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Better Choices , November 2007 -- 21 Best Tips For Online Shopping, Cranberry Skincare
November 24, 2007

Welcome To
The November 2007 Issue

What's In This Issue:

  • 21 Tips For Successful Online Shopping
  • Make Your Own Cranberry Mask
  • Cranberry Facial Cleanser From Upurea
  • What's New On NLW.

  • Have Fun And Be Safe
    21 Tips For Shopping Online

    Make sure your online shopping is a success with the tips below. These suggestions are helpful for any kind of online shopping.

  • 1. Shop with sites you know.

    At this time of year, I try to avoid shopping with new companies unless I've given myself plenty of time to order and return if necessary.

  • 2. Use common sense when looking through a website.

    Shop with sites that provide plenty of information especially the kind of information we NLW's look for. Ingredients, fabrics, organics, certifications, logo's, environmentally friendly packaging, policies of giving back etc.

  • 3. Does site provide easy access to a real person?

    Is there a physical address, phone number, email contact info etc. Feel comfortable knowing that you will have someone to reach in the event of problems.

  • 4. Read the warranties and guarantees the site offers.

    Try to shop with sites that stand behind their products and work hard to make sure you are satisfied.

  • 5. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau?

    Check out BBB Online for more info to shop safely online.

  • 6. Choose websites with local stores if possible.

    You may be able to order online and pick up the item at the store. Or you may be able to make returns there. Great to save on shipping charges.

  • 7. Watch for coupons and discounts.

    Check out these sites:

    Alex's Coupons
    Coupon Cabin

    Alternately try doing a Google search for the merchant plus the word coupon.

  • 8. Read product reviews and comparison shop.

    Sites like Amazon, Epinions, Price Grabber, Shopzilla, and Froogle offer a great way to see if that product lives up to it's claims or if you are finding the best price.

  • 9. Order from secure sites.

    Look for the little lock icon at the bottom of the page alternately look to see if the site address is https://. The s after the http stands for secure.

  • 10. Purchase with a credit card and use just one.

    It is safe to purchase with a credit card and if you do run into problems and the store won't fix it you can notify the bank that issues your card and tell them you are disputing the charge. They will withhold payment pending resolution. For more information on this see this Federal Trade Commission article on Fair Credit Billing.

    Using one card for all your shopping makes it is easier to keep track of expenses.

  • 11. Check into virtual account numbers.

    This gives you the added layer of protection where you use a secure online account number in place of your credit card info. Check with different credit card companies to see if they offer this. Also consider using Paypal instead of your credit card for added protection.

  • 12. Purchase gift cards to use for your shopping.

    Figure how much you want to spend when you shop and purchase gift cards to your favorite store for this amount. I read this one and thought this might be a good way to stay within budget. While gift cards from banks offer the most flexibility as to where you can shop most charge a fee. If you happen to do most of your shopping in one place the store gift card make more sense.

  • 13. Read the privacy policy.

    I like to know if my information will be shared with other companies and I want the choice to opt out.

  • 14. Look for free shipping. Send items directly to recipient.

    This is a great way to cut shipping costs. Once again look for coupons first and make sure you are familiar with the company before you send directly to the recipient.

    I don't know about you but I have been disappointed more than once after purchasing something online and once it arrives it is so much smaller or the quality is poor. You don't want your gift to go to someone without knowing what it will look like. I don't care how great their return policy is. It's just a pain for you and the one receiving the gift.

  • 15. Place items in your shopping cart but don't order right away.

    This was another suggestion I read but have not tried to see if it really works. Apparently some women have found that they were offered a discount just to get them to go ahead and place that order.

  • 16. Shop early and choose ground shipping.

    Avoid the added expense of faster shipping methods.

  • 17. Save paper. File your receipts online.

    Set up a file in notepad just for keeping copies of receipts for online purchases. Make sure all the info is there including name of company, web address, date, amount, invoice or confirmation number and note who you purchased it for.

    I learned this one the hard way after copying a receipt from a purchase and saving it to notepad only to go back later and find that while I had the invoice number and the amount that was all. I had to figure what I had bought and from whom.

  • 18. Clearly understand the return policy.

    Know how many days you have and which items can be returned. Carefully open and save all packaging materials until you are sure you are keeping it.

    Keep in mind that it can be expensive to pay shipping costs and then have to turn around if you aren't happy and pay to return. Some companies offer free returns but not so much when it comes to smaller businesses.

  • 19. What happens if an item is damaged when it arrives?

    When your package does arrive, you open it and great, it's broken. What do you do.? This kind of information should be clearly explained on the company website. If not then this is where having access to a real person pays off.

  • 20. Verify all order information before confirming.

