Home > Uncategorized > The Quick Guide to Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

Comments 0 Comments

The harsh reality? Christmas is a few days away, and for many consumers, gift shopping is not yet complete. But you don’t have to put procrastination on your list of holiday stressors; finishing up won’t be as bad or as harmful to your finances as you fear as long as you keep a few things in mind.

Shopping is Just a Click Away, But …

Many of us turn to online shopping for the convenience, but, as you place your orders, be mindful of shipping times and fees. E-commerce sites should have these times and charges prominently displayed this week, but do a little digging if the info isn’t front and center. You’ll find that many sites will offer free or discounted expedited shipping to ensure your packages arrive on time. However, there still could be some snags in the process. so unless you’re ordering a digital gift certificate, you might just have to go to the store.

Dealing With the Crowds

If you need to hit the stores, you should make a list – and not in just your head. It’ll be hectic out there and you’ll want to stay on track. You can use a note-taking app like Evernote or an old-fashioned piece of paper will do! If you have to work this week, check store hours. You’ll find that many stores open early and stay open late to accommodate shoppers like yourself.

Keep Your Cool

Whether you are shopping online or in-store, try not to get swept away by deep discounts. While deals are exciting and enticing, remember that 50% off means that you’re still spending as much as you’re saving. If a discount can be applied to the items on your list, go for it, but otherwise, you may want to just walk away.

If you’re out of ideas or out of time, you can also consider the following options. 

  • Gift Cards.Your grocery store and your local drugstore chains will have lots of gift cards available for retailers. These cards can also be purchased online and they usually come with an option to notify the recipient via email. Just remember to read the terms and conditions carefully as some gift cards may have fees attached to them.
  • Memberships/Subscriptions. Museum or zoo memberships or a subscription to a favorite magazine are always appreciated.
  • Do-it-Yourself gifts. If you’re at least a half-decent baker, you can whip up a batch of your “famous” cookies or muffins and package them in a gift box. Better yet, you can give them a nice one they can re-use.
  • Say it with Booze. Pick something up at the liquor store. Most liquor stores even carry decent gift bags that you can purchase in a pinch.
  • Photos. Some chains have online photo centers that can help you put together a quick present. CVS Photo, for instance, offers a service where you can order prints, cards and even photo books in as little as an hour. Walmart Photo offers a similar service where you can choose from cards and various prints – including collage prints and mounted prints – to be created for you in an hour.

Remember, high credit card balances can hurt your credit scores. You can see how your holiday shopping may have affected yours by viewing your free credit report summary Credit.com.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: dolgachov

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team