While Maddie was at preschool the other day I decided to do some Christmas shopping with Michael. Although we already purchased Maddie’s present from Santa, I couldn’t buy Michael’s present from Santa while she was around! So I ventured off to my local Target (one of my absolute favorite places to shop, 2nd only to Best Buy). I have been eyeing a set of blocks oh probably since Maddie was born, and thought THAT is what I’m going to get for Michael for Christmas. They are the Peek-a-blocks and this set has all the letters of the alphabet. What can I say, I’m a sucker for learning toys. Anyway, they were much more expensive then I remembered them being. I was not going to pay THAT much for toys that he may or may not play with.
I had to go down near our local Toys R Us to get a board game for my family’s visit this week, so I thought I’d check it out down there, and see if I could either find something better for my 6 month old baby, or maybe find the blocks for a bit cheaper. So I brought the kids down to Toys R Us, knowing that I’d either have to hide my purchase from Maddie if I found something, or just come back later. I did not find anything that I really wanted to get for Michael. He’s just so young that getting him something expensive would be pointless, but I can’t just have Santa bring something for Maddie and not him.
It was then I finally decided to do the rest of my Christmas shopping online. I came home and hopped on amazon.com did a search for blocks and looked for the highest rated. I checked them out, and found some great ones for 10 bucks! Perfect! I then checked out a couple of DVD’s I’ve been drooling over for a while. One that has just been too expensive to buy at Best Buy (Dollhouse: Season One [Blu-ray]), and another DVD that they usually don’t carry in the store. To my very pleasant surprise Dollhouse wasn’t too expensive!
So, to get the best of out of your online shopping experience, make sure you follow these simple rules…
1. Read the Reviews – Even if you aren’t going to eventually purchase the item online, read the reviews of the products you are thinking about buying. When you do have experiences with a product yourself, write a review to help others! Especially if your experience was particularly good or bad. Amazon usually has great reviews. For big purchases I tend to rely on more professional reviews, so I will just do a google search for “such and such product review” You do have to be careful when conducting the search though and try and find sites that will be neutral. Usually a consumer magazine will have pretty unbiased reviews, but don’t expect to get a great review from some place like ILoveDell.com or something.
2. Check for the S – when you are shopping online look in your address bar http:// means hyper text transfer protocol. https:// means that the protocol you are using is SECURE. You want to make sure that any site you are going to be entering your credit card information into is secure.
3. Shipping Tip – Every time I buy something online I choose the cheapest shipping possible. Which on Amazon is usually the free one. Every time after I place the order I WISH I had chosen faster shipping, because I can’t wait for it to get here. In the end I always choose the cheapest shipping though, and just kick myself later. It saves me a few bucks, even if I regret it every time. Some stores will offer to ship it to the store for free, or you can even look and see if they have it in stock at your local store.
So save yourself some effort and headaches (and perhaps even a bit of money) and do your Christmas shopping online.
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