Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wait 'Til January & Other Great Last-Minute Shopping Tips

Can we swap gifts in January? The wait-and-see approach to holiday gift giving is one of my favorite tips from this guest post from Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).

Here's the piece:

"Review your gift-giving list—Jot down all the people you still need to find gifts for and how much money you can allocate to each gift. This will help keep you on target to stay within your holiday spending budget. If there are people you won’t see until after the holidays, you may be able to postpone purchasing their gift and take advantage of sales in late December and January.

Look for retailer discounts over the next few days—The next few days are crunch time for retailers and many are or will be offering steep discounts and other incentives to encourage shoppers to buy. Retailers are competing for your business and are offering great deals, particularly on electronics and toys. While these deals can help you save on items you already planned to buy, try and avoid making impulse purchases just because something is on sale.

Order online—At many online retailers, you still have a couple of days to make your online purchases and have them delivered on time. You will pay substantially more for overnight delivery, so be sure to factor those costs into your budget. Be sure to look for last minute discount codes at sites such as If you’re looking for a special item, don’t forget auction sites such as Ebay as a place to find the perfect gift.

Make it personal —When you make your list, make notes about each person’s interests. For the beach lover, pack a beach bag with sunscreen, flip flops and a couple of paperback books. If you’ve got a movie junkie on your list, a gift card to the local video rental place along with some popcorn and candy might be just the ticket. Download some tunes and make a custom CD of a friend’s favorite artists. If your special person spends a lot of time working out, you can go to their gym and prepay their membership for a month. Magazines are also a great gift idea. Know someone who loves to cook? Wrap up a single issue of a cooking magazine with a note letting them know they’ll be getting one every month.

Be creative— Looking for the perfect gift for friends and family members? Framed photographs or inexpensive scrapbooks that you put together or have done online are always a hit. Spend a weekend baking and give containers of goodies to neighbors and coworkers. Maybe the people on your gift list would prefer a service to a tangible item. Who wouldn’t like a commitment for getting the car washed, a free night of babysitting, the garage or gutters cleaned, the lawn mowed, the dog walked or even the dinner cooked? Write your gift of service out on a nice card or print it up on your computer. Sign, seal, wrap and deliver. Remember that some of the most appreciated gifts don’t cost a thing.

Avoid adding to your stress by asking for ideas. You can also opt for a gift card, which will allow the recipient to choose something you know they will like. Be sure to read the fine print on using gift cards, including what happens if it is lost or if it isn’t used right away.

Avoid using credit cards for last minute purchases—It is very tempting to spend more than you’ve planned, especially when you are rushed for time and feeling the stress of holiday shopping. Leaving your credit cards at home will help ensure that you will stick to your budget and avoid the post holiday blues."
--Source: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast (CCCS).

Previous Posts
Free Online Typing Drills: 10 Frugal Business & Craft Classes
Deep Breaths & Shallow Worries: 10 Holiday Changes for Next Year
How a Red Spiral Notebook Helped Me: The Power of Written Goals


Katie Gregg said...

Waiting to shop until the day after Christmas works for my husband and me. We spend Christmas with my family, go back to work, then see his family the following weekend. We always shop the post-Christmas sales for them, and save plenty of money that way!

Frugal Duchess said...

Katie Gregg:

That's a great strategy and it makes sense. If you're seeing not seeing the inlaws until after the holiday, why not take advantage of post-holiday sales?

I appreciate the comment.

Take Care!