Last Minute Shopping Tips

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Don’t Cry or Pout. Last Minute Shopping Doesn’t Have to Stress You Out

The holidays can be a wonderful time or togetherness and celebration and it can also be a time of stress and anxiety. Don’t let the rush and excitement of the season allow you to overspend or be careless with your money and purchases. Here are a few last minute shopping tips to help you keep your sanity.

Stocking Stuffers

Don’t forget stocking stuffers – when creating your holiday budget, stocking stuffers are usually not in the budget. To avoid blowing your bank account at the last minute, look at the dollar store for trinkets. Another great place to look are the dollar shelves at your local retailer.

Gift Cards

When you’re just not sure what to get, gift cards make great gifts. They also help keep shoppers on a budget, prevent wasteful spending on unwanted gifts, and are huge time savers. If gift cards are on your shopping list, you may be able to purchase them at a discount with credit card reward points. Gift cards and cash cards are also offered by many retailers as “value-adds,” which can often yield shoppers a higher net savings than other discounts.

Smartphones

Smartphones are the latest shopping tool and money saver. Many merchants offer exclusive deals to Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and mobile-alert subscribers. Other merchants have in-store displays with phone-scannable codes that retrieve product information and coupons. Smartphones also provide Internet access so shoppers can compare prices while shopping and look for online discounts.

The Internet

Each year more and more retailers are using the Internet and social media to inform consumers of upcoming sales and to offer shoppers great deals on holiday purchases. The Internet lets shoppers instantly compare the price of specific merchandise at hundreds of merchants, and lack of inventory is less of an issue at online stores than it is at brick-and-mortar retailers. Savvy Internet shoppers will almost always avoid having to pay full price for anything by using coupons and discount codes available on sites like Keycode.com. If shipping costs are a concern, many online merchants offer free or discounted delivery. For those that don’t, the cost of shipping is often offset by the sales tax you may not have to pay on many online purchases.

Credit Cards

If you can’t pay cash, credit cards are the best form of payment. Credit cards offer shoppers extra protection not available with debit cards and personal checks, and many cards offer perks like extended warranties, reward points, or cash back. But always keep in mind that credit card bills eventually have to be paid, so spend wisely, avoid impulse spending, and use the credit card with the best repayment terms if you think you may not be able to pay the entire bill when it comes due.

Receipts

Make it a practice to ask for a gift receipt for your purchases in the event the person who receives the gift needs to make an exchange or return. And make sure to save your sales receipts. This will help you make returns or exchanges, let you verify your credit card purchases when you get your statement, and allow you to keep a running total of your holiday purchases to ensure that you’ll have enough money to pay credit card bills when they arrive.

Paul Vazquez is the father of four and the Director of Media Relations at Keycode.com, an online coupon and promotion code company.