11 Reasons Procrastinating on Holiday Shopping Is Better for Your Wallet

Uncover the surprising financial perks of last-minute holiday shopping.
Updated July 18, 2024
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Almost every ad during the holiday season urges shoppers to get their gifts early, but many people never heed that warning, resorting to last-minute panic shopping.

However, procrastinating your holiday shopping is not as big an issue as you may think. 

Here are some ways that delaying your holiday shopping can actually help you keep more cash in your wallet this season.

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Better deals are on their way

Hero Design/Adobe red shopping bag with bookeh background

Plenty of sales preclude the holiday season, from Black Friday to Christmas deals. However, some of the best deals can be found after the season ends.

The days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve are filled with super deals, as is the Saturday before Christmas, known as Super Saturday. Pushing off your holiday shopping could help you secure some serious discounts if you play it right.

You avoid Black Friday hype

Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs/Adobe mall crowded with people at christmas

Black Friday deals are generally worthwhile, but they’re usually for bigger-ticket items like televisions, computers, headphones, and other expensive pieces of technology.

The sale also comes with a ton of dizzying, distracting hype, with brands marketing their items as “must-haves.” It can be easy to get swept up with the masses into buying the shiniest new item just to realize it isn’t a great gift. 

Waiting until after Black Friday can help you make a more level-headed purchase.

You have more time to save money for gifts

Siam/Adobe american dollars stuffed in piggy bank

It’s no secret that holiday gifts get pricey very quickly. It’s estimated that the average U.S. consumer spends $920 on gifts during the season.

December is already a tight spot financially, with Halloween and Thanksgiving putting a heavy dent in most shopper’s reserves. When you procrastinate buying gifts, you can pad your wallet a bit to make it not feel like as much of a financial hit.

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Holiday bonuses are on their way

pitipat/Adobe boss giving salary to business woman

Another thing to remember when you get down on yourself for procrastinating gift-getting is that bonuses might be around the corner.

While not everyone gets bonuses, those who do usually receive anywhere from 5% to 10% of their annual income. Considering the national average salary is just over $60,000, that could be as much as $3,000 on the low end.

You have more time to think up creative gifts

Urupong/Adobe man opening christmas present outdoors

Procrastinating your gifts also gives you time to think outside the box.

For many, it really is the thought that counts, so spend time and effort crafting a more sentimental gift. You could even make something if you’re skilled in a particular hobby, saving money in the long run while giving a wonderfully personalized gift.

You can find cheaper alternatives

nicoletaionescu/Adobe excieted woman completing grocery shopping

With so many big-name brands at the forefront of holiday marketing, it can be hard to parse through the pricier products for true deals.

If you wait a bit to start buying gifts, you can spend extra time searching for dupes and cheaper alternatives. If you dig deep enough, you can get things like headphones, watches, makeup, and other holiday staples that are just as high quality for a fraction of the price.

You avoid double gifting

sonyachny/Adobe woman opening christmas presnt at home

If you procrastinate your holiday shopping past the holiday itself, don’t worry just yet. This is a wonderful time to scope out what your friends and family have received as gifts already so you can avoid double gifting them.

Returning a gift because the recipient already had one isn’t just a hassle — it could cost you money. Some retailers, like Barnes & Noble, Ulta, and Abercrombie, have restocking fees you have to fork over.

Retailers will offer last-minute discounts

dark_blade/Adobe happy african american woman shopping

Last-minute shoppers are in luck, as retailers often offer last-minute discounts. You’re not the only one procrastinating. Shop owners know that people who put off their holiday shopping are a bit desperate and a lucrative market.

As such, many retailers will increase their deals and discounts right before major holiday weekends. You may have less of a selection than earlier in the shopping season, but you may have better deals.

You can pay for other costly expenses

gpointstudio/Adobe couple shopping together for christmas eve

Life doesn’t stop just because the holidays are here. For many, the winter season brings a slew of hazardous situations, like snowy and icy roads, frozen pipes, property damage, sickness, and more.

If you rush to get all your gifts at the beginning of the holiday season and drain your other funds, you’ll be out of luck should an emergency arise. 

However, if you have to postpone holiday gifts for a couple of weeks because of a wintertime emergency, odds are the people around you will understand.

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You can take stock of what you already have

imtmphoto/Adobe woman christmas shopping holding shopping bags

If you’re scrambling to find a gift at the last minute, take a breath and consider that you may not need to go to the store at all.

We’ve all received a gift that we just didn’t get any use out of, but maybe you know someone else who could put it to good use. There’s no shame in regifting something you don’t need, as long as word doesn’t reach the original gifter.

You can find out what people need

ivanko80/Adobe couple shopping at mall for christmas

The holidays can be physically, emotionally, and financially challenging for many. Maybe you were thinking about giving someone a fancy new tech gadget, but they’re struggling to get ahead financially

If you wait until after the holidays to give a gift, you can find out what people really need. Instead of throwing expensive items their way, they may need help with groceries or childcare. Holiday generosity isn’t limited to financial transactions.

Bottom line

dglimages/Adobe couple doing window shopping at chrsitmas

Many of us are guilty of procrastinating until the last minute to get our holiday shopping done. It’s nothing to beat yourself up over. 

Instead, embrace the perks that come with being a last-minute shopper, including better deals, thought-out purchases, and more. And don’t forget to use one of the best cash back credit cards to help your spending go further.

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Author Details

Lucy Clark Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.