Last Minute Shopping Tips for the Last Minute Shopper

Image courtesy of A Christmas Stocking Stock Photo by Mister GC, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of A Christmas Stocking Stock Photo by Mister GC, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Believe it or not, there’s still time to have Christmas presents shipped by Christmas Eve. With the proliferation of online retailers (and their awesome fast, free shipping) and department store extended hours, last minute shopping has never been easier. Even still, a last minute shopper needs to be armed with a plan to get their shopping done without a hitch.

I do most of my shopping online, but also hit up stores like Ross, Target and thrift stores, which still requires some organization. Last minute shoppers tend to overspend, so here are some tips to help stick to a budget and to maintain your sanity:

  • Plan ahead. Even last minute shoppers can benefit from creating and executing a plan. It’s probably even more critical for the last minute shopper to have a plan as time is of the essence.
  • Get 3×5 index cards and label each with one with the person or pet you are purchasing gifts for. List the gifts you want to get each person on their index card and stick to the plan. If you are a spontaneous shopper, leave one space on each card for the on the fly gift. Tally the cost of each gift and note the total at the end of the index card. Do not overextend your time or money by deviating from what’s listed on the index card. I also recommend not feeling compelled to start a second index card – all gifts for one person should fit on the index card easily. I’ve tried this tip this year and it is working beautifully as I can visually see what I need to get and assures me I am sticking to my budget.
  • Buy the online gifts first, as you want to ensure there is enough time for the gifts to get to you by Christmas Eve. Be sure to double check the deliver by date (not to be confused by the ship by date). Check out Amazon and Target for some guaranteed free, timely shipping. Also, if possible, use site to store options if you are right upon Christmas Eve.
  • Plan to go to the stores with your index cards, patience, and good cheer. Eat before you go and make sure you have a plan. Going aimlessly from store to store, rack to rack will surely tire you and there’s the risk of buying more gifts than is necessary or desired.
  • Stick to your plan.

The early bird does not always catch the best deals. Black Friday shoppers may get their shopping done early, but they are not always scoring the best deals. There are still many deals that surpass Black Friday savings. Many of the gifts I wanted to purchase are cheaper now than on the days immediately following Thanksgiving.

I wish you lots of good deals, good cheer and peace this holiday season. Next time someone tries to guilt trip you for waiting until the last minute to shop, simply smile and say, “I got this.”

~Your Curator of All Things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley