With holidays here, stores are going to be packed as people are shopping. A survey found that 30% of Americans don’t think they’ll be done with shopping until Christmas Eve! Unfortunately, impulse buys can lead to overspending and reliance on debt like credit cards to cover gifts. But there are plenty of ways to get last minute shopping done relatively stress free.
Here are some tips to help you find what you need without damaging your finances:
- Make a Gift Budget: Just because you’re shopping for gifts doesn’t mean you spend a ton of money and fall into debt. None of your loved ones wants to see you in a tight spot.
- Make a List (and Check It Twice!): I know firsthand how easy it is to get carried away. You see several things your friends would love and you want to get them all. Protect yourself and still give a thoughtful gift by making a list.
- Schedule Time: Since your time is limited, you want to be wise and block out time for your gift hunt. It’s much easier if you’re shopping online, but if you plan on heading to the stores, set a time to knock it out.
- Price Shop: You worked hard for you money so you make sure you’re getting the most out of it by price shopping. With online access you can check several sites to double check prices. Apps like Paribus and Honey can be a bit of a safety net so you don’t have to spend so much. Paribus will keep tabs on price drops and run a refund request for the difference for you. Honey will search for coupon codes so you don’t have to run around and hunt for discounts.
- Gift Cards Rock: Gift cards can be perfect to give. The key is making sure you treat it like any other gift – keeping the recipient in mind. Where do they love to shop? Are they readers? Athletes? Cooks? As an added bonus, you can usually score a deal with cards, sometimes saving 10% of the face value.
- Cash in Your Points: If you’re low on cash, check to see if you can cash out your credit card rewards to pick up a few gifts.
- Donate to Charity: If you’re looking for something different, consider donating to a cause that is near and dear to your loved one’s heart.
I hope these tips help you feel a little less stressed and financially prepared when you’re out there shopping. Remember it’s the thought that counts so please don’t beat yourself up over getting the perfect gift. Focus on the person and most times, you’ll come up with a gift that reflects how much you appreciate them.