Help Me Hank offers last-minute shopping guide

There's little doubt many Americans delay their holiday shopping until the last minute.

A new survey from RetailMeNot.com found almost nine out of ten shopper admit they wait until the deadline to buy some gifts. There are three big reasons people wait: they're undecided about what gifts to buy (44%), they are too busy (30%), and they were waiting to see how much money they had left (21%).

Help Me Hank has rounded up a few easy ways to relieve some of that last-minute holiday stress. The first piece of advice, go with the gift that many people actually enjoy, gift cards! Rebekah George, a shopping and lifestyle expert from RetailMeNot.com, says 67% of people actually prefer gift cards. She also pointed out one way to make them more personal.

"Get them a gift card for something they can experience. I'm talking about a cooking class or wine-tasting, you can't go wrong," she told Help Me Hank.

She also says you can find great prices in some popular items. "As we move closer to Christmas, this is when you're going to see deeper and deeper discounts." she said. "Another great item is beauty products. Sephora is actually offering a great deal, 60% off their hot holiday stocking stuffers."

Shipping deadlines and alternatives

As shipping deadlines fast-approach, George says you have to be very mindful of those deadline, or you can use an alternative approach. She suggests doing the shopping online, but then heading to the store to pick up the items. She says that allows much more flexibility in your busy schedule.
"You can peruse a site at midnight, order your items, then pick it up the next morning easily in the store, even curbside," she said.

By the way, December 18th is Free Shipping Day. That's the day 600 retailers will guarantee delivery by Christmas, without charging extra fees.

Don't forget security

Finally, as you're running around don't sacrifice the security of y our personal information. Remember to keep track of your credit or debit cards, carefully store receipts, and make sure mistake don't happen.

"When you're in a frenzy for the last minute, I definitely suggest checking your credit cards statements. You want to make sure you're getting charged for the right things," said Rebekah George, a shopping and lifestyle expert from RetailMeNot.com.

Other last-minute shopping guidance

1) Just because you're shopping at the last-minute, don't forget to get organized! Make a list of those gifts you still need, and come up with a strategy about which things can be purchased online and which things you need to get at the store. Make every second count as you catch up on those last purchases.

2) Set a time limit for how long you will be in the store. Retailers are hoping to keep you browsing through the aisles as long as possible. You may be very tempted to make "impulse buys" at the last-minute. So, set a time limit, do your business, and get back home.

3) Consider giving the gift of food! It's something you can make (or order) with your own two hands and it can feel more personal than some other options.

4) Don't try buying clothes at the last-minute. Getting just the right color and right size can be difficult when you have a lot of time. Finding the perfect shirt or dress for someone in a hurry can be really frustrating. If you really want to give someone clothes, tell them you will take them shopping after the holiday, and you can even spring for lunch!

5) Consider shopping on Christmas Eve. The stores should be a little emptier as many people have already started their celebrations.

6) If you have already received some gifts that aren't right for you, but could be perfect for someone else, consider regifting. Just be careful to regift strategically so the giver and second-hand receive have no idea what just happened.

To find more last-minute deals, go to RetailMeNot.com.  You can click on the Christmas tab, or click on the Browse button and look for Product Deals.

Happy shopping!


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