding a few goodies for yourself. Clearance items are also returnable, from my experience. Most of these websites now include consumer feedback and reviews. Many-a-time I have gone on a site to make a purchase and have not done so because of the consumer reviews. When you are buying for others, this can be even more helpful, since you may not as familiar with the product then if you were buying for yourself.
The final online resource that I frequent is the now famous “list.” I have found many things local at amazing deals, and, have in the process, created a sort of separate networking system. For instance, my boyfriend’s daughter is 14 and grows about an inch a month I’m beginning to believe. I found someone on the “list” that was selling her size clothes. Got them. Turned around and listed boyfriend’s daughter’s clothes, and someone snatched those in no time. That’s the beauty with teenage clothes: when they are in style, they are a hot commodity. But if they don’t fit, finding the niche for resale is imperative. Currently, there are four, sometimes five, of us working together moving clothes around. My cousin is doing this as well with great success for her three-year-old son.
Another great idea that has nothing to do with online shopping: Last year my same three nieces asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told them I wanted them to go through their clothes and donate items to my uncle who runs a local outreach program to teenagers on the streets. Not only did they do this, but the niece that is local continues to work with him, and has since changed her major to social work so that she might continue to work with at-risk teens post-graduation. Now, that’s a gift!
The “list” is also a great place to make money for your Christmas purchases. I listed my 13-year-old convertible (pictured with a big red bow and the heading “Merry Christmas to your loved one”) and, despite the fact that it is not convertible season here in the south, I got what I was asking, and someone’s special someone is going to be very happy. And, let me tell you, I am ecstatic! It was so easy to do.
So, what, you ask, did I find that will make college-aged young women living in dorms so happy? And you know this is one of the toughest ages to please. Last year they all got KVZ bags at the tune of $150+ each simply because I asked them what they wanted, and then I had no ideas of my own. This year, however, I happened across a deal on a bulk number of those oh-so-popular clothes hangers, purchased a set of 120, and they will each get 40 pieces. I have these hangers, so I know they will love them. And, in a dorm room, where space is nominal, these hangers truly do reduce the amount of space taken up in your closet, allowing, and here’s the biggie – allowing them to have more clothes with them in their dorm rooms! What more could a college girl want than more room for more clothes? Perfect. Last Christmas’ expense for three nieces: $450. This year’s expense for three nieces: $70. Saving $380: priceless.
Another added benefit to online shopping: I never drive a single second in traffic. Shopping for my favored nieces consisted of entering some info into the computer and picking up the box where it was left outside my front door. Oh! – the real joy of Christmas. And I may be able to afford a short time to myself somewhere warm for a few days in January. Here’s hoping! Merry Christmas all, and remember, the season is not about your presents, it is about your presence. The person should check the reviews of the minimalist wallet men before purchasing them. The reputation of the seller can be checked in the market for the buying of the wallet.