Tips for shopping online this holiday season

October 07, 2020
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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas comes holiday shopping! If you’ve not yet headed to your keyboard to hunt down the best online deals, something tells us you are about to, particularly with in-person shopping not being appealing, or even safe, for many shoppers. Besides, why brave the weather, crowds, and exposure when you can put your feet up in happy wellness and shop away while you binge-watch your favorite series? Now that’s the kind of holiday prep we like!

Now that we’ve established the whys of online shopping, it’s time to address the hows. While we all know how to shop online, your friendly neighborhood bank wants you to get the most bang for your holiday buck — so we’ve put together a few tips aimed at how to do just that.

Make the most of the month. This one’s easy, as November’s sale items are usually holiday “necessities” and popular gift items. Fitness trackers and related items are a biggie, and sales on other electronics like tablets and laptops, smartphones, and gaming systems are a for-sure, also. Tools and related home improvement items are usually a bargain, as are cozy sweaters and throws. The season’s popular toys can be found online, although the best prices may be offered toward the end of the month, on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Small kitchen appliances go on sale just in time for your holiday gift giving and hosting needs, so keep your eye out for those, as well.

Shop local. Don’t forget about your favorite small, locally owned businesses this holiday season! Now more than ever, it’s important to support the local businesses that are vital parts of the fabric of our communities. Plus, many local stores are now offering online shopping or posting items for sale to their social media accounts for customers to purchase for curbside pickup — a great way to shop local while staying safe at the same time. 

Save on shipping. Keep your eyes peeled for free shipping days or online coupon codes that offer free shipping, because even just cutting out the cost of getting your purchases to you can save you a lot in the long run.

Dig for discounts. Many online retailers offer discounts or specific shopping days for students, veterans, seniors, teachers, and first responders and/or healthcare workers. If you fall into one of these categories, it’s worth checking out before making your purchase.

Be a member. For some shoppers, membership in an online shopping service such as Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Student, or Google Shop can really pay off. A bit of research will tell you if it’s worth it for you.

Shop around. A bit of shopping recon before finalizing your purchase can really pay off. Before making a purchase, check multiple retailers’ sites for additional deals and coupon codes.

Install a browser extension. Avid online shoppers often rely on money-saving browser extensions (i.e., plug-ins that extend the capabilities of your web browser) such as Honey or Ibotta that do the bargain-hunting and coupon-applying for you.

Use discounted gift cards. Purchasing discounted gift cards at a wholesale club (some even come in bundles — so you can use a few for gifts and keep a few to shop with!) starts you out with an advantage. There are gift card resale sites out there, as well; just make sure you are using a reputable one.

Make the (mailing) list. Many retailers offer a discount when you sign up to receive their promotional emails. It may be worth it on a larger purchase — but, a word to the wise: You may want to open a second email account for promotional emails to avoid a flood of this form of holiday cheer.

Pay with points. Using credit card purchase points or site rewards are great ways to make your holidays brighter. Check with your card issuer (we know of a good one!) or online retailer for specifics. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that right now, when you open a Rewards or Signature Rewards credit card with UBT, we’ll give you 5,000 bonus points* once you’ve made 10 purchases within the first 60 days. That’s $50 cash back* — or points you can redeem on purchases, travel, gift cards, and more.

There are many ways to stretch your shopping dollar, and we hope at least a couple of our suggestions work for you as we head into this major shopping season. For additional suggestions on saving and making your money work harder, click here. Happy holiday shopping!

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Offer subject to credit approval. Valid on approved Rewards and Signature Rewards Credit Card applications received between November 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. Bonus points offer available after 10 posted purchase transactions are made within 60 days of credit card open date. Member FDIC.

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