    I know this sounds obvious but it's easy to scan your order and miss something. My problem is with drop down boxes. When given a choice from items in drop down boxes, I have found that after I highlight the one I want by clicking it and I don't remember to click it again to finalize that as my choice and then I scroll down the page to keep filling out my order, my choice of items changes. I end up with the wrong thing if I do not carefully verify.

  • 21. Track your order.

    If you have a tracking code use it. I like checking with UPS to see exactly where my package is. This is especially handy if you will not be around to accept delivery at least you know when to look for it. Plus I have to admit it's fun to look and see my package arrived in Saint Louis at 1:00am and will then be going to...

    If the above sounds like a lot of work, it might be initially but before you know it you will find yourself automatically reviewing a website and what it has to offer and knowing which ones to trust or not. The added savings in time and often money make it worthwhile.

    As NLW's we are shopping for things that many of us have a harder time buying locally so online shopping offers us the best options.

    The smarter we become at shopping the more we learn to save and buy efficiently and successfully.

    Cranberries: Not Just For Eating

    Cranberry Almond Face Cleanser & Mask

    This great recipe which makes use of ingredients that many of us will have on hand during the holidays is a great way to treat your skin and try something new.

    It was found on the Make Your Own Cosmetics website. It was submitted by HBN Founder & President Donna Maria. She is also the author of "Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions".

    This unscented product is perfect to gently cleanse and exfoliate dry skin. You can add a drop of orange essential oil for oily skin or rose for dry skin.

    Yield: Approx. 3 generous applications
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Price Category: 1
    Difficulty Level: 1
    Shelf Life: None, keep refrigerated

    15 whole fresh cranberries
    1 tablespoon finely powdered oats
    2 tablespoons whipping cream
    1 teaspoon finely powdered almonds
    Blending Procedure:

    Place fresh cranberries in a small food processor and process to chop well. Add the whipping cream and process further.

    Add the powdered oats and almonds and process until the mixture is chunky and sticks well together. Scrape the sides of the processor with a spatula and process once again to ensure the correct texture is achieved. It should hold together well without being too sticky.

    To use, apply Cranberry Almond Face Cleanser & Mask to face and neck skin using the pads of the fingertips. Massage the mixture gently over the skin to lightly exfoliate and cleanse. Leave bits of Cranberry Almond Face Cleanser & Mask behind on your skin as you go, and allow it to remain there for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

    Pat excess water from skin and follow with toner and moisturizer of choice. Enjoy!!

    The shelf life of this product is necessarily limited by the fresh ingredients. It should be used within a few days, and kept refrigerated between uses.

    Cranberry Cleanser From Upurea

    Not into making your own skin care products? Try:
    100% Pure: Organic Cranberry Facial Cleansing Foam available from Upurea.

    This cleanser is high in vitamins and fruit acids to help wash away dullness and is good for all skin types. Upurea carries many different brands that are safe and natural using organic ingredients, no chemical preservatives or other unwanted ingredients.

    The site does not contain a cruelty free logo so I contacted them and asked if they had an animal testing policy and this was their response:

    "Upurea has a strong anti-animal testing policy, and we are careful to select manufacturers who engage in humane practices (this includes how they treat their employees, too!).

    Since Upurea is dedicated to providing the most pure and effective personal care, we offer both completely natural lines and those containing botanicals merged with “safe science” - synthetics that are non-reactive and safe for all life forms. We hope that all manufacturers also choose their ingredients that have been proven safe for humans, are tested on humans.

    Of course our products do need to be tested for efficacy, and so all products have been tested on real people; Jamal Hammadi, celebrity-hairstylist and creator of Hamadi Beauty, says it best: “Tested on Actresses, Never on Animals”".

    Check out this Cranberry Cleanser from Upurea

    I prefer to see a cruelty free logo but since they carry so many different brands it is easy to check to see if a particular company is on the list of skin care companies you downloaded.

    When you find something you really want and it is not on this list check with the companies and see how they respond. Sites to trust should be open and willing to easily answer this question and elaborate on their policies.

    New Additions to NLW Website

  • As the holiday season approaches and you are considering purchasing gold jewelery for yourself or others read this new page on dirty gold first. There are better choices we can make for gold jewelery if we know what to look for. Check out Dirty gold.

  • Last month was spent updating, rewriting and improving the content throughout the site to help make it as clear, current and informative as possible. I am constantly on the lookout for new information and companies to add to make this site as helpful as possible.

    Happy Holidays Everyone. See You Next Month

    Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I won't know unless you tell me. I'd love to hear what you think. Just reply to this e-zine and let me know. If you like this e-zine and think a friend will too, do me a favor and pass it on.

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