6 Dec

Just call me Cyber Girl! This year I did all my Christmas shopping online. I mean every single present was bought online and delivered to my door. It is the easiest Christmas I have ever had. I am relaxed, prepared and I have saved myself so much money.

Whenever I shop for gifts in store I end up buying things I don’t need. My son will pick up a new puzzle, my daughter will want a balloon. We’ll have lunch. I’ll pick up some extra fruit for home. In short, I end up spending money I hadn’t planned on spending so no matter how much money I save on careful present buying, it ends up being wasted on incidental shopping.

Each year I make a list so that’s what I did this year too. The big kids had asked for ipods, my son wanted a proper art easel and I had an idea of what I wanted to get for the little kids so I wrote a vague list for them and started googling. I knew I wouldn’t find everything at one website so I focused on finding a discount website that sold most of the gifts I wanted.

I did it. The bulk of my Christmas gifts came from one website and were delivered days later. I didn’t have to find parking, I didn’t have to try and get it all to the car with my children in tow and I didn’t have to cart it all into my house. I found affordable starter ipods on eBay and I also found an amazing art easel on there too. I was able to stick to my budget and my Christmas shopping was done weeks ago.

Do I feel guilty for doing all my shopping online and not properly contributing to the health of our economy? No way. In 2008 my husband’s business failed in part due to the Global Financial Crisis and over the next twelve months we lost EVERYTHING. We have three children aged seven, three and two. It is not my responsibility to buy Australian, to shop in retail stores or to donate to every worthwhile cause that comes my way, like I used to. My only responsibility is to stick to our families budget, save money for unexpected expenses like medical and donate only when I can afford it and only when I really believe in the cause.

Retailers need to move with the times and if they don’t have online stores by now then they should. I waited years for Borders to have an online store. I shopped at the Dymocks website because Borders didn’t have one and look how they ended up. I bought appliances wherever I found them because Harvey Normal wasn’t online either. Then they complain that online shopping is ruining their business? The only reason their businesses are suffering due to online shopping is because they haven’t moved with the times.

I grocery shop online too, expect once a month when I stock up all of Aldi’s affordable nappies, cleaning products and other amazing non-perishables. Aussie Farmers delivers bread, milk, chicken, cheese, fruit and vegetable three times a week and instead of going to several pharmacies looking for my favourite makeup I order it online in under ten minutes and happily pay the delivery fee knowing I have saved myself money by not shopping for it in person.

Maybe one day I will have a little more money to spend and I will go back to my local shopping centre and enjoy the experience of buying presents in store, telling my kids to pick one new toy each and have lunch after. But I will do that when I can afford it so I can enjoy it. And I will always shop online to some degree because it’s affordable and convenient. God bless the internet and e-retailers.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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