It’s the home stretch people! Christmas is this week and most of us are hopefully almost done with our Christmas shopping. I love to support small businesses throughout the year, as much as possible. But sometimes it isn’t super convenient, especially at the holidays. Driving across town, to visit a small shop isn’t ideal when you are trying to juggle working, putting up the Christmas lights and building mega mansion style gingerbread houses. I prefer to do the bulk of my holiday shopping online but it can be harder to shop small. I always prefer to use my PayPal account when I purchase online. I don’t know why the idea of getting up to find your wallet and credit card is such a chore, but it is! Plus using my PayPal account helps keep my budget in check. I don’t think there is a way to keep your PayPal account segmented but I know that if I use money from there, I’m not taking money that should be used for bills instead.
I LOVE to give people gifts. I always start by creating a list of who I need to buy for and jot down products or interests, for each person, to help me come up with gift ideas. I also try to pencil in an amount that I will spend on each person. I always keep my eye on the budget, but if I find the perfect gift that is $4 more than what I wanted to spend, I will always increase the budget. I would rather the recipient love what I gave them and skip a manicure for myself, if that’s what needs to happen.
I am a huge PayPal user. Bloggers are often paid for our work via PayPal which I think is awesome. So I look at it a little bit like a savings account, where our standard household and living expenses don’t touch the money in the account they way they do with our standard checking account. When I use my PayPal money, it’s a conscious decision, not like spending too much at the grocery store or on gas for the car where you are suddenly like, “WHERE’D ALL MY MONEY GO!!”
This year, I decided that I would use PayPal to save money for my Christmas shopping. While I often transfer money to our regular bank account to contribute to our bills, I knew that I could easily earmark money in PayPal for all our Christmas shopping. Whenever possible, I paid with my PayPal account for purchases I made online. Many of the larger retailers accept it which is awesome. And when I needed to make a purchase in an actual store, I could just transfer the money to my bank account to cover it. It’s so easy. Out of all the gifts I’ve purchased so far, I am partial to the presents I picked up from small businesses. Lots of small businesses offer unique gift ideas and often give amazing customer service. When you shop small, you are not only helping to boost the economy, but you are essentially supporting someone’s dream. Starting a business is no small task! I love that PayPal supports small business and wants to make shopping as easy as possible for you. When I came across the Bee Raw site, who uses PayPal, I knew instantly that is would make a perfect gift for someone on my list.
From specialty honeys to honey pairing gift ideas, Bee Raw is the perfect place to buy gifts for the foodie in your life. I found a kit that I loved, added it to my shopping cart and in just a minute, my purchase was completed through PayPal. (For larger purchases, you can try PayPal Credit, which is based on your transaction history and gives you instant credit when shopping). Within a matter of minutes I got an email letting me know that they had just run out of an item that I purchased and could they replace it with something else. I found another item to substitute and the order was placed. I was so grateful that they were on top of the orders coming in and made sure that I had what I needed. I also came across this really fun essential oil company called Frankie & Myrrh. While the site does not have a ton of products, I fell in love with several of the blends and their light-hearted names. The Study Buddy (for the mind of a ninja) will go in my 10 year old’s stocking. And The Bitch Blend and Hottie by Nature will be part of my sister’s gift.What I loved about Frankie & Myrrh is that they make sure you know what is going on with your order at all times. They have synced their business up with Facebook and I got messages at each point in the process from the order acknowledgement to a tracking number once it had shipped. That is especially nice at this time of year when you’ve got packages coming in from all over and you don’t want to miss anything not showing up. I couldn’t wait to smell these products! The glass bottles were wrapped up with cute message stickers. Small businesses tend to go heavy on the details and you can tell how much care goes in to their business because of it. As an added surprise, my package also contained a mini lavender sachet. You know how much I love lavender! I’ve been doing really well with staying on budget AND finding awesome gift ideas from small merchants who use PayPal. But I did pick up an extra Bitch Blend for myself just because. The holiday season comes with a lot of stress and this oil blend should help me chill out a little.
Browse the PayPal blog under ‘business stories’ to discover even more small businesses using PayPal. Shop small this season! But if you find that you bought something in error or decided it’s not just the right thing, PayPal is offering free return shipping, called ‘Return Shipping On Us’ on items up to $30 for up to 11 purchases. So cool!
PayPal is also perfect for when you are going in as a group for a large gift. Sending someone money couldn’t be easier. PayPal is my favorite way to shop small online!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.