Nov 8, 2008

Organize your online Christmas shopping

A friend of mine, Karen, mentioned on her "Now Don't Get Me Started" blog that she has begun her online Christmas shopping. I used to live where Karen lives (Salem, NH) and she's right -- trying to get through the traffic there consumes more time than it's worth when you have the option to sit at your computer and shop in your jammies while sipping a good cuppa tea! I've been purchasing about 85% of our Christmas gifts online for four or five years now. I've never had a gift not arrive, I've never received a wrong item, I've never received anything broken, and I've rarely been disappointed in the quality of an item I've received. (I say "rarely" because honestly, the one drawback of ordering online is not being able to put items through the in-person "touch" test to assure yourself of good quality.) And surprise, surprise, I have a "method" to my online shopping that I thought I'd share with you. First, in my normal day to day exchange of money, I use a debit card. I'm married to a finance person -- we don't do credit cards. However, we both have one credit card each. I use mine for online purchases ONLY. My debit card info never goes out over the Internet. (I've been through having my debit card stolen and my checking account wiped out in the blink of an eye, and thanks, I'd prefer not to go through that again!) This confines your online purchases to one card, which, with most major credit card companies, is very easy to monitor online to make sure the only purchases going on it are ones YOU made. In the case of my card company, I receive email notification for every online purchase and an actual phone call if a purchase over (any amount I set) is made on that credit card. If something happens where that credit card info gets into the wrong hands, it is easily stopped with one phone call. Next, when I make a purchase with that credit card, I deduct that amount from my checking account, just as if I'd written a check for that item. Why? So I have the funds to pay off the credit card immediately when the bill comes in. This also keeps me on target to staying within my Christmas budget. Next, I use email folders to keep track of all my orders. Every company I deal with sends an email confirmation of my online order. I have created two folders in my email called "Internet Orders" and "Received". When the email order confirmation comes in, it goes in the "Internet Orders" folder. When the item arrives at my door, that same confirmation email gets moved to the "Received" folder. If for any reason I have a question on my order or need a copy of the invoice to mail an item back or collect a rebate, I can simply look back in my "Received" folder and there it is. Once I begin ordering in earnest, I check the "Internet Orders" folder frequently to see if I'm missing any items that should have arrived. I save my "Received" folder for several months after Christmas. Again, if I need to return something, follow up on a rebate, exchange an item, etc., the invoices are right there at my fingertips. The other helpful hint I have is to place your wrapping paper station in an area close to where your package arrive -- I use my dining room table -- and wrap those presents as soon as they come in your front door! Is there anything worse than going into a panic and having to wrap presents the day before Christmas?! Things I'm Thankful for Today
  1. Sleeping late on Saturdays
  2. A warm and cozy house on a cold day
  3. Having a husband willing to help me get caught up on housework today
  4. Talking to my son on the phone last night
  5. Being married to the person I love most in the world -- how cool is that?!?


georgie said...

What great advice...we plan to do more shopping online this year and I like the thought of useing one CC for all purchases...found your from allmed and decided to say Hi

tipper said...

Neat tips! Love your thankful list-very neat to be married to the person you love-I agree!