Fourteen days to Christmas, families and individuals are making some last-minute prudential tweaks to their budget aligning it to prevailing economic conditions.
Most people want to plan their Christmas shopping ahead of time in order to avoid the last-minute rush. By some unforeseen twists and turns, this often does not happen.
Should you find yourself in a similar situation, shopping the last week before Christmas, here are a few tips for you, synthesised from talking to both consumers and experts.
So, before you go into a desperate shopping frenzy, check out these tips for last-minute shoppers.
Make a list and check it twice
One of the biggest traps of last-minute shopping is going over budget. Before you brave any store, make a list of how much you would like to spend on each person you are buying for, and stick to it. Resist the urge to keep shopping for the perfect gift, and leave the store as soon as you’ve crossed everyone off your list.
Set a time limit
Retailers have a few tricks up their sleeves to get you to linger in their stores, such as playing catchy holiday music and scenting the air with pleasant holiday smells, making it more likely you will buy something on impulse.
To avoid this trap, make plans immediately following your shopping trip to limit the amount of time you spend in the mall. The less time you spend shopping means less temptation to overspend or impulse buy.
Most online retailers guarantee delivery up to a few days before Christmas, so skip the mall and shop online for your gifts instead. You can avoid the hustle and bustle of the holiday crowds and you can either ship your gifts right to the recipient or have them sent to you.
Do you have a special talent, such as painting, pottery-making, or photography? Or maybe you are an expert on car repair, childcare services, or dog-walking? Create a coupon offering your service to be used in the weeks to come. It will take some of the pressure of having to have a gift in time for the holidays, and the recipient will love the thoughtfulness of your gesture.
Skip the clothes
Clothes can be tough to get right even when you are not shopping in a last-minute frenzy. Do yourself a favour and skip the clothing department altogether.
Shop on Christmas Eve
We know — waiting until the day before Christmas to shop sounds like a terrible idea. But think of it this way — most people are finished by Christmas Eve, meaning the malls will be less crowded, allowing you to shop without having to fight hoards of other panicky procrastinators.
Know when to stop
Once you’ve bought for everyone on your list, stop shopping. It sounds simple enough, but oftentimes, the urge to find the perfect gift compels anxious shoppers to keep going. Just because your gift is last-minute does not mean it’s inadequate.
If it’s come down to the wire and you are really in a bind, considering re-gifting as a last resort. Just make sure your gift doesn’t fall into the hands of someone who might find out your secret — or worse — into the hands of the person who originally gave it to you!