7 Ways to Lose Money with Last-Minute Gift Shopping

The following is a guest post.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert who shows people how they can live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as NBC’s Today, Good Morning America, Dr. OZ, CNN, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, and many more. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily savings posts.

1. Fail to Price Compare

Something called “dynamic pricing” is taking the online shopping world by storm. With revelations of price fluctuations over $100 on the same product, in the same day, it shouldn’t be ignored. If you fail to price compare, you may pay way more than you need to.

2. Pay for Shipping

You may not normally pay for delivery, but with the holidays so close you might have to, right? Wrong! You should never pay for shipping, especially with Free Shipping Day. Over 1,200 retailers will offer free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve, enabling you to find great deals, dodge delivery fees and get everything to the recipient on time. Otherwise, look out for free expedited shipping offers from online stores trying to push goods and drives sales in the last minute.

3. Shop for Too Many

According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers will spend an average of $240 on friends, neighbors, coworkers and even pets. Note that number doesn’t include family. Be sure your shopping list is realistic for your budget, and determine less-costly ways to show you care. From home-baked treats to burned copies of favorite holiday tunes, there are plenty of inexpensive or completely free ways to remember other people in your life.

4. Forget the Coupon

Even the most diligent coupon clipper forgets these precious papers at home. Thankfully, digital helpers ensure you always have discounts in the palm of your hand. Available for free on both Android and Apple devices, this handy app features coupons to use at hundreds of stores and restaurants for easy savings.

5. Deviate From the List

Browsing easily turns to buying when you find the perfect gift for someone — even if you’ve already bought that person a present or if they’re not on your list. During the season of giving, it’s common to feel generous toward every single person in your life (unless you’re scrooge), but it’s best to stick to your list for the sake of your budget. Remember the gift idea for another event, like the person’s birthday. I like to track my gift list and my spending using the Holiday Gift List app. Otherwise, I may completely forget my aunt but triple up on gifts for my sister!

6. Self-Gift Overboard

The same National Retail Federation survey referenced above points to plenty of self generosity, too. Consumers will spend $140 on gifts for themselves this year, amounting to 30-percent more than just eight years ago. The quickest way to suffer a holiday-debt hangover is to spend too much on yourself. Avoid the temptation and let the self-gifting begin after the new year, when your wallet is brimming with gift cards.

7. Spending to Save

Have you ever heard the term “spaving?” It refers to the practice of “spending just to save,” or buying an item because it seems like a great deal. Even if a product is marked down 50-percent, you’re still overspending if you never intended to buy it in the first place. So next time you pass a retailer with red sale signs in the store windows boasting 40, 50 or even 60% off, just keeping walking!

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