Weighing the options: on-line vs. in-line shopping

http://flickr.com/photos/zenia/72226995/
http://flickr.com/photos/zenia/72226995/

Crunch time for holiday shopping is upon us (especially you Hanukkah shoppers!) and you may be torn between attacking the mall or buy on-line. For your consideration, here are some criteria to weigh in making your decision:

Costs of shopping locally:

Time - Often overlooked is the opportunity cost of shopping. Perhaps there's a reason you finish the holiday season exhausted, ready for the social gulag of January! To put a monetary value on your time, you might consider the cost of buying cookies instead of making them, hiring a babysitter, the cost of the drying-out clinic you have to send the old man to because you weren't home to cut him off in time.

Travel - The IRS allows $0.485 per mile, so using this as a starting point, it doesn't take many trips to the mall to offset any sales savings.

Meals - You know that you're going to have to eat at some point during the day, and the Cheesecake Factory is so convenient.

Medications - Not everyone has to increase their blood pressure medication in prep for shopping, but how about the Advil for your aching feet?

Price - Generally, a brick and mortar business has higher overhead, and therefore has to charge more than an internet business.

Price comparison - Unless you have the patience of a saint and the feet of a marine, comparison shopping is a chore few will pursue.