ThreeJars Daily: Save On Last-Minute Gifts

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Save On Last-Minute Gifts

Don’t waste money just because you’re on panic-Christmas-shopping mode. Here’s how to get great presents for less, whether you’re shopping today or on Christmas day, from Kathy Spencer, author of How to Shop for Free.

by Leslie Barrie

Got five days: Get in the sale loop.
Go to your favorite stores’ web sites and get on their e-mail list, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Then sit back and wait for the last-minute deals to come in. “In past years Toys “R” Us has offered their ‘Countdown to Christmas’ sale, and sent out e-mails to the subscribers with discounts that regular consumers wouldn’t otherwise have a clue about,” says Spencer. Since you have a little time, you can see what stores are offering before you shop.

Got two days: Don’t pay a lot for express shipping.
You always thought when you saw those “Order by December 23 for Christmas delivery” ads that you’d never be in that boat and now you’re faced with paying through the nose for express shipping to get a present to Aunt Betty? There could be a way out. “Before you buy anything, Google the name of the store where you plan to buy the gift, like ‘Kohls’ and then type ‘shipping code’ in the same search to see if there's a promotion for shipping discounts,” says Spencer.

Got one day: Go for winter or holiday stuff.
There’s always someone you’ve accidentally left off your list. Uncle Joe! Give him something he can use during the cold winter months—like a nice wool cap or gloves. Stores typically put their winter clothing on sale right before Christmas. Or consider something holiday-themed—retailers don’t want to be stuck with holiday items after the fact.

Got six hours: Think toys.
A toy you ordered hasn’t arrived and you’re one present short for your Christmas party? No worries. “Some big stores put the majority of the toy department on 30 percent clearance on Christmas Eve,” says Spencer.

Got 5 minutes: Hit print.
A friend of yours called to say she’s on her way over to drop off a gift? Eeek! This is when a stock-pile of gift cards would come in handy (make a note for next year). If you don’t have one, log on to, says Spencer, and get your friend a printable gift certificate to her favorite restaurant at a sweet savings – most of the certificates valued at $25 will only cost you $10 (just pick a place she goes to a lot because many restaurants require that you spend a certain amount of money there in order to use the certificate). Pop the certificate in a card and you're all set. Now take a deep breath, and have an eggnog!

Leslie Barrie is a writer and editor in New York City.


December 24, 2010 at 9:55 AM
Jessica07 said...

While they're all good tips, I especially like the one day and 5 minutes gift ideas. :)

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