Well, Christmas is almost here and, for some of us, that means it is time to begin our shopping for family and friends. While it is often a source of comedy this time of year, last minute shopping is a real phenomenon with a host of reasons why it occurs including finding great deals, smaller crowds, or laziness and procrastination. Regardless of your reason for waiting until the last minute, below you will find last minute shopping tips that can help you save both time and money this holiday season.

Don’t Panic

If you are new to last minute shopping, bare in mind that one of the most valuable tips I can give you is that there is still time to get it all done so remain calm. When you begin to “panic,” you are more likely to make an impulse purchase or succumb to pressure from a salesperson. While everything may look good under the gleam of the store lights, snap decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse. Along the same lines, you should use caution when ordering items online particularly this close to the holiday. Shipping on these items can be outrageously expensive, and even with expedited shipping, items may not arrive on time.

Look for Sales

As the shopping window narrows, many retailers will work hard to move their inventory off the shelves. These efforts often result in sales that are directly catered toward those who find themselves doing a bit of last minute shopping. Some of their deals can be as good or better than Black Friday deals as retailers are trying to make room for new inventory in the new year. All of this adds up to some excellent bargains for some shoppers.

Have a Plan

While you may think that it was a lack of planning that led to the need for last minute shopping, it can actually take a lot of planning to pull it off properly. While you shouldn’t panic, you also can’t forget that time is at a premium so aimlessly searching for items your loved ones may or may not like is a waste of time. Instead, narrow down what you are looking for to limit the stores you need to visit. It is also wise to set a budget and stick to it so that you don’t over spend on gifts just because they were bought a little later than most people would buy them.