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Don't stress over last minute holiday shopping!

You've heard about it in the news: Supply chain issues, shortages, delayed shipping — the list of challenges this holiday season is long.

Retailers and suppliers have been urging consumers to shop early this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you've had time to do that.

If you’ve pushed off shopping until now, here are five ways to keep your last-minute shopping stress-free and inexpensive.

Order online and pick up in-store.

Worry less about delayed shipping or long lines in stores before the holidays. Instead, order what you need online and arrange to pick it up in the store locally. Most retailers offer this option now, and choosing it will give you the best of both worlds. You can browse from the comfort of your home, and pick up what you need (provided they still have it in stock) in no time at all, usually on the same day or within 24 hours. As an added bonus, many stores have designated parking spaces for shoppers who are picking up these types of orders.

Get stocking stuffers from the grocery store.

The grocery store is a surprisingly cost-effective and fun place to pick up stocking stuffers. Browse carefully for fun finds in the holiday or seasonal aisle, from activity books and sticker packs for the little ones, to scented candles in the home aisle and funky-colored nail polish for your tweens and teens in cosmetics. You'll be at the grocery store picking up milk and bread, anyway!

Send a gift card.

Gift cards are the best cheat for the overwhelmed shopper, but they can also be a tad impersonal when you want to show you really care. Take the easy way out and keep the personal touch in your gift-giving by purchasing a gift card for a specific store you know they love. You can suggest a specific gift item to your giftee that the gift card will cover (like a massage or a new video game) and choose where they should buy the gift from. Add a customized message!

Shop small businesses.

Avoid the heavy crowds and empty shelves by shopping at smaller, independently owned stores. They’re likely to be better stocked, even late in the season, and you can enjoy more personalized service, too. In addition, small businesses are still hurting from the coronavirus lockdown and, more recently, from the spike in inflation. Shopping at local mom-and-pop stores will be helping a struggling business stay afloat during a time of year when kindness counts most.

Shop during non-peak hours.

Another way to avoid the big crowds and bare shelves is to shop during slower business hours. In retail-speak, this means hitting the shops as soon as they open in the morning. The shelves in most stores are restocked overnight, and if you get there before the crowds, you’ll get first picks at the best gifts. Aside from a bigger selection, shopping in an emptier store will make it easier to make responsible, budget-conscious decisions.

Leaving some or all of your holiday gift-shopping for the last minute doesn’t mean you need to blow your budget, fight big crowds, or try to make your list work when you’re facing empty shelves. Use the tips outlined above for last-minute shopping that’s easy on the wallet, light on the stress, and makes it possible to find the perfect gifts.

And don’t forget, you can use your CommonWealth One Visa® Platinum Rewards or Signature Rewards cards to earn double the points when making your last-minute purchases.

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