FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2019, file photo people walk by a Black Friday promotional at Cookie’s department store in the Brooklyn Borough of New York. Shopping at sales and using coupons may not be saving you as much money as you think. Knowing the pitfalls and having a plan can help keep your holiday shopping from coming back to bite you in January. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2019, file photo people walk by a Black Friday promotional at Cookie’s department store in the Brooklyn Borough of New York. Shopping at sales and using coupons may not be saving you as much money as you think. Knowing the pitfalls and having a plan can help keep your holiday shopping from coming back to bite you in January. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Millennial Money: How procrastinators can win at gift-giving

It’s down to the wire, but there are still methods to save money on your last-minute holiday purchases

Check the calendar. No, this isn’t a dream. It really is December, and Christmas Day is staring you straight in the face.

And if you celebrate Hanukkah, it’s coming even sooner.

Where did the holiday season go? Well, no time to reminisce now.

It’s down to the wire, but there are still methods to save money on your last-minute holiday purchases. Here are four simple ways to do it.

1. Jingle all the way to the store

You’re not the only one still shopping. In fact, Dec. 21 — dubbed Super Saturday because it’s the last Saturday before Christmas — is expected to be the second busiest shopping day, after Black Friday, according to ShopperTrak data from Sensormatic Solutions.

Your first instinct may be to shop online and avoid the crowded mall. But not so fast, says Christopher Newman, associate professor of marketing at the University of Mississippi.

“Shoppers can increase the chance that they get the right product at the best price by shopping in store, rather than online, just before Christmas,” Newman said in an email.

“This ensures that they aren’t limited to choosing from just the products that could ship in time for the holiday.”

Last-minute online shopping may also carry hefty shipping fees. Dec. 14 is the widely accepted cutoff for Christmas ground shipping this year, according to Rob Garf, vice-president of Strategy and Insights for Retail & Consumer Goods at Salesforce.

If you order online after that, you’ll likely have to pay to expedite the shipment.

2. Or buy online, pick up in store

If you’d rather not shop entirely at the store or entirely online, try shopping online and picking up your items at the store. In fact, buying online and retrieving your purchases from the store is a good option for shoppers, Garf says.

“It gives (consumers) the confidence that the product is going to be there and it’s going to give them the convenience that they can walk right in and pick it up,” Garf says.

He adds that some retailers may even extend an extra coupon or discount to shoppers who elect to buy online and pick up in store. Walmart does this.

This option is also good for retailers. Retailers offering buy online, pick up in store (also known as click and collect) will drive 28% more revenue share across their industry during the five days before Christmas compared with those that don’t, according to the 2019 Salesforce Holiday Insights and Predictions.

Retailers also know shoppers may be tempted to purchase additional items when they show up at the store.

3. Pick private-label presents

Purchase method aside, you also want to consider which items are on your gift list. When you have limited time to shop, it’s wise to narrow down your choices. Instead of sticking to your original plan, consider switching to less expensive presents.

Certain items are known to be cheaper just before Christmas, such as toys or previous-model electronics that didn’t sell well throughout the season.

You can also save money by changing the brands you buy. Consumers can get particularly good deals on a retailer’s own private label, for instance. Think the Kindle and Echo products from Amazon, or the Kirkland Signature line at Costco.

“Private-label products are already generally 15%-20% cheaper than their national brand counterparts, but shoppers can save even more around Christmas,” Newman said.

“Retailers can offer better deals on their private label brands than on national brands because their profit margins are higher on private labels to begin with.”

4. Pounce on limited-time sales

The fact that you’ve waited to shop until the final days before Christmas doesn’t surprise retailers. Newman says they know many shoppers delay, so they offer last-minute savings opportunities.

Be on the lookout for these types of promotions. They may be announced in advance, such as seven days of deals leading up to Christmas. Or, they may be spur-of-the-moment “flash sales” that happen without notice.

“Shoppers usually have to be vigilant and proactive in order to act upon last-minute flash sales,” Newman said.

Regularly check your email, social media and retailer websites to locate these if they’re announced.

And whatever you do, remember that now’s the time to start springing into action.

“Consumers are going to wake up from their Thanksgiving hangover and realize they have a really short time to swoop up the deals and make sure the presents get on the doorsteps and under the tree before Christmas,” Garf says.

Courtney Jespersen Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read