The holidays are fast approaching and we’re all trying to make sure that we have the right gift (or two) for the right person. This is where it gets tricky.
So how do you know if you’ve bought the right gift when you can’t ask your sister-in-law or your aunt about their favorite things?
You don’t. That means you need to start looking in places you haven’t looked before–like the Internet. And while there isn’t much of a scientific way to determine which sites should be trusted with your hard-earned money, there are some pretty good guidelines. Here are five tips on how to find the perfect gift online without breaking the bank.
Before you head off into the digital world of shopping, make a list of what you want to spend and stick to it. If you’ve got $50-$100 to play with, you probably won’t go too wild. If you’ve got $200 or more to spend, you might feel like you need to splurge a little bit, but try not to overdo it just because you think you deserve it.
If you’re not sure exactly what to get someone, look around the house and see what you already have to choose from. You may be surprised by what you have!
You’ll also want to consider the recipient’s interests and hobbies. For example, if you know your friend is always on the lookout for new tech products, you could easily snag an iPad or iPhone for her using a site like Amazon and other retail outlets. But if they love gardening as much as you do, you could buy them seeds and an inexpensive shovel to help them start growing vegetables this year.
With smartphones becoming increasingly popular, you can now shop from anywhere–even on the road. Sites like Amazon offer apps for both Android and iOS phones. Not only will you be able to browse the items available on the site, but you can purchase things directly within the app using your phone number (which is stored securely).
This is especially useful for busy people who like to travel. Whether you’re checking out a hotel room or buying clothes for yourself, you can save time and money by shopping from home.
There are other options out there, too. Check out our guide to mobile shopping sites for more ideas.
Check price comparisons
Price comparison websites like Pricegrabber and CamelCamelCamel let you search for prices across multiple retailers. Simply enter a keyword and narrow down your results until you find ones that meet your needs.
These sites aren’t perfect by any means, but they can be a great resource to use when you’re searching for deals online. Just remember that you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively; you’ll still need to check other sources like Antena3 to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
When you’re ready to take a look at sites like Pricegrabber, keep these things in mind:
Only compare prices that include shipping costs. Don’t forget that some stores may offer free shipping, even if they aren’t offering special discounts.
Make sure you read the fine print. Some sites offer lower rates than others, but they may charge fees for certain types of orders. Make sure you understand your payment terms before you begin shopping.
We’d love to hear your best bargain-hunting tips, so share them below!
Look for coupons
As you’re searching for the best deals, you should also look for coupon codes you can apply to your purchases. There are plenty of sites you can visit to find one, including RetailMeNot and Groupon. Both provide you with links to stores that may have coupons you can use to reduce the cost of your purchases.
Just remember that you’re not going to find every coupon code out there, so you’ll have to dig through the different sites to figure out which ones work best for you.
Consider the recipient
Finally, you need to consider whether or not you’re buying something suitable for the person receiving the gift. Will it fit well enough? Does it match their style? Is it comfortable?
Don’t worry about giving them everything they’ve ever wanted. In fact, don’t bother getting anything they didn’t specifically request. You’re not likely to offend anyone by giving them something that doesn’t suit their style.
Instead, focus on finding something they’ll enjoy. Think about what you know about them and try to imagine what sort of gift would be fun and appropriate. Then, check out some of the suggestions above to see if they fit your criteria. As long as you know what you’re getting, you’ll be able to pick the perfect gift.