How to Avoid Spending Too Much Money on Toys

Use Internet Resources to Save Money Shopping for Children

Ideas for smart and budget-conscious Internet shoppers: compare prices and shipping fees from multiple online vendors, check original retail prices, combine purchases.

More and more shoppers are relying on Internet shopping to save time and gas money. By following some simple tips, bargain-conscious parents can save even more money by finding toys for children at the best possible prices.

Research the Price of an Item at Various Websites.

Use the Internet to compare product prices. Savvy consumers never assume that an item is available from only one online retailer or for only one price. Magazine readers often read reviews of products that provide information about an online site where the item may be purchased. A person interested in buying that product should go to that site first to check the product out and make sure that it is what they are looking for. A smart shopper, however, will not buy the product from that site without first checking to see if it is also available elsewhere.

To find and compare product prices most easily:

  • plug the product name and variants of it into Internet search engines to find other retailers that carry it or similar items
  • check at Amazon, eBay, and Buy.com to see if sellers there offer it for a different price
  • find and use online sites that pull prices from many online retailers onto one page for ease of comparisons, such as MSN Shopping, PriceGrabber, and mySimon
  • use an online product tracker site or web service such as TrackerBob or NowInStock that partner with the leading online retailers to keep track of and notify consumers when the most popular, hard-to-get items are available and in stock at different sites

Check Researched Prices Against an Independently Confirmed Normal Retail Price.

Confirm the normal retail price for a product before buying it “at a discount” or “on sale.” Often online marketers will quote a retail price for a product, then cross that price out and highlight the price for which they are offering the item. These online vendors hope to persuade consumers that they will be saving a great deal of money by purchasing the item from this particular vendor. However, some unscrupulous online retailers might be quoting an unfairly high original price to make the possible savings to the customer seem greater than they are.

Smart shoppers should not believe that the quoted pre-sale retail price for an item is actually the normal retail price without confirming that information independently from at least one or two objective sources.

Research and Compare Shipping and Sales Tax Costs at Different Shopping Websites.

The price of an item may be cheaper at one online shopping website than another, but the overall cost of purchasing the item from that site might skyrocket once the consumer adds in the shipping and tax costs. In that case, purchasing the item from the second site is a better deal overall, even though the item price is less expensive at the first site. When examining shipping costs:

  • look for shopping websites that offer flat fee shipping rates
  • look for online vendors that offer free or reduced shipping if the consumer spends a certain amount of money at the site
  • take into account the weight of the item if shipping is determined by that

Compare the Best Price for an Item with the Cost of Buying the Item at a Local Store.

For the sake of completeness, the best shoppers should now phone local retailers and collect information about the cost of the item at actual shops. Smart consumers should not forget to factor in the cost of the gas and the time needed to travel to the local store.

Combine Purchases and Buy Items from as Few Sites as Possible

Once the decision has been made to purchase items online, consumers should save on shipping costs by buying as many of the items on their shopping lists from the same online vendors in as few orders as possible.

Internet shopping grows easier and more convenient each day. With some smart planning, budget-conscious consumers can easily save money by purchasing items for children online.

Safe Online Shopping Tips

Buying Online with Consumer Protection Act and Firewall Protection

Online shopping has become a multi-billion pound business, but so has online fraud. Firewall protection helps, but the Consumer Protection Act is the shopper’s saviour.

The UK’s Internet shopping market is worth more than £21.4 billion, with more than 20 million people buying online in the last year, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

It isn’t surprising that, with the kind of money at stake, online fraud has grown exponentially. However, online fraud isn’t the only risk facing those who do online shopping. There are also company insolvencies and unethical business practices to negotiate.

Secure Internet Shopping

Prior to entering credit card details at checkout, make sure that the web site the purchase is being made at is secure. A secure web site is denoted by the following:

  • A padlock should be displayed on the bottom of the browser frame;
  • The http:\\ prefix should change to https:\\. The additional ‘s’ denotes that the web site is secure.

Use Firewall Protection when Buying Online

Utilising firewall protection is important in terms of preventing hackers from accessing credit and debit card details. If a victim of online fraud, it is possible to contact the bank that issued the card and commence a credit card chargeback to recover any money lost.

Internet Shopping and S 75 of the Consumer Protection Act 1974

The Consumer Protection Act 1974 affords a credit card customer protection on any purchase made that is between £100 and £30,000. If the company the purchase has been made from has gone out of business, it is possible to claim the money back from the credit card provider.

Safe Online Shopping – Register for MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by VISA

Verified by VISA and 3DS are the Internet’s answer to chip-and-pin. Registering for these means that any online shopping payments will require the entry of a password and not just the CV2 code off the back of the card.

According to Apacs, “Consumer uptake of online authentication schemes Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode has increased by 600% in the past two years.”

Beware of Gift Vouchers and the Risk of Business Insolvency

Brad King, the managing director of compareandsave.com, stated that “There is a risk that people may be buying goods from businesses that are likely to collapse during these difficult economic times.”

A number of high profile businesses, including Woolworth’s and XL Leisure, have gone into receivership. Be careful not to buy gift vouchers that will have no value or goods that can’t be returned.

Don’t let the risks of online shopping get in the way, simply be aware of the risks and take a few sensible precautions. If the worst does happen, there are legislative and protective measures in place to help the victim to financially recover.