7. When shopping online, check that the website is secure by looking for “https://” at the beginning of the website URL. The “s” indicates that the information being transmitted is encrypted for privacy. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer will display a lock symbol to show that the website is secure.
8. Many websites guarantee Christmas delivery only for purchases made before a certain date. Express charges are applied after that, or your gift just might not be delivered. The message here: don’t leave online ordering too late.
9. When shopping online, look for sites offering free shipping on goods, especially large items.
10. Ditto the above for free Christmas gift-wrapping.
11. Combine postage costs and save by doing all your internet ordering from the one website or online store.
12. Some store cards and credit cards give you 60 days to pay for purchases made during December, meaning you won’t have to deal with yuletide costs until February 2012.
13. Knowing your credit card cycle can buy you extra time to pay off your shopping expenses. If your statement closes on the 10th of the month, for example, purchases made after this date won’t need to be paid until around the 20th of the next month.
14. Set a budget for gifts and stick to it. There are other holiday expenses – food, plonk and all the home improvements you didn’t get around to during the year – for which you’ll need to reserve funds.
15. Be ready to snap up bargains at the New Year clearance sales and store them away in the cupboard for Christmas 2012. It is more than 12 months away, but the Christmas that’s staring you down right now was once too. You have been warned.
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