Last minute holiday shopping hacks | Jobs Reply

Hopefully you didn’t add procrastination to your holiday shopping list, but if you did and now find yourself scrambling for last-minute Christmas gifts, don’t panic.

Despite the best-laid plans, Christmas seems to arrive faster than Santa’s trip around the world. A recent survey by Klarna found that nearly 80 percent of shoppers still have gifts to buy in the days leading up to Christmas. Listen to these holiday shopping hacks to avoid overspending and take note of these simple – but thoughtful – last-minute gift ideas.

Tips to reduce tension, stay on track

Make a list, check it twice and pay in cash: Avoid wandering aimlessly in crowded crowds. Write down what you need before you go shopping. Set your budget and stick to it. If you pay for purchases with cash (I know, who does that?) you can no longer swipe a credit card and pay off your bill.

Take the opportunity to take the curbside: Most major retailers offer same-day pickup, which can save you time and eliminate the temptation to pile too many items in your cart. Simply place an order (make sure your items are available at the store of your choice), select a time slot, zip up, park in a designated curbside spot and your associate will place the order.

Cash on credit card benefits: If you want to save money, consider using some of those credit card rewards you may have accumulated. Many credit cards, such as Discover It Cash Back and Chase Freedom Flex, offer the option to convert points into gifts and gift cards. If you have a Capital One Venture Reward Card stashed in your wallet and a traveler on your list, you can use your card to pay for a recipient’s TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application, which costs $78 and $100 respectively, and earn. statement credit up to $100.

Go to the drugstore: All pharmacies sell gift cards. But there are plenty of other great gift options, not to mention wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and cards. You’ll find toys, spa gifts, perfumes, candles, chocolate, crafts and more. For an extra personal gift, you can create a personalized photo gift — a cube, book, calendar, ornament or print — on your computer at home and pick it up at your local CVS or Walgreens store that day.

Avoid going to the grocery store: Congested aisles, empty shelves and long checkout lines can kill the joy of Christmas. Avoid it all together. Instead, order groceries online and pick them up at your local grocery store parking lot. For a few bucks more you can have them delivered to your door. Walmart, Target, Price Chopper, ShopRite and Hannaford all offer these services.

Gifts for procrastinators

Gift cards: Easy and on-demand, you can get same-day gift cards in-store, or online gift cards in minutes. Dozens of stores and restaurants — local and national chains — offer bonus cards with minimum purchases (see last week’s column for a list of bonus offers).

Certificates supporting local small businesses: Are you looking for something unique with a wide reach? Consider a gift card for many businesses. The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District also offers its Downtown Albany gift card available for purchase online and redeemable at nearly 50 locations in the city, including restaurants, art galleries, entertainment venues, hotels and shops. The Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association also sells gift certificates that can be used at various restaurants and retailers throughout the city. Certificates can be purchased in person at Adirondack Trust Company branches by cash or check.

Subscriptions: You can buy subscriptions to magazines, newspapers (please!), streaming services, classes and more online in minutes. Or, you can choose a subscription box service. Companies that host subscription box services are boxes full of selected samples and gifts for foodies, fashionistas, gardeners, beauty enthusiasts, craft beer lovers, pet owners and much more. They come every month or at certain times of the year.

Spa and beauty: Giving appointments for health and beauty day spa, massage, hair and nail appointments and other relaxation activities can be done online without leaving the house. If you can, exchange a gift card for a jar of bath salts or a new hairbrush for something extra.

Tickets: In pink? Besides tickets to see Taylor Swift, you will have no problem buying tickets for sporting events, concerts, theater and movies as a gift (“Hamilton” tickets at Proctors just sold out…). Most of the purchases like this are available online. If your budget is limited, Groupon is a great source for discounted tickets to local events.

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