Get the most out of your real world and online holiday shopping trips with our smart tips.
- Stick to your budget. Create a gift budget to limit overspending. Making a list and checking it twice can help you limit impulse purchases.
- Seek out sales. Check your newspapers for coupons and look for ads on legitimate retailer websites. Comparison shop for the best prices.
- Shop securely. Always use secure, encrypted, "https" websites when buying online. Don't use the same password for shopping or creating user accounts as for your bank account.
- Be aware of shipping deadlines. Place orders early if you want them to arrive by the holidays. The U.S. Postal Service offers specific deadlines to keep in mind.
- Know your rights. Lookup return and refund policies before making a purchase.
- Research websites and companies. Read reviews for purchases, paying attention to complaints or hints of scams. Check out a company's rating and complaint history with the Better Business Bureau.