We’ve all been there before.
It’s just a few days before Christmas, possibly even already Christmas Eve, and you still have plenty of holiday shopping left to do. It could be that you just have to get a gift for your brother or sister, or that you’re flat out way behind and haven’t bought gifts for any of your friends and family.
It’s not a great situation, but the world doesn’t have to end either. Here are a few tips for last-minute holiday shopping in which you can save money and be efficient at the same time.
Ask about free gift-wrapping services
A lot of stores are willing to wrap your gifts for free, while others will do it for a small price. Make sure to ask if the store you’re buying gifts from whether it offers free gift wrapping. This will either let you avoid a fee, or save the time and money it will take to go and buy your own gift wrapping paper.
Find out store schedules
When you’ve decided to go holiday shopping at the very last minute, there’s no reason at all to make life any tougher on yourself. Take some quick time to find out when a store opens and closes the day you plan to do your shopping. Stores may open early and close later in the days leading up to Christmas, and it’s something you can plan your schedule around. On the flip side, stores may have tighter hours if you wait until Christmas Eve. Double checking hours is an easy, simple task that can be done by simply checking a store’s website or looking it up on Google Maps.
It’s hard for somebody to complain about a gift card. Not only are they easy to find, but with gift cards consumers are able to get a lot of bang for their buck, while the recipients are able to have a ton of freedom for what they want to use it for. Not to mention that with certain sites, such as Amazon, you can just purchase the gift card online and either print it out at home or e-mail it to its beneficiary.
Look online for coupon codes
Another nice way to save money is to do some quick research before heading out to complete your purchases. Check out sites like RetailMeNot and Slickdeals for good opportunities to save much-needed cash.
Make a list and stick to it
For efficiency’s sake, compile a shopping list before you head out so you can at least get a good idea of what you want. This will save time and make sure you’re not wandering around everywhere and spending any unnecessary money.
Waiting until December 23 or 24 to complete your holiday shopping is far from ideal. At the same time, there’s also no reason to be overly stressed out. Timing doesn’t have to get in the way of efficiency when it comes to both time and money.
About the Author: STEVE NITZ is a consultant at Logical Media Group, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Chicago