Bargain hunters unite!

Tips for smart and safe online shopping

By Leah Ching

Black Friday is right around the corner and for those students who can’t be in line at 5:00 a.m. to get into the malls, online shopping may be the best way to snag some deals. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of the experience!

Firstly, some stores are actually having pre-Black Friday sales with web only deals that can start as early as American Thanksgiving. Make sure and do some research and to be able to beat the rush.

Dedicated shoppers may want to have a look at some websites like, which compare online retailers’ prices and offer you the lowest of them. More and more stores are starting Black Friday sales as much as two weeks in advance, so you never know where a few deals might pop up.

While there may seem to be great deals online, shipping is always a sneaky little hidden cost. Some sites offer free shipping but with certain U.S. based retailers that ship to Canada, shipping costs may amount to more than an actual purchase. If there’s a branch of the store close to home, shipping to that store and picking it up later is a simple way to bypass those fees.

Finally, while having fun finding those Black Friday deals is important, it’s always good to remember that Black Friday is an Internet scammer’s field day. No one wants to fall prey to identity theft or a stolen credit card number.

It’s always good to remember that while there’s going to be lots of sales, it might be smart to stick with familiar retailers. If the shopping site being used is unfamiliar, and the deals look too hard to pass up, it may just be because they are.

Warning signs that a retailer isn’t legitimate include subtle misspellings of brand names, low-resolution company logos and photos, as well as unencrypted sites. A website that is encrypted for your security will start with “Https://” rather than “Http://.”

Another option shoppers can consider using is a one-time-use credit card or a pre-paid visa gift card, which include a credit card numbers that do not have personal information linked to it; and if the number is stolen, it cannot be used again. Besides extra security, this is a good idea for those who don’t have a credit card, or those whose credit card is nearing its limit but still want to get in on the online deals.

Whatever one is in the market for, research is always helpful! Couponing, discount codes, and early bird browsing will ensure that you come out on top with the best deals. Just make sure not to skip out on class to shop!



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