money·2 min read

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Holiday Spending

Procrastinator Guide to Holidays
Getty Images
Dec 12, 2019

The Story

Remember vowing to finish your homework right after school Friday, only to pull an all-nighter on Sunday? Putting off your holiday to-do list is like that. Except it can cost you some serious dough. 

But rushing is a holiday tradition. 

You’re not wrong. More than half of holiday shoppers buy presents up until the Saturday before Christmas. These tips can help you save at the register:

  • Zero in on who’s left. Set a per-person budget, then hit the stores with cash in hand so you can’t overspend. Psst...the 1.5% rule can help. 

  • Ask about free gift wrapping. Because wrapping ‘em yourself will take longer. And cost more.  

  • Check which stores have extended holiday hours...or offer free in-store pickup so you don’t have to elbow your way through crowded aisles. Time is money when you’ve got this little left. 

Related: Holiday Gifting Without Spending (Too Much) Money

What if I still need to book travel?

  • Narrow your search. Flights are typically cheapest on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

  • Recoup some of your expenses. Renting out your space to fellow travelers can balance the scales. 

And if I’m not ready for my hosting duties?

  • Pare back the menu. A casual finger food feast can be just as filling and fun as a formal, sit-down dinner. 

  • Level-set with your guests. And actually assign them something to bring when they ask. That way, you can limit your focus and really nail your signature charcuterie board. 

  • DIY decorate with your wrapping leftovers. Patterned paper makes great tray liners, ornaments, and wall decorations when you’re down to the wire.  

theSkimm

The holidays aren’t exactly a low-key (or low-cost) time of year. Leaving everything to the last minute doesn’t help. Getting disciplined, cashing in on freebies, and looking for deals in all the right places can. 


Subscribe to Skimm Money

Your source for the biggest financial headlines and trends, and how they affect your wallet.

fbtwitteremail