The following is a guest post from financial expert, Andrea Woroch of Kinoli.com.
Procrastination is more than an occasional choice, it’s a way of life. Waiting until the last minute requires a different set of rules. It calls for a nose-to-the-grindstone approach and a focus that can’t be broken.
Sure, procrastinators sacrifice a certain amount of sanity and security, but some of us only thrive under such circumstances. With Rasmussen Reports recently finding just 15% of Americans have finished their holiday shopping, slackers are suddenly the majority. Whether you’re experienced in the ways of waiting or it has been thrust upon you unexpectedly, these tips will help you affordably tackle your list before time expires.
- Skip the Store
Are your friends constantly raving about your secret salsa recipe? Do they demand to know where you got your knitted woolen mittens? If you have some special skills, put them to good use making presents. There’s no need to waste time buying each neighbor and co-worker a personal present when you can easily whip something up at home that everyone enjoys. If you aren’t the most skilled crafter, check out these easy do-it-yourself gift ideas like beeswax candles or peppermint bark candy.
- Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day
Procrastination comes with a certain amount of risk. When you wait until the last possible minute to shop, the variety of pricing options is often lacking. Luckily, there’s an entire shopping holiday dedicated to the lifestyle. The fifth-annual Free Shipping Day takes place Monday Dec. 17, providing free shipping, big discounts and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. If you don’t get deals online that day, you may wind up pushing past the point of no return. But if you are hoping for a discounted shipping promos, you can get coupons for ebay shipping. I believe this is not a season sensitive discount coupon so you can always use it as your choice.
- Reuse and Recycle
According to a recent survey from CreditDonkey, 83 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t mind receiving a regifted present. With so much acceptance, why bother with shopping at all? Dig through the long-forgotten treasures in your garage and attic for any acceptable last-minute presents. You may need to factor in time to dust, clean and polish stuff that’s been stashed away for a while, but those long forgotten items make great gifts for many on your list. A great website to visit is www.musicmagpie.com, in order to recycle CDs, DVDs, and even games.
- The Gift of Time
You’re never going to convince a teenager spending time with them is an acceptable holiday gift. However, your grandma is a different story. Sure, you’ll have to sweep the garage or sort through photos eventually, but it saves you precious time and money right now. Plus, where else will you get to hear about the good-old days when movies cost a quarter and the merits of Murder She Wrote? Spending time with a loved one isn’t the only way to gift yourself. A friend or family member may appreciate free babysitting, dog watching or perhaps web-design services–your speciality skills come in handy this time of year.
- Double Down
If you have a history of holiday procrastination, you’re undoubtedly familiar with gift cards. These last-minute lifesavers are always there to bail you out when your back is against the wall. This year, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone if you know what cards to buy. A number of stores and restaurants are offering bonus gifts throughout the holidays with a qualifying gift card purchase.
- Give an Experience
The daily deal has opened up a whole new world for procrastinators. Each day, businesses and restaurants offer up heavily discounted vouchers that can be delivered quickly via email. Plus, recipient’s standards for many daily deal experiences have been relaxed. Skydiving lessons make for an awesome present, but no one expects to be presented with a plane and parachute on Dec. 25.
- Charitable Giving
Not to say charitable donations aren’t thoughtful, but there’s a reason this tip comes last. Unless you’re friends with serious humanitarians, most people would prefer something else. However, it’s an easy escape if your last-minute options are limited. Not only can you make donations at any time, how can the recipient complain about helping others? Visit JustGive.org for a list of 1,000 charities for 19 causes to find on that’s meaningful to the recipient and make the gift donation more personalized. Just try to use a little more tact than legendary procrastinator George Costanza.