If you’ve waited until the eleventh hour to wrap up your gift shopping, you may be feeling anxious and a bit panicked over you ability to get it all done in time. Unfortunately, this combination could cause you to make poor purchasing decisions and lead you to overspend.
1. Shop in the wee hours.
Save your sanity by taking advantage of extended store hours and shop during the less busy times of day. Many stores will be keeping their doors open past regular hours for straggling shoppers. For instance, Babies ‘R Us will stay open until 2am through Friday, Macy’s and Target will be open until 12am all week long, and Kohl’s will operate around the clock through Friday. Know when to shop by reviewing the comprehensive list of store hours from DealNews.
2. Know where the sales are.
Save time and money by using the Steps Away app, which offers hyperlocal, real-time offers and promotions from nearby retailers so you know where to find the best sales and deals instantly. It is now available in over 150 malls in 40 states and 20 major metro areas. Don’t forget to download Coupon Sherpa’s free coupon app which provides coupons to stores based on your location so you never miss an offer. You’ll find offers such as 15% off with a Famous Footwear coupon or 20% off from Kohl’s.
3. Find gifts in unexpected places.
You don’t have to shop at traditional retailers to find gifts for everyone on your list. Save time by picking up presents in unexpected places while running errands. If you’re heading to the drugstore for prescriptions and gift wrap, look for beauty sets, fragrance and even toys for the women and children on your list. The warehouse store is the perfect place to stock up on groceries for guests and cleaning supplies while offering a wide selection of potential presents like small kitchen appliances, gadgets and even chocolate and cookie tins that make great hostess gifts. And if you’re on the way to the airport, look for a Best Buy kiosk for affordable headphones and bluetooth speakers.
4. Opt for an experience gift.
Experiential gifts are the ideal last-minute gifts because they’re quick and easy to procure and offer the recipient a lasting memory. Print certificates to various experiences like wine tasting, race car driving and hot air balloon rides instantly from your computer. Get creative with packaging by combining the certificate with a coordinating item like a bottle of wine with a wine-making experience, for example. Check out eBay experiences or Groupon for an endless list of ideas!
5. Make something.
Making a gift may sound time-consuming and complicated, but there are several homemade items that are cheap, easy and quick to make. For example, you can put together a festive cookie mix gift by layering ingredients from your favorite cookie recipe in a mason jar or try this DIY Peppermint Sugar Scrub, it’s simple to make with just sugar, coconut oil, food coloring and peppermint essential oil. If you’re feeling crafty, make a painted or glitter ornament by following instructions here.
Regifting is a controversial practice, but when executed thoughtfully, it can be a great alternative to traditional gift giving. There are definitely do’s and don’ts for regifting, including using only new or like-new items and being honest about whether the recipient wants the item. Unused candles and accessories like scarves make great gifts for coworkers and neighbors. You can even regift a favorite book with a note letting the recipient know why you enjoy it so much, and why you thought they would, too.
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Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Consumer Reports, Forbes and many more. In addition, Andrea’s stories have been published among leading publications and sites such as Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, CNN Money, Huffington Post, LearnVest and New York Daily News. Check out Andrea’s demo reel or visit her website at AndreaWoroch.com for more information about booking an interview or requesting an original written article. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily money tips.