Before frantically heading out the door to do your very last minute holiday shopping, take a breather and prepare yourself. Shopping in a panic can increase your risk of over-spending. We want to help you avoid going deeper into debt with this guide to effective last minute shopping.
The holiday season tends to sneak up on you. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales for 2016 are expected to grow 3.4 percent over last year. Most of us put off holiday shopping until the very last minute. It’s relatively easy for any of us to become overwhelmed and engage in an unnecessary last-minute shopping spree. This could potentially add up to a large amount of consumer debt.
Last Minute Shopping Guide
- Have a List – Create a targeted list of items you are looking for before heading to the store. Use the list as a guide to get you in and out of a store and decrease your chances of impulse buying.
- Have a Budget – In an ideal world you already set money aside for the holidays, but this is last minute shopping. Without a budget, you fall into the risk of overspending and drowning in debt. Figure out an amount you can afford and stick to it.
- Shop Online – Shopping online can save time, money and gas. Online shopping can also decrease temptations. Many retailers can ship items in time for Christmas even if you order just a couple of days before December 25.
- Go the Gift Card Route – If all the best items are sold out, don’t buy something just to buy anything. Purchase a gift card with the hope that the item will be back in stock after the holiday season.
- Research – Before heading out the door, check your favorite stores’ websites to see what sales they may be offering.
- Be Aware of Extra Costs – Shipping costs can add up, so it is important to be aware of them. Consider the pick-up in store option if there is a location relatively close by to save on these extra costs.
- Homemade Gifts – Short on money? Consider making gifts for your friends and family. Check do-it-yourself sites or create a gifts basket filled with small items.