Smart Last Minute Shopping Tips – Sticking to Your Budget!
With so few days left in the holiday shopping season, it is easy to find yourself buying last minute gifts that take you way outside of your budget. Friends or co-workers that you may not have included on your shopping list suddenly surprise you with a nicely wrapped, thoughtful gift and the waves of panic and guilt set in.
Before you rush out to the mall or the local drug store on your lunch break to make amends, take a few moments and a deep breath to consider your options. With the right approach, you can let people know you appreciate them without busting your budget.
You still have time to shop online!
For long-distance pals, take advantage of last minute online deals. You may think that after Cyber Monday, you’ve missed your opportunity but a number of retailers are offering last minute free shipping or express shipping upgrade deals this year. Aside from fan favorites like Amazon, sites like www.retailmenot.com can help you find online coupon codes for many stores.
It might seem like you don’t have time to search for coupons but for me personally, I’ve found that taking a couple of minutes to find a 25% off code plus free shipping on select items is worthwhile. Last minute deals can help you keep more dollars in your pocket while still allowing you to send a nice gift across the country!
Do you have a talent for crafting or baking?
Some of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve received have been homemade. Small batches of holiday cookies or homemade candy tied with a nice red ribbon and a card can help you remember more people without spending a small fortune on store-bought gifts. This can require some planning ahead, but think about what you are good at making and see if you can still squeeze in a last-minute baking session this weekend.
If you’ve not a baker, homemade ornaments or other crafts also make nice gifts for neighbors, friends or co-workers. For kids, this season’s popular “Rainbow loom” has made giving rubber-band friendship type bracelets hip again.
Food is your friend
Even if you don’t have time to bake or make something, stopping by the local grocery store to make your own fruit basket or pick-up a bottle of wine can be a lot less expensive than other gift options. Most of us find it challenging to eat healthy during the holidays, so a variety of fresh fruit can be a welcome alternative to more expensive (and fattening) packaged holiday gifts.
If you have a friend who loves to cook, a small basket or other fun container with a variety of BBQ sauces and a grill brush may be the perfect solution vs. a pricier gift. Is an avid baker on your list? Pick up some baking items you know they will use and dress them up with an inexpensive holiday container and ribbon.
Remember, despite the dwindling time you can still accomplish a lot if you take a deep breath and avoid impulse buys.
At the end of the day, it’s all about creativity and putting some thought into your gift. The old saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts,” and that’s never been more true in today’s economic climate. So take your time, take a breath, and take the change to make someone’s holiday a little more special!