Last minute online bargains for Xmas
Today is the last day to do your Christmas shopping at the biggest online retailers. Here's how to find a last minute bargain online!
Apparently, one in five of us have shouted at or verbally abused staff or fellow customers whilst shopping. Yikes!
Long check out queues, rude shop workers and pushy customers who jump the line are among the main reasons why so many of us lash out.
If that sounds like your idea of hell, I'm guessing you're already planning to do most of your Christmas shopping online.
But you'd better hurry, because today is the last day that major retailers like Amazon and Play.com offer free delivery in time for Christmas!
Here's a complete guide to how to find the best bargains in time:
Find a bargain, any bargain
If you don't know what you want to buy someone but you know you want a bargain, check out pricecutreview.com/uk, a website of all the top discounted items on Amazon. Alternatively, use http://deallocker.com/tool/secret-amazon-discount/ to uncover discounts of up to 99% on Amazon in any category. You can even do a search by brand or keyword if you want to.
Another good site we like use to find bargains here at lovemoney.com is hotukdeals.com, where users list the hottest bargains they've come across. For example, this week, one user listed the Rambo 1 - 4 DVD boxset as £6.89 including delivery from sendit.com.
And of course, don't forget bargaincheck.com, where you can search for common misspellings of items on eBay, as these often don't receive as many bids. For example, when I looked, you could pick up the Wii Fit game (mis-spelled wiifit) for only £1.
Use Twitter and Facebook
If you thought your social networking site was just a way to see what old classmates are up to, think again. Retailers are becoming internet-savvy and are now using them to target specific consumers - with many sending offer codes and deals directly to us.
Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Sainsbury's are just a few of the retailers experimenting with this technique, so if your favourite store has a social networking page sign up - you never know what you might be offered!
Find the cheapest price
Save with discount codes
Now you know where you want to buy your item from, see if there are any discount codes available for the retailer in question.
These codes, offered by the retailers themselves work in two ways - they save us money - which retailers hope will encourage us to spend more. Who cares - just use the codes to your advantage and you'll have the last laugh.
Once you've found a code don't hang about - they usually expire pretty quickly so put your order in as soon as possible. Depending on what the code is, if you have more than one item to order you may find it works out cheaper to order them separately (using the code each time). Do your sums and find out.
What's more, time is running out.
Delivery in time for Christmas
If you want your gifts to arrive in time for Christmas Day, and you don't want to pay for delivery, you'd better hurry.
Amazon states if you want to snap up its free, supersaver delivery you have to do it today (Friday 18th) or it will arrive after Christmas. However,don't panic if you're not ready - you can order right up til the 23rd Dec if you are willing to pay for Express delivery. Find out more here.
Similarly, the last date for ordering with Play.com if you want delivery before Christmas is also today, Friday 18th December. This is also true for Waterstones.com if you want free delivery.
Meanwhile, with M&S, you have until the 20th December for standard delivery, or 22nd December for nominated day delivery, to arrive by Christmas.
John Lewis allows you until 21st December for pre-Christmas delivery of gift, fashion and home products, but if you're ordering furniture, you must do it today (Friday 18th).
Firebox.com also allows you until midday, Monday 21st December for standard delivery orders, and until midday, Wednesday 23rd December for express delivery orders.
If you know of any more dates for ordering, please post them below so that other lovemoney.com readers can benefit.
Use a cashback credit card
Next is your method of payment. Now we all know the benefits of using a credit card online for disciplined shoppers. Not only is it convenient, if you spend over £100 you're also protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Should anything go wrong you'll be able to claim against the credit card provider.
And if you use a cashback credit card you'll earn a little bit of cash every time you spend on the card. It may not seem like a lot but over the space of a year it can add up to enough to buy a new iPod shuffle (or even an iPod touch!).
And there's more cashback to be made by shopping through a cashback website such as Quidco or TopCashBack. Shopping with one of their affiliated retailers will earn you a little cashback which can be collected when you reach a certain level (subject to an administration fee in some cases). Alternatively, shopping with Kidstart will earn cashback for your children.
Know your rights
But of course, one thing that puts some of us off online shopping is what do we do when things go wrong? Can faulty items be returned - will we get our money back? While we know where we stand on the High street, we're never too sure with online retailers.
Well the news is good. Not only do we have exactly the same rights when shopping online as in a shop, we're further protected by the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.
You can find out exactly how in this article, but to sum it up, unlike shopping in a store, if you shop online you have a 7 day cooling-off period after receiving the goods to change your mind. And that's for any reason at all - not just because the item is faulty. So if you order online, do make sure you check your item over when you receive it (don't just wrap it up and forget about it!).
Make sure it is what you ordered and lives up to the description given on the website. This way you'll know straight away if you are not happy with it and be able to send it back for a replacement/refund.
But of course if an item is faulty you have rights to a refund, repair, repair, replacement or compensation at a later date under the Sale of Goods Act.
But choose carefully..
That said, it's vital to shop with reputable retailers. Pick companies and brands you recognise and ensure they have a phone number in case of problems.
So there you have it - your guide to online shopping. Follow these tips and not only will you pay the lowest prices for your items, you'll know where you stand should things go wrong to boot.
Get help from lovemoney.com
If the festive season is leaving you a little strapped for cash, lovemoney.com can help you boost that income!
First, adopt this goal: Make some extra money
Next, watch this video: How to save when you've got no money
Finally, why not have a wander over to Q&A and ask other lovemoney.com members for advice?