How to De-Stress Your Holiday Shopping

Thanksgiving is upon us and Black Friday just around the corner. The holiday shopping season is ramping up quickly. According to Signal and InfoUSA, total holiday sales are expected to increase 1.8% this year. Online sales are expected to reach $94.71 billion and account for 10.7% of total retail sales.

For many people, holiday shopping can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Here are a few tips and resources to help combat this problem.

  • Printed Circulars Still Popular. Even though online shopping and research is increasing each year, printed sales circulars are still a great way to find deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Email Alerts. Don’t forget to sign up with your favorite retailers for email sales alerts and flash deals. Caution: Don’t click on any unsolicited links or pop-ups ads. Be sure to hover over links without clicking them to see where the link will actually take you.
  • Is That Deal for Real? There are many Black Friday websites claiming to capture the best deals around. Many times companies boast “70 percent off,” but 70 percent off what? Similarly, if a company is advertising a “Going out of Business” sale, don’t automatically assume they are offering the best prices. Before you leave your house, do some comparative price shopping online to help make your Black Friday shopping more efficient.
  • Gift Receipts. Be sure to ask for gift receipts. This one simple step can make returns much easier and quicker.
  • Shipping, Returns, & Refunds. Though we are often in a rush to complete our gift purchase. Take time to understand the shipping, returns, and refund policies before making your purchase. If the information is not readily available, ask the sales clerk or contact the online market place seller. Source: BBB North Alabama

To make sure your gift reaches its destination by Christmas, keep these 2016 U.S. Postal Service Shipping Cut-Off Dates in minds:

DOMESTIC MAIL CLASS/PRODUCT                                                                           DATE

USPS Retail Ground™                                                                                                    Dec. 15

First-Class Mail® Service                                                                                            Dec. 20

Priority Mail® Service                                                                                                   Dec. 21

Priority Mail Express® Service1                                                                                 Dec. 23

Source: usps.com

For more holiday shopping tips and trends for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday go to the 2016 BBB Holiday Helper and Holiday Stats.

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.