3 Essential Tips For Last-Minute Shoppers

Dorota Haskins, Chartered Professional Accountant |

Winnipeg Chartered Professional Accountant

It’s that time of year again when the last-minute shoppers will be out and about in droves. If you’re one of those last-minute shoppers, be prepared for crowded malls, practically-bare shelves, and almost-empty card racks.

Whether you’re a savvy-shopper or a habitual procrastinator, anticipate the inevitable and set aside plenty of time to get to and from your crowded destination of choice. Make sure that you don’t end up paying a premium for those last-minute gifts and end up with an inflated credit card statement in January. While last-minute shopping may be your only option, there are things you can do to avoid bad shopping habits and keep the costs in check.

Arrive with a List in Hand

Make a list of who you need to buy for and what you intend on getting them (at least have an idea). Last-minute shoppers that don’t make lists risk wandering the malls and making impulse purchases that may not even be suitable for the intended gift recipient. (Download a printable list here)

Pay with Cash

last-minute-shoppersPaying with cash is the best recourse against overspending. If you’re on a budget, Have a list, stay on track and on budget.

While using credit isn’t the best option, but if you do choose to pay by credit, avoid using the card with the lowest balance as a means to control spending. Instead, use the card with a higher credit limit so that your credit utilization ratio remains low and doesn’t negatively affect your FICO score.

Consider Unconventional Gifts

last-minute-shoppersLast-minute shoppers may not have many options left in the mall and may end up resorting to gift cards which can come across as impersonal to some gift recipients. While gift cards are good for stocking stuffers and for those recipients who absolutely has everything and is impossible to shop for. Consider making a batch of cookies and throwing in a Netflix subscription, a pair of headphones or a cozy blanket and wrap it up nicely with a pretty bow. Gift baskets tailored to the recipient’s preferences (chocolates, tea, coffee, food) also make great gifts. Thinking outside the box makes the gift more personal and appreciated by the recipient.

Final Thoughts

To save time, ask about free gift-wrapping services. Many stores may offer this service at no charge in the final days before Christmas for all those last-minute shoppers. This will not only save you time but also money on gift wrap.