Tips & Resources

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

Santa’s not the only one making a list and checking it twice this time of year. ’Tis the season for family gatherings, holiday parties, and gift exchanges. If your to-do list is long, but you’re running out of time, we’ve got some last-minute shopping tips to help you succeed this holiday season.

Check Your Stash
If you’re the type of person who shops for gifts year-round, don’t forget to check your stash before you hit the mall. You may have already picked up the perfect present for Aunt Sue or Uncle Chuck. Now the question is… where did you stash it?

There’s an App for That

Many retailers offer mobile apps that show in-store product availability. Before you leave the house, you can check to see if a specific store carries this year’s most-wanted toy or hot tech item. Some apps offer additional savings or coupons and allow you to order and pay online and pick up the item at customer service. Keep in mind, though, that the store’s real-time inventory might not match the app’s data, and you may need to go with Plan B (see next tip).

Have a Plan B
If you’ve checked every possible brick and mortar or online retailer and you still can’t locate the item you need, make sure you’ve got a backup plan. Choose something else from the wish list or find a creative, meaningful way to offer a rain-check for when the item comes back in stock.

Be Prepared
This is a busy time of year for retailers. Stores are typically crowded, loud, and chaotic. Some businesses may not have been able to hire additional seasonal help. Be prepared for long lines and complicated transactions – even if you’ve already purchased online and are only picking up your order. A little extra patience – and a smile for the cashier – can go a long way for your own peace of mind.

Early Bird/Night Owl
If you don’t mind shopping in the early morning or late in the evening, check store hours. Some larger retailers are open extended hours during the holiday season and are usually less crowded during those times.

Think Outside the Big Box
While large retailers can offer bigger discounts this time of year, you’ll have to put up with long lines and possible out-of-stock issues. So shop local. You might pay a bit more, but by shopping at family- or locally-owned establishments, you’re supporting our neighbors and our community.

DIY
Handmade gifts are a less expensive, meaningful gift option. Bake up a batch of your famous banana bread or search Pinterest for unique, homemade gift ideas.

Know Your Budget
While it’s tempting to purchase just one more thing to place under the tree, stay within your holiday spending budget. This will take some additional planning and tough decisions, but come January, you’ll be glad you did.

Need help with a holiday budget? It’s not too late! Find holiday budgeting tips and more at our Consumer Resources page.

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