With just a few days remaining until the holidays, shoppers with gifts left on their list feel the pressure to spend. But even if you've waited until the eleventh hour to pick up those last few presents, you don't have to buy the first thing you see or pay an absurd amount of money.
Check out these shopping tips to stay within budget even when the clock is ticking.
It's a dirty secret, but lots of people just put a new bow on an old gift. In fact, AzBusiness.com says 23 percent of U.S. residents re-gift. The most popular repeats are wine, candles and, of course, the perennial fruitcake. For some useful re-gifting do's and don'ts, check out this recent article from ABC News.
2. Free Expedited Shipping
Some retailers will offer free rush shipping in the last few days leading up to the holidays, so check FreeShipping.org for codes before paying expensive overnight delivery charges. While you're there, check out their list of shipping deadlines to find out which retailers can send gifts in time for the holidays.
3. Ship-to-Store Offers
For those who want to avoid long check-out lines of crazed shoppers or the shame of offering your gift post-holiday, quite a few retailers these days -- including Sears and REI -- offer free delivery to their brick-and-mortar stores. Usually, you'll receive an email notification when purchase is ready for pick up. Best Buy even boasts some items can be picked up in under an hour.
4. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Another way to avoid rush charges is to purchase a present online and print out a picture, which you then wrap up for under the tree. After all, it's the thought that counts and your recipient doesn't have to worry about lugging the gift around town.
5. Magazine Subscriptions
There's a magazine for every interest, even for rodent fanciers. (Seriously. There's a magazine called "Rat & Mouse.") Surely you can find a monthly publication desired by that hard-to-buy-for loved one. Websites like Magazines.com and BestDealMagazines.com offer cut-rate deals, and the recipient will never know you paid such a great price.
6. Gift Cards
GIft cards are sold at almost any type of retailer including drugstores, supermarkets and some gas stations. Since most of these will be open late on Christmas Eve and some on Christmas, you can pick one up on your way to the festive holiday celebration. Otherwise, e-gift cards are life savers in a pinch. Send one via email directly to the recipient's inbox or print it from your home computer.
7. Beat the Masses
If in-store shopping is your only option, then don't let the stress of other shoppers get to you. Head to the stores at odd hours to enjoy less crowds and take advantage of last-minute sales. Select locations of stores like Toys R Us will be open 24/7 and others like Macy's, will stay open until 2 a.m. Through Dec. 23, Kohl’s will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight and Best Buy will welcome customers from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert and has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!