Here are some ways to make the most out of your online shopping:
Use the Google shopping tool
One of the fastest ways to find what you’re looking for is by using Google’s shopping engine. Just key in what you’re looking to buy, and it instantly checks all online retailers and gives you a list of results. Just be sure that before you automatically select the store that’s offering the best price, that you’re choosing a reputable retailer.
Check the return policy
Some online retailers can be an absolute nightmare for returns, including excessive shipping costs, restocking fees, and a long turn-around time before you get your money back. Others will send you a shipping label or offer the chance for customers to return the unused item in-store, no questions asked. Unless you’re absolutely confident that you won’t need to return your purchase, find out ahead of time what the store’s policy is to avoid any unwanted surprises.
Avoid using a debit card
If this is the only card you have and you don’t have a gift card you can use, you might want to consider opening up a credit card account for the sole purpose of online shopping. While shopping online with a debit card is relatively safe, there is always the possibility of a data breach. If your information is ever stolen, it’s always better to have a credit card number with a low limit stolen, as opposed to your debit card. Your debit card is linked to your bank account, and it can be much more difficult to recover that money and dispute charges should you ever become victim of a data breach. And whether you’re using a debit card or credit card, you might be prompted to save a portion of your payment information on the store’s website when you create a profile. It may be tempting as it offers convenience for future purchases, but avoid doing this. Not only does this put you at risk, but it makes it easier to overspend.
Another way to ensure your information is safe is by shopping only at secure websites. While not completely foolproof, you should always look at the URL window on your browser and make sure that the website address starts with “https” instead of “http.”
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.