It’s beginning to look a lot like …
It’s the most wonderful…
Is there actually a non-cliché way to start this guide? Side note: did you know the word cliché is onomatopoeic? Well, that’s one way to start it!
Christmas 2018 has rocked its way into our lives already! Personally, it feels like it’s skipped a few months but regardless it’s here and you need to start that Christmas shopping. With that in mind, I want to share with you some tips I’ve picked up in recent years with these 10 online shopping tips that’ll save you time and money this Christmas.
- Use Revolut
- Shopping on Amazon.co.uk
- Virtual UK Address and Delivery Companies
- Check PriceSpy.ie
1. Use Revolut
I’m a massive fan of Revolut and Christmas shopping online is a perfect example of why I believe they are one of the best digital banking providers in Ireland. Shopping online comes with a certain level of unavoidable risk. You don’t bring your purchase home so it might get banged up. You most likely don’t get to talk to someone before you purchase so you could buy the wrong thing. Returns might be more difficult, depending on where you bought from. And, most importantly, you have to hand over your card details to an online store.
Revolut is not an official bank, but it’s also not far off it. I’ve noticed more and more people are using Revolut in Ireland, seeing people every day in queues ahead of be pulling out the distinctive card they offer. For all extensive purposes and day to day transacting, Revolut offers a debit card like all Irish banks. They go one step further, if not several, and offer a wide range of incredible digital services too.
So how can Revolut help you at Christmas?
Well, if you don’t like handing over your payment details to online shops, why not use Revolut? The benefits of this are twofold
You can add your own primary bank card to Revolut and easily top it up with cash in an instant. Revolut will send you a physical card but also assign you virtual cards too. This means you can pay online with a throwaway card. If you get a mail in a few months time saying your card was used on a dodgy site, deleted it and get another, safe in the knowledge that your financial details with your primary bank remain untouched.
2. Shop in Local Currency
I’m going to go on about Amazon.co.uk in a minute, but first of all, we need to talk about Sterling. Lads, the arse has fallen out of Sterling in recent months:
Now is the time to shop on Amazon.co.uk. I really do want everyone to try and shop locally at some stage. It’s important. But still, no one has a bottomless wallet to go crazy on, so if you’re looking to save a few shillings, Amazon.co.uk is a great place to make the most out of Sterling and Brexit.
Revolut lets you shop in local currency too. By that, I mean you can pay on Amazon.co.uk in Sterling instead of using Amazon’s currency converter. Amazon’s currency exchange rate has never been great so by using Revolut, not only are you protecting your card details, you’re protecting your funds too!
Sign up to Revolut now and I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it. I’m just back from New York where I didn’t once worry about foreign exchange or carrying cash because I always had access to the best rates for Dollars with Revolut.
Ok, this one is Marmite. Ironically, I used a Britishism to kick off this section. Like Revolut, it’s hard to ignore when a new product or service is being increasingly used by the general public. I don’t just mean early adopters either. Older generations are now adapting how they shop, shifting online and even towards UK retailers in search of a better deal. In fact, a whopping 83% of Irish people said they shop online with UK online retailers.
This isn’t a figure to celebrate. Unfortunately, the high street in Ireland and Irish online retailers have been left behind be foreign counterparts and this has led to a massive amount of Irish money leaving the country for goods. Money talks but Irish online retailers haven’t listened. That’s another story I’m afraid. The headline of the story I’m going to tell is shopping on Amazon.co.uk will save you money.
shopping on Amazon.co.uk will save you money
I’m currently reviewing the Nebula Capsule, an Android-powered projector the size of a 330ml coke can. If you want to pick that up on the high street in Ireland you could grab it in Brown Thomas for €580. You can save a small bit by going online with Littlewoods Ireland, picking up the same projector for €560. Or, you could shop on Amazon.co.uk, save €170 altogether and still watch movies on the wall of your gaff.
That’s a lot of popcorn people.
I can attest to Amazon’s after sales care being incredible too. I’ve been in situations where refunds are given without question as the company will always air on the side of caution and side with the customer.
Now, if you’re going to order from Amazon, you’re going to need to know about virtual UK addresses.
3. Virtual UK Address and Delivery Companies
People work. Because of that, getting deliveries shipped to your home address isn’t always an option. While some employers don’t mind you getting packages delivered to the office, others may ban it outright. They creates a massive barrier for shopping online. Fortunately, many courier companies have spotted this gap in the market and moved quick to fill it, stragely, each of them offers something slightly different too.
