Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Hurts Your Wallet

It’s finally happened. We are now in the last week leading up to Christmas and for many shoppers (mostly men), it’s time to finally hit the stores and end the procrastination. In the next few days, last-minute shoppers will make last-minute gift purchases. However, when the dust settles, last-minute shoppers will have handed over far more money than those who started earlier.

You Miss the Sales

Retailers heavily discount merchandise throughout the holiday season to generate foot traffic. That means that you’ve completely missed most of the best deals and sales for the holiday season by waiting until the last week. Since most budget savings are found via smart shopping, you can be sure that you are missing the boat with your Hail Mary shopping expedition.

Trouble Finding Hot Items

Your wallet will probably thank you if you were to skip on the holiday’s hottest items. However, that often means a lot of crushed hopes and dreams from a little child. If you are planning on getting your hands on the fastest moving gifts this year, you have to start shopping early. Stores regularly run out of hot ticket items, which leaves the last minute shopper little alternative but to pay a premium on rarity. I’ve seen people drive city to city looking for the last hard-to-find gift. That present costs far more than if it had been purchased weeks in advance.

You Pay a Premium on Indecision

People associate love and gifts in two ways.

  • There is the thoughtfulness of the gift. Finding the one perfect item tells your loved ones that you really spend a lot of time thinking about them.
  • The other way relates to the size of the price tag. The more money that is spent, the more the giver must love the recipient.

Basically, method one is much cheaper and probably the preferable choice for a great number of shoppers. However, thoughtfulness takes…well…thought. Something that is hard to give when you are on your last shopping opportunity. That leaves most last-minute shoppers using the big price tag method for gift buying.

Perhaps some last-minute gift shoppers can chime in and confirm or deny these reasons. However, one thing is certain. Waiting until the last minute narrows your shopping options, and that means budgets need to expand.

You might dislike the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but waiting until the last minute is only hurting your wallet. If you can’t beat them, join them.

100% of my Christmas gifts were purchased online.

It’s official… 100% of my Christmas gifts were purchased online.

First ever for me.

  • Toys and Dr. Seuss books for the new niece and nephew – all from
  • College alumni paraphernalia for the sports fans of the family –
  • Books, housewares and electronics – all from
  • Baby picture prints –

Also a first, I paid $0 — zilch — zero — nada — in shipping and handling charges from everything I bought from, while I did pay a few bucks from WalMart and

As I documented earlier in an Amazon order that weight approximately 15 pounds and came in 3 separate shipments, I paid $0 in shipping and handling charges which actually saved me 38% on my total bill. I worked this angle for 3 separate orders that shipped in 8 different packages and got every bit of it free of charge.

The scary thing, especially if you’re a brick & mortar business… I paid less than $8 for shipping and handling for over a dozen gifts.

As retailers have recently learned, shipping and handling costs are a major psychological hurdle for online shoppers, so now that online retailers like have found our “shopping catnip”, the urge to whip out that credit card or use PayPal becomes all the more difficult to resist.

And why not? Who wants to waste time driving to Target et al when someone is willing to deliver to your house for free? Only Christmas shop purists and last minute shoppers I’m guessing.

So it begs the question: will online shopping become the new normal of Christmas shopping in the upcoming decades? Once Gen X and Gen Y get older, who do a greater proportion of their shopping online, is shopping from the comfort of your couch the way of the future?