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• Dec 20, 2021

The holiday season is a busy time, and in all the chaos, it's easy to fall behind on your to-do list. So it's understandable if you haven't completed some (or any!) of your shopping yet by the time the holidays are right around the corner.

You'll likely face higher prices and shortages of popular products when you shop at the last minute, but that doesn't mean you have to throw out your budget. These strategies can help you find affordable gifts on a tight deadline. Learn more about this year's holiday season shopping from the TD Bank’s 2021 Merry Money Survey.

Be flexible

If you have your heart set on buying your loved ones specific items, you may be disappointed if many of those products are out of stock—or priced higher at crunch time. Instead of looking for a predetermined list of gifts, think about each recipient's interests and preferences. Then when you see things for sale that are within your budget, consider whether they would appeal to any of the people you're shopping for.

Buy digital products

There are only so many physical goods on the shelves, and given this year's supply chain disruptions, they may sell out earlier than usual. But digital items aren't subject to the same constraints and can be purchased again and again without running out. Try shopping for digital art or music, video games or ebooks if store inventories are running low.

Buy tickets to use later

Tickets to holiday events will probably be quite pricey, but you may find great deals on admission to attractions in January or February. Giving tickets to be enjoyed in the new year allows your recipient to keep the holiday fun going a little longer.

Make something from scratch

Homemade soap or candles, upcycled furniture, or handcrafted picture frames all make good presents. Just be sure you choose a craft project that can be completed in a relatively short timeframe. Your recipients will value your DIY gifts because they'll know how much love and care you put into them.

Give gift cards

If stores have run out of the products you wanted to buy, you can always get gift cards that your loved ones can redeem after the holidays once retailers have restocked. To make this gift more personalized, look for gift cards from specialty stores or local businesses that your recipients care about, rather than all-purpose cash cards or cards for generic chains.

Donate to a charity in their honor

A contribution to charity is always a meaningful gift, and the recipient may appreciate it more than a standard present because it makes a difference and helps others. Charities are always accepting donations, so this is an option no matter how little time you have left before the holidays. And because you decide the amount to give, a donation is a good choice regardless of the size of your budget.

For more on personal finance topics

If you have more questions about personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank's website.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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