Grandma’s List of Go-To Websites to be a Smart Internet Shopper: Assistance for Choosing Grandchildren Paraphernalia, Gifts and More

This Grandma has written oPlatinum Toy 170ften in posts referring to several websites I go to for choosing anything and everything for grandchildren. My hobby is shopping and internet shopping is something I have done forever, it seems. . . at least since I could shop on the internet. I always want the best item for the best price at the best time and the internet lets us all do that.

Of course, sign up to get notices of sales and promotions at your favorite websites, such as gap.com. Then, you too will get first notification of sales and specials and will know when “Friends and Family” dates are with 30% off! But, before you sign up on your favorite website, see if a new email sign up has a benefit, such as 10% off first purchase and time the sign up with a desired purchase. Sometimes, Retail Me Not has that information if not easily discoverable on the website itself. See the blank for “promo code” on the checkout page on your favorite shopping website? That means that you can get more benefits, for example, a further discount or free shipping. You just need the code.

This Grandma recommends that wherever you find anything on the internet, before you buy, check Retail Me Not to see if there is a promotion or coupon code listed or a free shipping special for the website on which you are about to purchase. I find that this website is most up to date. Then, always compare the price, including shipping, for the item at Amazon. Remember, shipping is where some websites seem to make money and an item which seems the cheapest on a website is the most expensive after you add their shipping charges. Check Amazon before you click “order” on another website. Finally, if you are a frequent internet shopper, join Prime at Amazon and for $75 a year, most items will ship free all year. Retail Me Not also has coupons for our old fashioned “brick and mortar” stores, so check before you get in your car to go shopping. For the random website that this Grandma does not recognize I do three things before purchasing: (1) check them out on google and put “(name of website) reviews” and see if there are any negative reviews of the company on the internet; (2) check them out on Retail Me Not to see if they are listed (which I do to see if I can get a further discount anyway); and (3) pay with PayPal. If you intend to be a frequent internet shopper, PayPal is an online payment service for individuals and merchants and allows users to send money and bills to anyone with e-mail. For those of you who are concerned about giving out personal information and credit card information, you pay with PayPal and your information is secure. A website will list PayPal as a choice of method of payment instead of credit card.

This Grandma recommends that before you buy a toy, book, video or audio item, you check Openheim Toy Portfolio. This is the website for the Oppenheimer Toy Awards. I have used this website for ten years and it has always been the best resource I have found. This website also helps you choose a toy, book, video or audio item that has been tested with real children and reviewed and rated. Always think platinum award winners first. My grandchildren always play with the platinum award winning toys more often and longer than other toys.

This Grandma recommends that before you buy baby or child equipment, for example, baby strollers, you check Consumer Reports Online, remembering that older models may be the ones that have been tested. Also check Epinions. I also put the item and model number in Google, especially if it is a big ticket item, to see if there is a newer model coming out soon and whether there are reviews of the current model on line. Yes, you can check the reviews on the website you are viewing also, but please do not stop at one website reviews. For interesting variations of items and finding items you did not realize existed or you needed, try One Step Ahead. I think they have the most comprehensive listings of baby gates and safety items for you to compare with other websites for pricing. Some of their items are exclusive to their website.

This Grandma recommends a new find, commonsense media. I asked all my grandchildren to list their current favorite I pad apps (to be the subject of future posts), and, of course, I wanted to check them out before I wrote the post. It seemed to me that this website was the best for review of those apps. The website also lists and reviews and rates movies, games, websites, TV, books, music, starter games for parents to play with kids, award-winning books, and even engineering learning tools for kids. I looked at websites that reviewed this organization that calls themselves the leading independent not for profit advocating for children. Take a look at their mission and what they do. Their detractors seem to say they are too comprehensive, that they detail minute violence, even in award-winning books. The website is easy to use and now a resource for this Grandma to further check an item before purchase or a movie before this Grandma takes the grandchildren to see it!

This Grandma’s advice is shop, shop, shop, but before you BUY, be a wise consumer to keep your grandchildren safe and buy the best item for the best price at the best time with

Joy,

Mema

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