Last minute Christmas savings tips
Remember stores will be closed
First and foremost, don’t forget that Christmas is the one day of the year when virtually all businesses are closed. I’m sure you know this, but we can sometimes lose sight of the fact in the bustle of the days leading up to Christmas. If you end up having to run out for something, it’s likely that a gas station – and gas station prices will be the only place you find open.
So make a list of everything you’ll need on Christmas day right now, such as food for all three meals, plus snacks and drinks. Don’t forget batteries for toys, any pots and pans you need for special recipes, and any special clothing. Then check your list twice before Christmas Day.
Beware of dwindling stock at stores
Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to head to the store, even for stocking stuffers. Years ago, it wasn’t unusual to find a full supply of Christmas gear available for sale even up to New Year’s Day. However, we’ve noticed in recent years stores have stopped restocking their seasonal items earlier and earlier.
To avoid empty shelves when you go shopping, try to hit the stores this week rather than waiting until next Wednesday or Thursday. Otherwise, you might be forced to purchase something different or at a higher price than you were planning.
Don’t forget your coupons
You might be doing last minute Christmas shopping, but that’s no reason to pay retail. With all the deals available for both grocery and non-grocery goods available, don’t leave money on the table just because you’re rushed.
Wrapping and Tags
Save on gift tags by using up odds and ends of Christmas card sets. You can either cut out the pictures on the front or use them whole. If you have kids or grandkids, let them write a keepsake-worthy personal message to loved ones.
Use scrap or extra paper from school, work, or from printing items out at home to wrap small gifts. Wrap blank side out, and decorate. This is another way for kids to be involved in gift-giving as they go crazy with their creations.
Another idea is to use fabric you do not need. Or even consider cutting the sleeves off a stained shirt to make a gift bag. Creative options make for interesting conversation and great holiday memories.
To completely avoid the time writing, and expense of buying gift tags – just use different wrap for each person. For example, if you have 2 children: wrap one child’s gifts in one wrap, the other’s in different wrap. This saves time, and receivers can immediately tell which gifts are theirs.
Likewise, wrap items that are identical, but for multiple people, in the same wrap. For example, if you give gifts to teachers, hairdressers, employees, etc., just wrap them all the same. That way, you won’t have to tag them, or try to remember whose is whose.
Decorating your gifts
Use homemade ornaments, or ones you thin from your collection, instead of ribbons or bows.
Photographs make great personalized gifts or even package decorations. Think of those school photos you keep meaning to get out to people!
Forget expensive greeting cards. Unless you shop bargains, greeting cards are outrageous – and aren't necessary when giving a gift. Consider using one of the options above instead OR just write the person's name and a little note right on the wrapping paper.