Christmas time will be upon us soon and with the festive season goes the inevitable shopping.
If you are considering purchasing any consumer products, it will save you time, money and headaches if you do your research before pulling out your credit card.
And one way to ensure you’re making a wise purchase is to check Consumer Reports.
This trusted, independent, non-profit organization has been around for more than 80 years providing valuable consumer information.
Its product and service testing centre is the largest in the world and has more than 140 expert testers.
Consumer Reports Online is a subscription service paid for by your local library. I cannot stress this enough: This is a free service that you would otherwise have to pay for and it saves you money.
All you need is a library card — and that’s free, too.
How do you do it?
Go to your library’s website and search for Consumer Reports or look under Digital Content. That will give you the link to the product — you’ll need to enter your library card number and PIN.
From there, link to Consumer Reports and type what you’re looking for in the search box. You will get articles, reviews and ratings. For example, it recently rated 176 headphones and 244 TV sets.
It also has articles on the best gifts for the holidays.
One thing to note is at the bottom of the page, you will find a Canadian Extra link. Check that for Canadian products that may vary slightly from those sold in the US.
I recently had to purchase a new vacuum cleaner and am I ever glad I checked Consumer Reports first. The articles often tell you what you should be looking for, which isn’t always obvious.
The item I thought would be highly rated wasn’t even listed because the brand doesn’t last long enough.
With solid information, I bought a highly rated item (on sale, of course). I did the same for my cookware and learned enough from the article and ratings that I know I made a smart buy.
If you’re not comfortable researching online, come to your local public library and librarians will teach you how to use Consumer Reports online. Of it you prefer the printed version, local libraries have copies of the monthly magazine on hand for you to read.
Either way, you will be wiser and wealthier for having done your research.