Contributed By: Jon Freeman

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular. If you need proof just look at the most popular shopping days of the year: Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

When you are shopping online you want to find the right product at a good price. Spending time doing some research and preparing can really pay off for you in the end. The following are tips people can use when shopping online during the upcoming shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Plan – Set a budget of how much you are willing to spend on the item you are looking to purchase. You don’t want to buy something in the excitement of the moment when shopping online and then regret overspending on it later.

2. Compare Products – You may want to use search engines to find out more information about a specific company, product or brand. You could even type the name into a search engine along with the words “review”, “complaint”, or “scam” to learn more information about it. Read reviews online from experts, columnists, and refer to Consumer Reports to get a better idea of the quality and performance of a product or company.

3. Compare Costs – Compare the costs of what you are thinking about purchasing. Before buying a product try looking for it to see if it on sale somewhere else for less. Keep shipping costs in mind when purchasing stuff online. Read return policies for websites you are considering buying from before you make your purchase. Some places may charge some type of fee when an item is returned. Consider using coupon codes when making an online purchase. Do a search engine search for the company or website you are buying something from with words like “discount”, “coupon code”, or “free shipping” to see if you can find a coupon code you could use to reduce your final cost of making the purchase.

4. Check Out – When it is time check out and put in your card information make sure the website starts with “https” at the beginning of the web address. The “s” added at the end of “http” stands for secure. When you see the “s” at the end of “https” it means communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

Remember that you can also use the Gwinnett Library’s Personal Finance GCPL Guide to find more great information about finances and managing your money.