MacMost Now 482: 10 Holiday Shopping Tips

Today is the traditional start for the American holiday shopping season. Here are ten tips for shopping online to buy gifts. Also, check out http://macmost.com/apple-store-discounts for better prices on Apple products.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, I'm gonna give you 10 holiday shopping tips.
I think the first tip is pretty obvious. It is to simply shop online. But, I'm surprised at how many people who say they shop online, don't actually do it. For instance, people that go to the Apple store often buy products there, but they never take the time to look at other stores online to see if the prices are any better.
And that brings me to tip #2, which is Apple's never the cheapest place to buy Apple products. Now, you can buy them in-store, or you can buy them online at the Apple store, but Apple's always going to charge the exact retail price for every product. Sometimes, if you shop around, and go to other places, like say MacMall, or Buy.com, Amazon.com, places like that, you'll find the same Apple products for a few dollars cheaper. Sometimes, they'll be the same price, but you'll get more for them. For instance, if you go to buy a Mac online, sometimes you'll get extra memory, or perhaps even Applecare thrown in for free.
My next tip is even when you're online, still, search for the best price. And one way to do this is to actually just use Google. So, for instance, we'll search for an iPod nano. Now, once you've done the search, go to the top and you'll see a link for Shopping. And then google actually will compare prices for the product you're searching for, and you can even dig deeper into it than that, look at reviews, and see prices at different stores. It even gives prices for stores that are near you, so if the better price is actually in a retail store, you'll find out this way.
Now another tip I've got for you is to save money on shipping. Go and sign up for Amazon Prime. It's actually a free, 30-day trial, so it's actually a perfect time to sign up for it and give it a try. What Amazon Prime gets you is free 2-day shipping, and you get a reduced price on 1-day shipping. I find this very useful, especially if you're buying products to ship directly to the person getting the holiday gift. It costs $79 a year, so if you ship a lot of gifts, holiday gifts, birthday gifts throughout the year, it can quickly add up to save you money.
Now another way to save money when shopping is to look for online coupons to the stores that you're shopping at. You can do this usually just by searching google. There are a lot of sites that claim to list all the coupons, but none of them really do, so you just do a general search, say with the name of the store, or the domain name for an online store, and the word coupon, and see what comes up, and you're gonna get a lot of junk. As a matter of fact, most of what you're going to get is a lot of expired coupons that just don't work, but every once in a while you'll get a little gem, save yourself 5, 10 percent, 20 bucks, whatever.
Now of course, in addition to saving money, you wanna make sure you get the right gift. So you wanna read online reviews. Most online shopping sites, like Amazon, will show you a lot of reviews. But one word of warning: don't just look at the star rating. For instance, if it gets 3 stars, don't just take that; read the reviews. You're gonna find on these sites that there are a lot of 1-star and 5-star reviews that aren't actually even reviewing the product. People maybe are complaining about shipping, or maybe they ordered the wrong thing. There is a lot of different things out there; you wanna actually read the information that people post about the product and not just look at the rating. Now if you're gonna go shopping online, another piece of advice I have for you is, order early, because there's always delays in shipping. Even overnight or 2-day shipping, even if you do it just a couple days before the holiday, you're gonna find that there might be delays, maybe at your end, locally, in your neighborhood. Always make sure you've built in a couple extra days for shipping.
My next piece of advice is to order extra early. The reason for this is because when you walk into a store, you're actually looking at the product and you know you've got the right thing when you leave. But when you order online, especially during the busy holiday season, you may find that every once in a while, you get the wrong thing delivered. You wanna make sure there is enough time to return the product and get the correct one if there is a problem.
Now here's another piece of advice I have for you. A lot of people shop online to avoid paying sales taxes. Some online sites charge sales tax like you're buying it locally. Others don't. Well, the problem is that you still owe that sales tax. In the United States, and almost all states there is something called "use tax" and you're supposed to pay the sales tax if you get something tax-free online. Of course, this doesn't apply if you live in a state that doesn't have a sales tax. Now, in the past, states have kind of ignored this; you could buy things online without paying your sales taxes. But, with state budgets being tighter than ever, I have a feeling that in this coming year, states are gonna be paying a lot more attention to who's buying stuff online without paying taxes, and sending them a bill. So you, something you wanna watch out for. Sometimes it's just easier to buy from a site that already charges sales taxes, and know that you've got it covered.
My last piece of advice to you is to look at the different ways that you could buy things. Look at your credit cards, your debit cards, and check them all to see what sort of fraud protection and buyer's protection they offer. Figure out which one is your best option for buying things online. Some of them actually offer extra security for buying products on online sites, so you wanna use the one that's best for buying online. So there are 10 tips for buying things online for the holidays, hope you liked it. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 482: 10 Holiday Shopping Tips”

    Rich Howell
    11/26/10 @ 7:55 am

    I’m curious…it seems that the iPad is everything the iPhone is, without the phone. Have you ever compared the iPod, iPhone, and iPad? For example, I think I’d buy the iPad if it offered GPS navigation. I’m not interested in the phone. I’d really like to see what makes each product unique.

      11/26/10 @ 8:20 am

      The iPhone is unique in that it has: mobile phone network connection, 5MP/720p camera, GPS.
      The iPod Touch is unique in that it has: cameras (not as good as the iPhone), cheap price tag.
      The iPad is unique in that it has: large screen, iPad-only apps (built for large screen).
      Also note that size is a big factor in why people choose. You simply can’t put the iPad in your pocket. This is very important for some people.
      There are many factors to consider, and whether each is important depends on the individual. You say you are not interested in the “phone” but for others that it is a critical feature.
      The iPad (3G model) has GPS, so I suppose some navigation apps may work on it. It may not be the same as a dedicated navigation device, but you can find your way to somewhere.

    Claire Gehrett
    12/2/10 @ 12:53 pm

    Loved it….. Thanks I’ll save on Reunion 9 by doing your suggestions…..

Comments Closed.