Are You Done?

HolidayBells Shopping, I mean? Are all your presents bought, wrapped, and nestled snugly under your tree? (Or hidden someplace where Snoopy McSnoopers can’t find them?) Of course they are…unless you’re like 52 percent of Americans who still need to finish their gift-hunting, or 24 percent who (gasp) haven’t even started yet, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey. If you’re one of the (apparently) many who are still twirling from store to store in a last-minute panic, here are some tips to keep your wallet from self-combusting:

Pay attention. I’ve noticed that when I’m shopping in a hurry, I tend to grab things that I think someone will enjoy rather than trying to find a present that fits into my budget. It’s easier, yes, but it’s also a great way to watch money go flying out the window. If it’s too expensive, take a moment to ask yourself if you can’t find something else.

Don’t go overboard. Have you been caught by those cheerful displays of knick knacks sitting helpfully by the checkout aisle? “Buy me!” they sing. “I’m so cute! I’m the greatest stocking stuffer ever!” Stores know what they’re doing. If you have a stocking to stuff, by all means, stuff it, but be mindful about the checkout-aisle impulse buys. Five dollars here, six dollars there, and three stores later you’ve spent $50 on miniature Zen gardens and tiny origami books. No one’s going to think you’re any more thoughtful because you bought them a cute magnetic puzzle.

Eat. I’ve definitely spent an entire day shopping for gifts and realized that I was starving because I’d never paused for lunch—at which point I started buying everything in sight so I could get home for dinner. Pack snacks, or make sure you allot some time for sustenance. Shopping is a contact sport. Plan accordingly.

Are you done with your holiday shopping?