A Few Less Shopping Headaches

People love swapping holiday shopping stories: the nightmares, the finds and the victories. I’ve collected some of my favorite shopping tips that you might not know about. Hopefully these will help you survive the holiday shopping season, sanity and wallet intact.

Price Protection without Lifting a Finger

Most people don’t know, forget or find it too much trouble to get the price protection refund that many credit card companies and retailers offer – sometimes a 60 or 90-day price protection on purchases.

That’s where Earny comes in. If you have an electronic receipt and you register with them, they’ll do all the work of getting you a refund on the difference if the price of the purchased item drops. You pay Earny 25% of the refunded money as a service fee. And then you don’t have to do anything but collect your refund. It’s all automatic. Today Earny works with more than 35 top vendors including Amazon, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Costco, the Gap Group, Nordstrom, Overstock, Walmart and others.

More Found Money on Coupons, Loyalty and Cashback

Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping gives you 5 more reasons never to throw out your receipt from a purchase. With apps like ibotta or Punchcard you can automate coupon redemption. Just be careful. All of these apps work with some, but not all stores. Personally, I find the online process just as tedious as the clipping of coupons in the real world, but maybe you’re not one of them. For buying discount gift cards try Raise.com.

Phishing For the Holidays

If you’re worried about phishing attacks and phony offers some of the best advice comes from PSafe, the makers of DFNDR, a mobile safety app. According to the site, Phishing scams now appear in SMS messages and popular chat services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger with increasing frequency. Especially during the holiday season, sophisticated ad promotions, such as e-coupons, giveaways, and contests are being created by hackers to fool consumers into giving up their personal information. Be on the alert for any message where the URL does not match what it’s offering, includes attachments or pressures you to “ACT” now.

Know When to Expect Your Mail and Packages: FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service will let you track your packages.

UPS gives you a number of options (requiring a signature from the receiving party is always best). A new service we love from the U.S. Postal Service is called Informed Delivery. It shows you a scan of the pieces of mail arriving in your box each day. If you’re expecting a holiday check, you should do this now.

Amazon Flow Compares Pricing: If you’re an Amazon junkie, use Flow inside of the Amazon Mobile App. All you need to do is open your Amazon app on your mobile device and use the camera icon to snap a photo of something or scan a barcode. Amazon will then look up its price for the same item. Not always perfect at finding a match, but pretty darn good.

Cancelling a catalog: If catalogs are overtaking your real-world mailbox you can remedy that, too. Catalog Choice lets you enter the name of any catalog you don’t want to receive any longer.

Buying Bulk Gifts: I’ve found that buying gifts for a large group works well on Etsy where you can talk to the seller about ordering in bulk and strike a deal. My second favorite bulk buying is Groupon though I will say my family didn’t totally appreciate the Escape Room outing.

Buying for Older Adults : The best present I can think of for someone who’s getting a little frail is Best Buy’s Assured Living Package. It’s not inexpensive, starting at $189.97 plus a monthly fee of $30, but may be worth it. The package includes a control panel, motion sensor, bed pressure sensor and a door/window sensor. The Assured Living monthly service gives you access to Wellness Coaching and a dashboard and app that help keep you aware of your loved one's daily activities and changes in routine.

Remember, ‘tis better to give than receive, but it always feels better if you can save a little time and effort as you give. Happy Holidays!

Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today’s digital consumer.

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