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Last-minute holiday shopping tips to save time and money

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Christmas shopping tips and tricks

The holiday shopping crunch is on. You have just a few days left until Christmas, but don't stress out. Instead, follow these last-minute shopping tips to save both time and money.

Woman with pile of Christmas gifts

Comparison-shop before you leave home

If you're heading to the mall, do all your comparison shopping before you leave home. Do some research online, compare sales circulars, and find your best bargains. Bring the circulars with you to the store, so you can find the exact items you want and verify pricing. Also, check out apps for comparison shopping from Shopping.com, PriceGrabber.com and NexTag.com.

Ask about refund policies

Some stores adjust their refund policies during the holiday season, limiting the time frame when exchanges and refunds can be made. Be sure you ask about the policy before making your purchase. If the store only offers credit rather than a refund, consider shopping elsewhere.

Use just one credit card

Of course, your best choice is to not use credit cards at all during the holidays; however, if you can't pay for everything with cash, stick with your lowest-interest-rate credit card. It will make it easier to keep track of all your holiday spending, plus you'll save on interest.

Consider gift cards

For last-minute shopping, you really can't go wrong with gift cards and gift certificates. Most stores offer them online or by phone. Choose popular department stores or websites such as Amazon.com, rather than specialty stores that the recipient may not like. Ask what to do if the card is lost or stolen, and check for expiration dates.

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