You may have missed Cyber Monday, but there is still plenty of time to snag some of those great online holiday deals. You can get all of your shopping done quickly and inexpensively by using the internet, but you have to keep in mind some key tips. Here are 5 tips to help you have an enjoyable and productive online shopping experience this holiday season.

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Shop Safely: Shopping online has security risks that you have to protect yourself against. You should shop on sites that you are familiar with or sites that you have purchased from before with no problems. If you are unsure of the site but it has the purse that would be perfect for your sister, make sure they have a secure SSL before you enter your credit card information.  A secure site will start with https:// instead of just http://, which is unprotected. Keep your security software up to date on your computer just in case and double check your bank statement after any purchases made.

Shop Early: There is still plenty of online shopping time in the holiday season but don’t put it off too long. With online shopping comes the added time of packing and delivery. The larger companies often have a quick turnaround but smaller businesses are often at the mercy of the mail system which can be much slower during the holiday season. Double check before you purchase that your gift is going to get to the recipient in time to be under the Christmas tree.

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Shop Smartly: The great part of online shopping is that you can compare multiple sites to find the best deal possible. Keep in mind the shipping costs when factoring the price and what sales the site may have going on at the time. This is another good reason to start as early as you can so you have some time to comparison shop and you don’t feel rushed into buying the first gift you find. Also, the best deals are often on Tuesdays and in the early hours of the morning so click on your computer with your first cup of coffee to get the best savings.

Shop Economically: The holidays are all about sales. You should rarely pay full price for any gift during this season and the New York Times recommends that 40% off is a good benchmark for a good deal. Don’t get carried away because of all the choices and end up with 4 gifts for your mom and nothing for your brother. Make a list of all your recipients and cross them off as you find each perfect gift. This will stop you from spending over your holiday shopping budget and will get your shopping done quicker.

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Shop Creatively: The best part of the internet is how many choices it has and how unique the gifts can be. Spend some time looking at hand crafted items from vendors on sites like Etsy or from smaller mom and pop stores. Take advantage of all the gift idea articles that pop up this time of year to find a unique gift for that special someone.  If you are still lost and need that perfect gift then check out Skinny Mom’s Holiday Gift Guide for some creative and affordable suggestions for everyone in the family.