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Why Shopping Online This Festive Season Makes Better Sense - Outside View by PersonalFN
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Why Shopping Online This Festive Season Makes Better Sense
Aug 24, 2017

With offers and super-saver deals vying for attention, both online and offline, are you ready for the thrill of a shopping spree this festive season?

Let's face it, whatever your ulterior motive is, retail therapy works for most of us. And, we are talking about both women and men here. It has been observed that treating yourself with something nice has a lasting impact on mood. And what better way to shop, from the comfort of your home.

The power of technology gives your fingertips the power to buy anything you want and have it delivered to your door-step within a few days. This saves your time and energy; and you are constantly informed about the sale alert, discounts, and offers.

If you haven't got on the online shopping bandwagon yet, here are a host of advantages to start:

  1. Convenience

    After a tiring day, the thought of venturing out to shop, navigating through heavy traffic is a major deterrent. Online shopping sites have become a space where convenience and quality co-exist.

    You don't end up waiting in serpentine queues at cash counters; secondly, you can shop at any time of the day from anywhere, on break at a coffee shop, and even while commuting from work to home and back.

    Plus, some good online shopping sites have everything you want from designer to grey-market / unbranded goods and apparels, circumventing the ordeal of hopping from one place to another or the disappointment of not finding exactly what you wanted. This saves a considerable amount of your precious time, energy, and fuel.

  2. Exciting offers

    You see, online retailers come up with many attractive offers every season. And to entice customers they display flash sales, double discount, cash-back offers, etc. Many of them also offer "pay on delivery" option.

    Competitive pricing on online shopping portals allows you to get the best deal. All you need to do is, swipe your debit or credit card to avail of the offer. So, thoughtfully use your credit card to earn even while you spend to make the best of these offers.

  3. Compare prices

    Compared to brick-and-mortar outlets, you don't have to settle for whatever the price-tag is and you can compare product prices across different online shopping portals. This gets you the best deal and value for money.

  4. A variety of options

    Online shopping portals offer countless choices, while shops or malls tend to stack a limited selection owing to space constraints. And even if you can't find a product on one online portal, you could find it on another, without having to physically hop around. All you have to do is swap tabs from one site to another and have access to a world of options. You can look up the model number, price, size, colour, by correctly using the filter option on the app.

  5. Consumer Reviews

    Before you decide and add the product to your shopping cart, reading up on a few consumer reviews can prove useful. The reviews are available for practically most products, which could quell your doubts/worries, if any. So, look at the reviews to take an informed decision.

Largely, online shopping makes your life easier and gives you more quantitative and qualitative options.

On the side of caution, keep these points in mind when shopping online...

  • Ensure your privacy

    When you shop online, read the privacy policy terms available to safeguard your data. Check if the online store values the confidentiality of all the data shared.

    Preferably, transact credit/debit card payments through online portals that use HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) which is a secure version of HTTP--the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website it's connected to. Additionally, ensure that your system is protected with anti-virus software, so malicious virus and phishing issues are managed.

  • Check for shipping and refund policy

    When purchasing, make sure to check the shipping policy of the online shopping site. Read the fine print on the return and refund policy. Take care to enter your shipping address details correctly so that the purchased merchandise reaches you on time.

  • Use your credit card with care

    Credit cards, apart from giving you the power to spend money and repay it at a later time, carry benefits and discounts. However, in the interest of your long-term financial wellbeing, use your credit card thoughtfully. To avoid reckless usage of your credit card, determine the amount that you could spend every month, plan your family's personal expenses (such as apparels, accessories, etc.) in advance, draw up a budget, and ensure your family sticks to it.

  • Assess what you need

    Remember that while shopping during a sale is not financially hazardous, it must be undertaken only if you genuinely need to purchase things and not merely because they are available at a discount. If you impulsively purchase things without assessing your needs, there are slim chances you will actually use it later, resulting in a complete waste of money and space.

    For instance, shops might have offers such as "buy 3, get 1 free". You might be enticed to buy three things, for that one free thing, irrespective of whether you even need those any of it in the first place.

    Hence, be watchful of the item/s you add to shopping bag/cart. The money saved, as mentioned earlier, can be utilised or invested in savings, mutual funds, recurring deposits, and terms deposits to achieve your long-term financial goals.

  • Avail of loyalty points and cash-backs

    Don't forget to use your existing loyalty points on the credit/debit card while shopping or paying utility bills, and/or on travel and hotel bookings. Likewise, avail of cashback offers on them to save more money.

At the end of the day

PersonalFN is of the view that, as much as earning good returns on your investments is important to you, curtailing avoidable expenses is important.

Festive sales will continue year after year, but spending more means you will probably save less and invest lesser. Remember, frivolous choices can damage your financial health in the long run. It is imperative that you first save to achieve financial security and then spend on lifestyle and leisure. This does not mean sacrificing all your wants and desires, but it does mean planning for them in a prudent manner. We believe charting an appropriate financial plan and diligently following it will enable you to achieve your financial goals and enjoy a comfortable quality of life.

Also, the money that you save can be productively allocated towards the assets such as mutual funds, gold, ETFs, and so on.

To provide you with superlative guidance on investing in mutual funds, PersonalFN built a readymade Strategic Portfolio for 2025 only for you. It is an exclusive offer for long-term investors seeking to build their wealth at calculated risk. We highly recommend that you opt in for it.

Happy shopping and festive greetings!

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.


The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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Mar 21, 2018 02:21 PM