5 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips and Gift Ideas
by David Sung
While some of us may have taken care of our holiday shopping already, there are many of us who haven’t even started. Last year, a survey showed that 11.7 percent of consumers said they wait until the last minute to do holiday shopping. Perhaps the holidays came sooner than expected, and you’re in a panic because you have so much shopping to do and little time. Don’t worry – we have some last-minute shopping tips that can serve as a guide before you start shopping online or hit the stores. It’s anticipated that some of the busiest shopping days will be Dec. 13, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22, according to ShopperTrak.
Perhaps the holidays came sooner than expected, and you’re in a panic because you have so much shopping to do and little time. Don’t worry – we have some last-minute shopping tips that can serve as a guide before you start shopping online or hit the stores. It’s anticipated that some of the busiest shopping days will be Dec. 13, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22, according to ShopperTrak.
1. Use Apps to Help You Stay Organized and Find Bargains
From shopping assistant apps to coupon apps, there are several tools out there that will help you on your last-minute holiday shopping journey. Slice is a shopping assistant app that helps online shoppers stay organized. It alerts you when the price drops on an item you’ve bought so you can get money back from retailers that offer price adjustments. It also tracks purchases you’ve made online and sends notifications when they’re about to arrive. Slice keeps your receipts organized in case you need them for returns.
Check out couponing apps like Coupon Sherpa which offers hundreds of coupons from major retailers, restaurants and businesses. The app enables you to bookmark coupons for future shopping trips. It also has coupon codes for online purchases and a list of hot deals.
Another helpful app is PriceGrabber which helps you find the lowest prices by allowing you to search by product name or by scanning product barcodes.
2. Make a List
In order to make your shopping as efficient and cost-effective as possible, create a list in advance with a firm budget. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and how much you’re willing to spend on each person. This will help minimize aimless browsing and keep you focused while saving time and money.
Having a plan will also prevent you from impulsively splurging. Since you don’t have a lot of time, a list helps to make it easier on yourself by identifying what you want to purchase. Once you have your list and budget planned, stick to it.
3. Shop During Off-Peak Hours
When you have only a few days left of shopping and you’re among other procrastinators, do what you can to avoid the competition. Take advantage of early-morning and late-evening hours during the holidays for better access to merchandise and shorter checkout lines.
What’s better than having the store practically to yourself as you shop? Try shopping before or after work. Going during nonpeak hours gives you an advantage. If you work crazy hours, consider asking for a half-day so you can finish the rest of your shopping while avoiding the crowds.
4. “Do-It-Yourself” Gifts
Handmade gifts don’t have to be boring or lackluster. In fact, they can be a great way to give something special and for less. Often times, we appreciate handmade gifts more because they are one-of- a-kind and there was time and effort involved in making them.
Brainstorm unique ideas by visiting Pinterest, which offers plenty of inspiration. If you have special talents like baking or craftsmanship, put your talents to use and think of something unique you could create. The possibilities are endless.
5. Donate to a Charity
It’s always a dilemma shopping for someone who has everything. When in doubt, consider making a donation to a charity in the name of a loved one or friend. Many local organizations provide timely holiday aid to those in need – from food banks to shelters – and there is always a cause that needs support. Just Give.org has created a Holiday Gift Guide, which enables you to browse charities. Consider making a donation on somebody’s behalf to make a difference.
They say the early bird catches the worm, but sometimes we can’t always be early. After all, the holiday season is usually one of the busiest times of the year. Fortunately, some of the best holiday shopping deals are released just days before Christmas. ShopperTrak anticipates that Dec. 13 and Dec. 22 will be the top sales days for holiday shopping. We hope you consider using these tips to help you make the most of your last-minute holiday shopping.
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