5 Ways to Save on Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

by Jacqueline Curtis on December 19, 2012

Waited until the 11th hour to buy gifts for your loved ones? Join the club. In fact, often retailers will prey on the unsuspecting slackers and procrastinators who wait to head to the mall until December 24th. Of course, you’ll need to buy gifts regardless, so that could leave you scratching your head, digging through leftovers and emptying your wallet. If you’re one of those people who waits until the last minute, you should know that you have options when it comes to shopping with little time to spare. You can actually save a buck by being smart with your money and still giving awesome gifts to your loved ones.

Use Coupon Codes

If you still have a few days until the Big Day, you can get away with shopping online as long as you check the store’s shipping policy and you’re sure the gift will arrive on time. If you do shop online, make sure you never checkout without looking for a coupon code first. Online retailers are competing with brick and mortar stores and will offer deals that you can snag at the mall. My fave place for coupon codes is RetailMeNot.com, but some retailers have codes posted right on their websites.

Buy Seasonal

Completely forgot to get your boss something for the office party? Seasonal companies that sell things like meat, cheeses, nuts and even specialty clothing items are usually ready and willing to close-out their goods as it gets closer to the big day. You’ll probably find deep discounts if you’re willing to purchase something seasonal as close to Christmas as possible. Fruitcake, anyone?

Hit the Drugstore

Even if you can’t bear the thought of facing the crowds at the mall, you probably need to purchase a gift somewhere unless your mom is totally OK with another macaroni necklace or homemade picture frame. Get to the drugstore! While you might think of it for medicine and Band-Aids, it’s a treasure trove of cheap, easy-to-get gifts like perfume, candy, small toys and cosmetics.

Get a Subscription

Magazine subscriptions are definitely a gift that keeps on giving and you can usually score a year or more on the cheap through services like Amazon’s magazine portal and MagazinesUSA. Grab the fashion lover in your life a subscription to Elle and gift a year of Popular Mechanics to your dad and you’re set. Just make sure to grab a newsstand copy of the mag to wrap up and place under the tree.

Print a Gift Card

Okay, so you totally spaced the holidays and now you need to grab something – fast. While they aren’t the most personal option, gift cards will do in a pinch. If you head to an actual store to grab a gift card, there’s a good chance you’ll spend more than you’d expected as you get sidetracked by sales and other items. Instead, try nabbing a gift card that you can email to the recipient or print off and stick in a card. Since cards are usually activated immediately, you can try this trick just hours before the present swap. Added bonus? Zero shipping fees.

Procrastination? No reason to damper your holiday spirit.

What’s your go-to gift when you’re short on time and funds?

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Jacqueline Curtis

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