Personal Finance

How to spend smarter (online) this holiday season.

New York Life | November 17, 2022

Updated November 30, 2023

The holidays are a time for giving gifts and over-indulging ― a chance to spoil our loved ones and enjoy some quality time together. But this year, between inflation and economic uncertainty, many of us will be looking for ways to spend smarter, without losing the magic of the holiday season.

And whether you’re looking forward to a busy holiday schedule full of family gatherings and glittering parties ― or opting to kick back and relax with the phone off the hook ― no one wants to spend their whole vacation standing in line at the store.

Luckily, shopping online this holiday season could be a great way to help ease budget pressures while freeing up some extra time to spend with those you love. Here are five reasons why.

1.     Discounts, promotions and sales

Holiday shopping online can be a useful way to grab a discount or promotion that might be unavailable when shopping in-store.

First-time buyers may be offered a 10% - 15% discount from many online retailers, while discounts for signing up to mailing lists or newsletters are another common example. Once subscribed, information about the latest promotions and sales will arrive straight to your inbox and you can take advantage immediately, before things sell out. 

2.     Compare prices and read reviews

A huge benefit of holiday shopping online is that shoppers have the option to instantly compare prices from a huge selection of sellers. By using search engines and price comparison sites, consumers can ensure they’re getting the absolute best deals available.

And if you’re looking for the perfect gift but unsure of what to choose, reading online reviews can be a great way to make sure you’re getting what you need and for the right price. Reviews are the perfect place to find out if a product is a good value for the money, which will help you save in the long run.

(Beware, some online retailers may flood products with fake reviews. Signs to look out for include repeated phrases or consistently overly positive reviews).



3.     Delivery for the win

When shopping online, it can make spending sense to try and purchase multiple items from the same retailer. Why? Because you’re only paying for delivery once. Being organized is key here. Ensure you plan ahead to prevent forgotten items.

If you’re shopping for a particularly heavy gift (or perhaps buying lots of alcohol for a party!) shopping online can be another great way to save on time and money. Getting larger items delivered to your door stops you from carrying things through the cold ― or splurging on an expensive cab from the store.

4.     Sticking to shopping lists

Most online retailers will offer useful list tools, such as the option to save favorite items you might want to buy in the future, place items on a watchlist, or create shopping lists online. This can be hugely beneficial when trying to spend carefully, as it allows you to budget ahead, with a good idea of prices and total spend.

Plus, by staying home, shoppers reduce the likelihood they’ll make those impulsive purchases that many of us are tempted by. It can be far easier to put something we don’t need in our cart when in-store, than it is to shop impulsively online. After all, around 80% of online carts are abandoned before checkout.1

5.     Avoid the lines

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year when it comes to shopping. Shopping online can help you save time stuck on long lines, and help you avoid the crowds in general.

However, there’s more to this than just convenience. In busy crowded stores, where even lines for the dressing rooms seem to last forever, shoppers may choose items hastily ― rushing around and unable to browse comfortably. The result? Impulsive purchasing.

For help planning all your financial needs, contact a financial professional.


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