With Expected Rise in Online Shopping This Holiday Season, American Consumer Credit Counseling Offers Tips on Shopping Smart on the Web

As more consumers turn to the Internet to purchase gifts, national financial education non-profit offers strategies for online spending during this upcoming holiday season.

Boston, MA – November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014 — With the upcoming holiday season around the corner, both retailers and consumers are gearing up for the holiday shopping rush. This year, in their 2014 eHoliday study, the National Retail Foundation found that over half of shoppers, 56 percent, are expecting to do at least part of their holiday shopping online. The survey also showed that online shoppers will spend 16 percent more than those who do not shop on the web. In order to prepare consumers for their online shopping experience, American Consumer Credit Counseling has provided guidelines for shopping sensibly on the web during the holidays.

“Online commerce is huge now, and it is only going to continue to grow,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “More and more Americans are turning to the Internet to do their holiday shopping, and we want to make sure they are shopping conscientiously by having a plan in place, sticking to a budget, and taking advantage of savings opportunities.”

ACCC offers these simple and easy tips to save consumers money and to help them shop smartly this season:

Pick the Right Days to Shop:

During the season, retailers and consumers capitalize upon certain days that are prime for purchasing holiday gifts. The weeks following Halloween, November 2nd to November 12th, are often times advertised as “Early Black Friday.” Look for deals that retailers might hold for early shoppers. November 29th brings the most anticipated shopping day, “Black Friday.” This is the biggest shopping day of the year. Generally, websites will host sales throughout the weekend along with flash sales that occur for a short period of time. On December 2nd, from low-end to upscale merchants, everyone has broad deals on “Cyber Monday.” Make sure to get to these sales before items sell out! Finally, December 21st – 24th is crunch time for retailers. Big ticket items that haven’t sold yet will continue to be discounted, and prices will continue to drop as the holiday approaches.

Ship Smart:

If you know you have a few big purchases to buy, wait to buy them all together in order to save on shipping costs. Some places tend to waive shipping fees if an order is over a certain price. Amazon, for example, is one of many companies that offer free shipping on orders over $35.

Take Advantage of Promotions and Discount Websites:

Before you make a purchase at a retailer be sure to search for promo codes and coupons. You can do a simple search engine inquiry for “(insert company) coupon codes.” There are various websites that offer promos that other users have already submitted. On the website RetailMeNot, users can rate whether the promos have worked or not, so that shoppers will know which ones to try. There are also a plethora of online shopping websites that host sample sales, flash sales, or timed online designer clearance. You can find deals for 50-70 percent off.

Sites include: Gilt, RueLaLa, Beyond the Rack, HauteLook, Jack Threads, or Piperlime. There are a variety of sites like Groupon that offer local coupons and discounts for merchants, businesses, travel, and other services that can be gifted. Living Social, Scoutmob, Fab, and Savored are other sites that offer Groupon-like services. Also, be sure to check deals you might already have access to. Certain credit cards offer a merchant-funded rewards program and an online merchant mall. If this is the case, you can go to the retailer’s website using the card’s online portal and get a discount on your item.

Shop Cautiously:

When shopping through numerous deals, be careful not to make any unnecessary spontaneous purchases. It is easy to get sucked into the deals that websites are promoting; go into your shopping knowing exactly what you are looking for, and buy only that. In order to easily keep track of these purchases and know what they were for and where they were bought, use only one credit card, with a low limit. This will also help you budget. Also, before you make these purchases, be sure to compare before you buy. There are many comparison websites available such as Google Shopping and Bizrate. In general, during the holiday rush, be sure to make an initial budget and stick with it!

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers financial resources and education that help consumers overcome financial strains and develop good spending habits to maintain a debt free future. ACCC encourages consumers to utilize a holiday budget planner as they prepare for the shopping season to begin.

American Consumer Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management, offers free financial workshops on topics ranging from budgeting to credit to identity theft.

ACCC’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. These financial education programs help consumers to better understand and manage their finances. ACCC’s holiday spending poll is the first in a series of planned monthly polls related to budgeting and spending habits, intended to help consumers recognize their budgeting needs. ACCC plans to post these polls and the results on their website and Facebook page.