If 'tis the season for you to put off your holiday shopping for the last few days before Christmas, you are not alone! According to the Today Show, despite $25 billion dollars already spent this holiday season (up 15% from last year), 37 million consumers have not yet started their holiday shopping (I happen to be one of those consumers!).
Here are a few holiday shopping tips that may help to make your season merry and bright...and to get you through that last minute holiday rush!!
- The National Retail Federation states that 90% of online retailers are offering free shipping. Equally as important to free shipping is a free return policy. Be sure to read the details of this policy so you don't have to fork out any extra bucks to return an item that didn't work out for you or your gift recipient.
- Consider taking a day off from work to do shopping. A week day morning is an excellent time to do some shopping. Not only do you not have to battle the after-work crowds but you get to make the most of your day. Many stores open early and close late during the holiday shopping season so take advantage of this! You may be able to knock out all of your shopping in one day!
- Don't rule out shopping on Christmas Eve. Many malls are not crowded because people begin gathering with their families. PLUS, many retailers begin their markdowns on Christmas Eve so there are some good deals to be had if you wait until then.
- Crowds aren't for you? Consider shopping online. Many retailers are guaranteeing delivery by Christmas eve on in-stock items. Be sure to check order deadlines for this guaranteed delivery because it does vary from retailer to retailer.
- Always make a list. If Santa does it, then it MUST be a good idea! In reality, a list will help you keep track of everyone you plan to shop for. I also write down three gift options for each person so that I know what to look for instead of randomly shopping. It helps to save lots of time!
- And speaking of saving, be sure to make a budget. Not having a budget can lead to overspending and, let's face it, who wants to be stuck with hefty credit card bill at the end of the season? Set a target amount to spend for each person on your list and try to stick within a few bucks of that target. You will feel a lot better about the holiday and budgeting eliminates a lot of holiday stress.