7 Money-Saving Tips For Last Minute Shoppers

Yesterday on Instagram, I confessed to you that I wasn’t even close to being done with my Christmas shopping. I was so surprised to see so many of you in the comments say the same. Some of you said you hadn’t even started yet! Firstly, thank you for validating my procrastination. I’m so glad I’m not the only one!

Every year I think I’m going to be done with my Christmas shopping early. But, then Thanksgiving comes and the panic sets in. I usually pick up a few things during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and then look down at my list only to realize I’m only about 1/5 of the way done.

Personally, I like going to the mall to shop (despite the crowds and traffic during the holidays.) So, that’s the next step. I always have it in my mind that I’m going to find every single person’s present in one trip. Once again, I pick up a few things only to get home and realize now I’m maybe 1/3 of the way done.

And, that’s how I find myself where we are now. Just under two weeks until Christmas and I still have shopping to do. It happens every year.

The good news is, my procrastination has taught me some good lessons on last minute shopping and today I’m going to share that with you.

Last Minute Shopping Tips for Christmas


1. Make a List

The number one best Christmas shopping tip is to make a list. This is good even if you’re not shopping last minute. But, it’s great for procrastinators because it will help keep you on track. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re shopping and a list will act as a quick reference to who you need to shop for and some ideas of presents to keep your eye out for.

Lists also help prevent overspending on one person and not buying enough for another person.

Tip: It’s good to write some specific gift ideas on your list for recipients to make shopping easier. But in some cases, it’s OK to go more generic. If you don’t have an exact item in mind, keep your list broad such as “winter clothing” instead of just “red sweater.” If your list is too exact it will be a lot harder to find what you’re looking for. Keeping it more generic leaves wiggle room and you’re more likely to find what you need.

2. Don’t waste your time looking for coupon codes

Whenever I checkout online I always want to see if there are any good deals or coupon codes. Duh. Who doesn’t wanna save money. However, this process is TIME-CONSUMING. There are so many codes out there that are expired and don’t work. Typically, I end up wasting half my time looking for codes that never work.

No more! Now, I use the Honey extension. Honey is a Google Chrome extension that does all the work for you.

All you have to do is add the Honey extension (you can get it here) and then click it on any checkout page.

Honey will quickly scour the internet for any codes and try applying them all for you. It typically takes about 20 seconds. It almost always saves me money. I’ve saved as much as 50% on my entire purchase using Honey!

Money-saving shopping tips for all you last minute Christmas shoppers Click To Tweet

3. Stop at the Mall Offices

You’d be surprised at the coupons and offers available at the mall offices at your local shopping mall. These are the offices where you’d go to get things like a mall gift card. It’s worth the extra few minutes to stop in and ask if there are any deals going on that day. Very often the associates will know about sales or deals that aren’t always obviously advertised or displayed.

On top of that, the mall offices can be a goldmine for coupons. Since it’s getting towards the end of the year, they might have some extra coupons that are going to expire to giveaway as well!

Also, if you’re a student, many malls and outlets will give you an entire coupon booklet if you present your student I.D. (for example I know all Tanger Outlets do this).

4. Consider Making a Donation

Maybe you’re getting down to the wire with buying a gift for someone because you’re just stumped on what to get them. Maybe it’s someone you buy for every year and you’ve just run out of ideas. One gift I always love giving is the gift of a donation in someone’s name. It’s a perfect present for this time of year when giving back is so important. And, you don’t have to make a big donation to make a big impact.

You can find a cause or organization that means something to your recipient and then simply give a gift in their name.

There are a lot of sites that help to make a donation in someone’s name simple. I use WorldVision.org or JustGive.org

5. Take advantage of Free Shipping Day

If you don’t know about Free Shipping Day, then you’re missing out! Essentially, it’s one day in the middle of December when a bunch of the major stores agree to offer free shipping with delivery guaranteed by Christmas Eve. This year Free Shipping Day is December 15th. There are over 500 stores on board including Target, Kohl’s, American Eagle, Banana Republic, JC Penny, Old Navy, and many more!

On top of the free shipping guaranteed by Christmas Eve, many of these stores offer additional deals to celebrate this day. It’s sort of like a second Black Friday.

You can see all the participating stores at FreeShippingDay.com

Even if you're a last minute shopper, these tips will save you money on your Christmas list! Click To Tweet

6. Give the gift of an experience

Another great gift idea is to give the gift of an experience instead of a product. These are perfect last-minute gifts because you don’t need to wait for anything to arrive in the mail. Some examples might be:

  • Cooking classes
  • Movie/Concert/Sporting Tickets
  • Date night (dinner gift card and free babysitting if applicable
  • Cleaning Service (what mom/wife wouldn’t love a month of cleaning?!)
  • Family photography session
  • Haircut/blow out/manicure/spa day
  • Hotel gift card
  • Specaility food/drink tour (you can usually find good ideas on Groupon)

7. Price Match

Just because you’re out shopping last minute doesn’t mean you shouldn’t price match. There is NOTHING worse than spending more money on something than you had to. Even if you’re out shopping last minute, you can still make sure there isn’t a better price by using a price matching app. My favorite one to use is ShopSavvy.

Use this app to scan any item in any store to find the best price. Click To Tweet

You can use it to just snap an picture of an item’s barcode and the app with show you all the prices available for that item. Then, you can either buy from the place with the better price. Or, if you’re in a store that does price-match you can simply show them the lower price.

Want to save even more?!

Top 5 Money Saving Apps: Learn my five favorite apps for saving money!

Online Shopping Secrets: The BEST BEST BEST tips for finding the best deals online.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping: Check out my feature on WTNH, sharing my favorite tips for last minute shopping

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Hey There!

I'm Kallie!

Also known as That Practical Mom

I’m all about helping you simplify the chaos of life so you can slow down and enjoy it.

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