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How To Last-Minute Christmas Shop

Christmas is in t-minus 10 days. Do you have your shopping done yet? While many Americans have dreams of completing Christmas shopping by July, the reality is that there is still much to do.

Last-minute Christmas shopping has does have some perks (along with some serious pitfalls). Read on for tips on how to survive the last 10 shopping days this year.

First, take inventory of what you have and what you need. Adhere to the list as best as you can. Veering off will most certainly increase impulse buys and increase your spending, which is what many stores are hoping for. To keep your sanity, create a list of potential stores to help you check off your list. With only one more weekend before the big day, stores will be busy so you need a good head about you to stay on top.

Shopping closer to the holiday does have some advantages. Retailers are desperate to clear out holiday merchandise. Once the holidays are over, their overall sales diminish. A last-minute lure of deep discounts on winter/holiday products can work to your advantage. A recent MSN business article discussed how consumer spending has slowed significantly after Thanksgiving weekend sales. Retailers are trying to reverse the shopper’s need for deep discounts and continual sales. That effort seems to have backfired as it has kept spending at bay. This trend will likely force the hand of retailers to offer bigger sales closer to the holiday. Don’t be surprised if you see plenty of up to 75% off sales as you scoop up your final purchases.

On the downside, the closer to the holiday the smaller the selection and that can severely limit your gift giving options. If you are looking for a specific item, be prepared with a back up plan in case it is sold out.

While many brick and mortar stores may be sold out, you may be able to snag deals online. But this isn’t a fail proof fall back plan. Many online retailers will guarantee Christmas Day delivery if ordered by Friday, December 21. So plan accordingly.

Beware, last-minute shoppers. The tendency to over buy in a shopping panic is strong. My dear Grandma falls into this every year. As a habitual last-minute shopper, she goes to one store the day before and picks out horrible gifts that no one will use because she didn’t plan out enough time. At that point, it becomes getting someone a gift just because you have to. Isn’t that kind of the whole point? Have a clear mind about what you want to spend and what you need.

And if you are still stuck trying to decide what to buy (or if everything you want is sold out), consider the easy way out with gift cards or cash. It might not scream “I saw this and thought of you” but you know it will be appreciated and used. Consider a mall gift card that can be used at any store or a VISA gift card for maximum spending potential.

Good luck checking off your lists!

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