Shopping Smart Means Saving Smart (Shopping Safety Tips)

By • May 20th, 2011 • Category: Money

For most of us shopping is addictive. We get so much excited that completely forget about sanity. So here’s your essential shopping safety tips and checklist:

Is It Really a Bargain?

The recent economic downturn has seen more and more people being forced to become budget conscious and make cut backs when it comes to their shopping. This lack of disposal income, combined with the need to buy numerous gifts during the holiday season, means that consumers are constantly on the look out for the best deals they can buy.

Unfortunately, in the never ending hunt for bargains, many consumers end up throwing caution to the wind. In the past, market stalls and stores would suddenly appear in towns and cities all over the place, unloading all kinds of questionable merchandise at rock bottom prices. Nowadays things have gotten even worse, with various online outlets making it easy for anyone to sell whatever they want all over the world, making it almost impossible to stop con-artists from selling low-quality or even stolen goods.

My Advice: Your best bet is to use reliable bargain sources. While the coupon code directories and aggregators are numerous, I am subscribed to a selective few. These are:

  • Rather Be Shopping – One of the most established and popular coupon codes directories out there: the deal selection is huge and up-to-date. I have never had a single problem with any coupon code I found there. Besides, there’s a separate section for Consumer Resources there which makes a great addition to our checklist.
  • Mommy Savers.com – Kim does an awesome job sharing best grocery deals and bargains;
  • She Saved.com – The best resource of hand-picked freebies on the web.

The Real Threat: Holiday Season Thefts

We all shop especially active on holidays. So next time you do your back-to-school or Christmas shopping, remember that the holiday season is a perfect time for pickpockets and thieves to practice their trade.

Overloaded shoppers are easy prey for nimble fingered pickpockets, whilst gangs often use distraction techniques or straight out intimidation in order to relieve people of their newly purchased goods.

Stores traditionally hire on all manner of short-term staff during the holidays, not all of whom can be trusted, so even when you think you’re safe, that may not always be the case.

My Advice: Don’t wait until it’s too late: always start shopping for the holidays much earlier (I know it is almost impossible but you have to make it your next holiday season resolution).

4046174448 b81fdf8fa2 m Shopping Smart Means Saving Smart (Shopping Safety Tips)The Checklist!

So to make sure you stay safe when shopping this holiday season, here are a few things you should try to keep in mind:

  • When considering a supposed bargain, make sure it really is a bargain before buying it. If you’re at a retailer you don’t know, you may want to check that the item is genuine. You should also look around to make sure that the price really does offer you a saving, instead of just being a sales technique designed to get you to part with your money.
  • Always try to buy from a reputable source.
  • Try not to carry cash on you, as this makes you a target for criminals.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and keep any expensive personal electronic devices out of sight as much as possible.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings, stay alert and observant.
  • If you can always pay by Credit Card, as it is usually the easiest way to get a refund.
  • When shopping online, make sure the address of the website matches up to the address you expect it to be. Do not enter any personal information or credit card details if you’re not sure.
  • Don’t overload yourself with shopping, always make sure to maintain a clear view and full mobility.
  • Keep a record of all your purchases and check them against your credit card bill, if you notice anything out of the ordinary make sure to call your credit card company immediately.

Remember there is always someone out there waiting to take advantage of some poor unsuspecting soul, the key is to remain vigilant so that you won’t become the next victim of a holiday season scam.

Photo: CC image thanks to Andy Piper

 

 

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