With less than a week to go until Christmas, many people are out doing their last-minute shopping. Parking lots are packed, shoppers are trying to pick up those final gifts and holidays favorites are flying off store shelves.

In all the holiday confusion, you might be looking for some ways to save on your eleventh-hour purchases. While you’re at it, you can also shop your local stores and markets to support small businesses and entrepreneurs!

As we always say, don’t head to the store without a plan. When shopping for holiday necessities, list-making and budgeting are the keys to success.

Tips for Braving the Big-Box Stores

The big-box stores may have flash sales and ads everywhere you look, but stick to what you know you need.

Do some research ahead of time to find where your items are at the lowest price. Check out our tips for Thanksgiving grocery shopping that work just as well for any holiday!

Large businesses can give great deals on many items, but not all. You can find unique items right in your own backyard that are in your price range. Shopping small has the added benefit of supporting your friends and neighbors who own small businesses, making the community stronger.

Saving at the Small Shops

Do your best to prepare a list when you’re shopping small businesses. Store owners will have an in-depth knowledge of what they can offer, so use their expertise.

Connecting with local shop owners builds a relationship that’s just not the same at larger stores. Those relationships are beneficial all year round for both parties!

If you’re grocery shopping, you can check out your local farmers’ market for fresh produce. Compare those prices to your local grocery stores, but the famers’ market may be able to offer comparable prices.

Many markets also offer unique items that big stores don’t have – think homemade pies, honey or soaps. A trip the farmers’ market can double as an opportunity to purchase last-minute stocking stuffers.

As you’re out shopping this week, find ways to shop small and shop smart!

Need more tips on saving money when you shop? Check out ideas for everyday affordability from Bridge to Wellbeing.