In Ireland we have:
- Parcel Motel by Nightline
- AddressPal by An Post
- Parcel Wizard by DPD
- Parcel Connect by Fastway Couriers
Parcel Motel by Nightline
Parcel Motel is probably one of the most popular delivery solutions for people, depending on proximity to a locker. Parcel Motel has built small lockers in select locations around the country where you can get packages delivered for a small fee. You can get packages shipped to Parcel Motel instead of your own address or workplace and then pick it up when it suits you – once that’s within 48 hours of it entering the locker!
It costs just €3.95 per night for your package to stay in one of these lockers and if you’re ordering from the UK, this can pay for itself.
For example, if you order from Amazon UK, they may not always ship to Ireland. Sometimes, they’ll ship and it’s the same price but other times you pay extra for Irish delivery. Parcel Motel, like many of the providers I’ve listed here, provide you with a virtual UK address. This means you can get a package shipped to Northern Ireland to avail of free UK delivery and then your package travels south of the border by Nightline’s vans. For all of this you still pay just the €3.95 per stay in the locker.
AddressPal by An Post
An Post offers a similar service, but instead of using lockers, you can get your items delivered to the local post office. AddressPal pricing varies depending on the weight of your package, starting at €5.99 to €12.99 from the UK and €15.99 to €53.99 from the United States.
Yep, AddressPal also offers a virtual US address opening up a whole new world of gadgets.
One massive advantage as emerged over the past twelve months with AddressPal too. Their virtual UK address is based on mainland UK while Parcel Motel and many other providers are based in the North. This means you can have trouble shipping battery powered tech gadgets, so keep an eye out to see if AddressPal is a better option for you.
Parcel Wizard by DPD
Parcel Wizard is probably the smartest solution from all on offer. Once you create an account, you add in a calendar which dictates where you are on certain days. For example, if you’re going to be home, at work or even on holidays you can reroute or delay the delivery of your packages. If you’re shopping on Amazon.co.uk, Parcel Wizard’s virtual UK address also means that you can route packages from the UK direct to your home or office.
Typically, a Parcel Wizard delivery costs €3.85.
Parcel Connect by Fastway Couriers
Another slightly different take on the same service comes from Fastway Couriers. Offering the same services again, but this time your package gets routed towards a local store which partners with Parcel Connect. I’ve used these guys a few times because they’re in the shop under my gaff!
You can also route packages from the UK with Parcel Connect and their deliveries generally cost €4.50
Which Delivery Service Should You Use?
Every one of these services offers something different. Over the course of a year, I’d possibly use each one in different circumstances. Always do the math and check how much insurance you have too. If you’re ordering something expensive, Parcel Motel will let you expand your cover to more valuable items.
Finally, order well in advance and the closer we get to Christmas move away from Parcel Motel. They offer a popular service and as such many locker stations get completely full which can lead to delivery delays.
4. Check PriceSpy.ie
As you may have spotted above there, shopping around can save you a fortune. But checking every single store isn’t always possible, leaving you with the biggest worry of them all. Could I have gotten this cheaper somewhere? PriceSpy.ie takes a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for the best deal.
Their system does depend on stores maintaining their online pricing. So, the example I gave earlier of the Nebula Projector actually wasn’t showing at all in Brown Thomas, but still, there’s no harm in taking two minutes to see if Argos is offering a better deal than Currys. It doesn’t cost you a penny, but could save you a small fortune.
5. Check the Goosed.ie Christmas Gift Guide
It wouldn’t be right of me to plug our own gift guide too. Every year we trawl the internet for the very best in Christmas gift ideas and bring them together in our annual Goosed.ie Christmas gift guide. We’ve got something for everyone in there and always aim to tick at least one name off your Christmas shopping list.
If you’re not sure, all the gadgets are sorted into categories but if you’re still stumped, you can chat with Gé – the Christmas Gift Guide mascot and chatbot. They’ll ask you a few questions and find the perfect gift for whoever it is you’re shopping for.
Beyond these tips, practice common sense where you can too. Shop from reputable websites and if a deal looks too good to be true, look two or three times at it before making the call. Shopping online can, and likely will, save you a fortune when it’s done right. I hope this guide helps you out and as always, if you have any questions, jump onto our Twitter account and fire them at us.