Money & Career

5 steps to successful last-minute holiday shopping

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

5 steps to successful last-minute holiday shopping

If you're a last-minute shopper, you know how it goes. You procrastinate and procrastinate until it's almost too late -- then shop like crazy to buy all those gifts. You whip out the credit card and money is no object because you have no other choice -- right?

Then you get your credit card bill in January and swear to start shopping earlier -- but somehow, you never do.

It's time to break the cycle. You might have procrastinated, but you can still find gifts that will help you stay on budget and free of debt.

1. Stick to your budget
Try your best to stick to your budget despite any pressure or stress. You'll feel pleased and proud when you don't get a massive credit card bill in the New Year. The best way to stick to your budget is to bring the right amount of money with you when shopping and not carry your credit or debit cards. There's no reason to keep temptation in your wallet.

2. Hit the Internet
Yes, you are shopping at the last minute, so the chances of receiving your purchases on time are very small unless you pay a ridiculous shipping fee. Instead, consider making use of group buying sites like WagJag (WagJag.com), TeamBuy (TeamBuy.ca) and Groupon (Groupon.com). All have holiday sections where you can buy gifts at a discounted rate and just print off the coupons to give on the day itself.

3. Go local and independent
Does the mall make you crazy and in a hurry to leave? Shop streetside instead, in local and independent stores and boutiques. They tend to be smaller and less crowded -- meaning breathing space, so you can calmly choose your gifts.

4. Donate yourself
Well, your time or your skills instead of spending money. Offer babysitting time to new parents or a movie date to your best friend, or bake cookies or other goodies as gifts. If you're crafty, consider making your gifts instead of buying them.

5. Donate to others
Consider donating to a charitable organization in your friend's or family member's name. Some charities will send a card (real or virtual) to recipients letting them know about the gift. As an example, charitable organization Plan Canada lets you buy gifts for friends and family like these handmade bracelets and the money goes to helping children around the world.

There are many ways to give gifts to loved ones that don't involve mass money spending. Take a few minutes to think and the results can be beautiful and creative -- and give your credit card a rest this holiday season.

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5 steps to successful last-minute holiday shopping

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