Why You Should Avoid Last-Minute Holiday ShoppingWhy You Should AvoidLast-Minute Holiday ShoppingThis may seem pretty self-explanatory, but it can be so tempting to just keep swiping every time you see something you or a loved one may want during the holiday season. If you put off holiday shopping to the very last minute, this can spell financial disaster. While a financial mistake or blunder can happen to anyone, if you plan ahead you can avoid breaking the bank!Don’t wait until it’s too late, and if you really need to last-minute shop here are some ways to do so without paying a fortune. Photo Courtesy of National Retail FederationShipping CostsYou might’ve had intentions to get your holiday shopping done before December rolled around, but life can get hectic. You may not have time to go to the mall or store after work resulting in online shopping! While online shopping has many perks, the downside is the costly shipping fees. It’s important to take some time and shop around online. One store may be offering your item but isn’t offering free shipping while another retailer is. You may be in a rush to finish your holiday shopping as quickly as possible but don’t press the submit button without comparing and contrasting different retail websites! In the end, this can wind up saving you a decent amount of money.“Sorry Your Item is Out Of Stock”Yikes, right! No one wants to hear their item is out of stock, especially when you have limited time left before the holiday. Unfortunately, this risk runs high when you may have procrastinated in tackling your holiday shopping list. As a result, consumers become more desperate to find something they can gift-wrap. This may lead to consumers having to buy costlier items in order to substitute what they originally wanted to purchase. This can be easily avoided by making it a goal to do your shopping earlier on in the season when stores have more stock. By last minute shopping, you put yourself at risk for spending more and putting your budget in jeopardy.To dodge making a big financial mistake that can lead you to accrue holiday debt, bring cash with you. While your item might be out of stock, still aim to bring the amount that item would’ve cost you to purchase an alternative gift to ward off racking up a larger subtotal. Make a budget with the maximum amount of money you can afford to spend on gifts this year. Before you even leave the house, make a list of who to buy for, what to buy, and the costs. Mapping out what you plan to purchase will prevent you from going over your total allotted budget. Just because you are shopping last minute doesn’t mean your budget should be thrown aside!Tis the Season for Identity Fraud Since last-minute shopping can put you in a craze swiping your cards left and right and can leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Identity theft is becoming more and more common around the holiday time. Photo Courtesy of NortonWhile you are in a rush, you may not notice your card has been charged for purchases you did not make until it’s too late. Falling victim to credit card fraud can really ruin the holiday cheer.To deter identity theft from happening, the top of your shopping list should be to protect your credit and bank accounts. If you are shopping online, avoid clicking suspicious links. You may get enticed to click on advertisements that are offering special sales or coupons but avoid clicking these unless they come from the actual retailer. Additionally, use secure connections and update your passwords in time for holidays. If you are shopping in the stores, you might want to refrain from using third-party ATMs. If you don’t already have your banking app, try downloading your bank app so you can monitor your statements quicker!Remember, the holiday season is a great time to gift your loved ones, but you don’t need to go into debt doing so. The holiday season may put a weight on your wallet, but if you rack up the credit card bills during the holiday season, you will find no relief in the New Year trying to pay off your debt! Leslie TayneLeslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.