Friday, December 16, 2011

Delightful or Dangerous? Shopping Online

This Christmas I have been converted; not to Christianity, that happened years ago.  I have been converted to Online Shopping.  A few years ago I purchased a few books online and have, on occasion, purchased a book or two via the internet and my visa debit card.  But, this year I have purchased quite a few gifts online.  I think I still purchased the majority of my gifts at real life shops as opposed to virtual ones. 

I love online shopping because I can find almost anything for almost anyone in my pj's.  I searched a number of jewellery and gift stores for a brooch for my Nan.  I couldn't find what I wanted, but a few quick searches online and I was able to find the perfect cubic zirconia silver brooch.  Better yet, it was an Australian store and was delivered to my front door within two days.  It was wrapped and under the tree with very little hassle. 

I also found some very cute 'hand puppet tattoos' for the kids.  I purchased three varieties for numbers 2-4 and Entropy (also an Aussie store) delivered them to the door as well.  No fuss.  As you can probably tell, I am very happy.  My feet are not sore, my hands are not swollen (well they are, but that is another story) and I didn't waste hours and hours searching shops and battling crowds to settle on a less than perfect gift simply so I could go home. 

So it seems that the online shopping is truly a delight.  Unfortunately, all good things seem to have a downside.  Online shopping comes with a number of safety concerns regarding credit card numbers and security settings.  There are ways around this for the ultra concerned shopper.  Other issues relate to postage and handling costs which, can be astronomical.  But these are nothing compared to the danger of impulse purchasing.  While people who do their grocery shopping online report that they are far less likely to buy unnecessary items such as magazines, I think gift shopping is different.  Spending money on the internet is as easy as the click of a button and it is easy to lose track of one's spending.  Everytime I bought something cute for a friend, I found at least two cute things I wanted for myself. 

So, if it is convenient, then jump online and click to your little heart's content.  But still follow my top tips for shopping trips (especially gift shopping).  Have a plan and a budget and stick to it.


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