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Better Choices Apologies For Last Mailing This Is The One You Want For Holiday Shoppping Tips
November 20, 2008

Just as I was finishing the final editing and checking of this month's newsletter I hit the wrong button and VOILA the unfinished issue gets sent to you. Bet I had you wondering with an intro that best suited much warmer weather. My apologies for any confusion.

What's In This Issue:

  • Eco Friendly Holiday Shopping
  • 5 Tips for Online Shopping
  • Where To Shop and Find Good Deals and Unique Gifts

  • Keeping Eco Friendly In Our Holiday Shopping



    The economy is on all our minds and many of us will be cutting back on holiday purchases. There is no doubt most natural, organic and eco friendly products are more expensive and when we are looking to stretch our dollars as far as they will go it sure seems that buying conventional or discount brands is the only way to go. And it may be that for you natural living will have to take a back seat for now.

    Not so fast. We still have a few options to bring natural living to our holiday purchases. Start with carrying your own shopping bags, if there is a choice choose products that use minimal packaging, avoid buying clothing that needs to be dry cleaned, use recycled paper gift wrap and cards or buy electronics with an Energy Star label. All simple ideas that just take a little extra thought. So maybe we can't make the eco friendly purchases that we want we can still be proud of our efforts just by making a few simple changes.

    Online shopping can make sense. Look for bargains, sales and free shipping and eco friendly gifts are more within reach of tighter budgets. With some careful shopping you will find unique, interesting, fun and affordable, eco friendly or fair trade gifts. I'll get you started with an online shopping list below but first....

    5 Tips To Shopping Online

    1. Shop early.
    Nothing worse than waiting too late and having to pay expedited shipping fees. Plus you know things happen so be prepared for problems and surprised when things run smoothly.

    2.Take advantage of free shipping.
    Some companies offer free shipping when orders reach a certain amount usually $75 to $100. Also take advantage of free super saver shipping when shopping at Amazon. Make sure to watch for companies that offer free shipping on returns.

    3.Read the guarantees and warranties.
    Look for the BBB (Better Business Bureau) logo for added assurance and see if there is some way to connect with a real person if you are not happy with your purchase. If an online store has a brick and mortar store that accepts returns from online purchases all the better.

    4.Make sure to shop with a secure site.
    Watch for the secure gold padlock or look at the site address which should start with https instead of the usual http. I like to protect my credit card by shopping with Paypal and it's easier too but not all stores offer this option.

    5.Don't Print Out Receipts From Purchases.
    Set up a special file on your computer just for your holiday purchases (I use Notepad) and instead of printing out your receipts copy them to this file and include any additional info you may need about this purchase which will help you keep organized.

    Now the good stuff.

    Where To Shop


    Many stores both large and small are wanting and needing our business and sales are turning up left and right. Start your holiday shopping on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Mark your calendar, plan your shopping budget, get your shopping list ready and prepare to spend some time online taking advantage of stores offering Cyber Monday sales.

    A Wild Soap Bar

    Natural, organic soaps made from good for your skin olive oil. All pure natural ingredients, no synthetic preservatives or fragrance oils. Beautiful to look at and luxurious to use. Most women enjoy wonderful soaps so these make unique and affordable gifts. All organic soaps are on sale for the holidays while other purchases over $30 qualify for $3 off and a free bar of natural soap.

    Amazon

    A surprising amount of natural and organic items can be found here at good prices. I tend to stick with buying direct from Amazon so I can take advantage of super saver shipping but have had good luck with purchases from some of the sellers working with Amazon. I make sure to read their ratings and customer comments to feel more comfortable shopping with them.

    Gaiam

    Natural, Organic, Bamboo, Fair Trade, Eco Friendly whatever you are looking for check out Gaiam first. Great selections. For a limited time get $20 cash back on purchases over $100 when you pay with Pay Pal. Check out their gift guide where you can shop by price. Gaiam offers frequent shipping deals and sales which helps to make natural purchases affordable.

    Isabella

    This carefully put together collection of items is a fun and interesting place to shop whether you are looking for something spiritual, eco friendly, fair trade or just plain fun. Spend a little time reading the descriptions, always interesting to know more about what your are purchasing. Their outlet sale is worth a look and check out the gift center where you can also shop by price.

    GreenLoop

    One of the biggest selections of eco friendly clothing for the whole family. Some of the best known eco friendly designers can be found here at affordable prices. Check out the fun accessories and sales. First purchase gets 15% discount for a limited time. Hard to beat $5 free shipping and free returns.

    National Geographic

    For a limited time save 20% on purchases and help support the work of National Geographic. You'll find something for just about everyone from the nature lover to the gadget lover and let's not forget their Kid's Shop for toys that will challenge while being fun.

    Peaceful Valley

    Very nice selection of eco friendly gifts many of which priced under $30. Free shipping on orders over $75. Check out Tree Free Holiday Cards made from sweetpaper which is sugar fibers that have been reclaimed after the cane-juice has been extracted. Soy inks and recycled packaging make these beautiful cards a great eco find.


    Viva Terra

    I like this site for the variety of gifts under $50 from flowers, gourmet foods, home decor and accessories. What's cool is you don't have to be shopping for someone who works at being eco friendly many of these items make beautiful home decor or yummy edible gifts. The fact that they are organic or made from recycled materials makes shopping here even better. When I last checked only found some items that received free rush delivery upgrades but a nice selection of sale items.

    How About Fair Trade

    The next two companies allow us to support Artisans and Farmers throughout the world by purchasing unique items that give an exotic feel to your gift giving. You will find wonderful accessories, clothing, home decor, gifts or fair trade coffees or tea often at very affordable prices.

    These are not the mass produced cheaply made import items that can be found at discount or import stores. They are handmade, high quality products made and sold through the guidance of fair trade organizations who provide more than fair wages but work with individuals and groups to help them build their business, teach new skills and provide grants. A wonderful way to shop for the holidays and make a difference.

    SERRV

    Ten Thousand Villages

    Arm yourself with a cup of tea or coffee, your shopping list with budgeted amounts to spend already figured and your credit card or Paypal account ready. Get comfortable and prepare to tackle that shopping list.

    I'll be there too. Happy shopping.



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