Clock sitting on top of a pile of wrapped gifts

A Procrastinator's Guide to Holiday Shopping – Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Shopping the week before Christmas? Or on Christmas Eve? And you find yourself doing so year after year? Let’s face it, Christmas shopping is tough. From organizing your Christmas lists to remembering to get a gift for your child’s teacher, holiday shopping requires tons of multi-tasking and time.

Here’s a guide to help you balance your budget and save you time as you’re shopping last minute this holiday season … and maybe, just maybe, for once keep you from procrastinating until Christmas Eve!

Social media is your best friend

More people spend time posting on social media and checking statuses than they do on most other day-to-day activities. So why not take advantage of this during the holidays? You follow your friends, right? Pay attention to what pages they like, what statuses they re-Tweet, where they check-in at or what they’re sharing. Your loved ones might not tell you directly what is on their wish lists, but they might as well, because all of this can be found on their social media accounts.

Keep an eye out for where your friends and family members work. Some of them may have connections with companies and know the best time to shop for the greatest deals with those businesses.

Also, start following your favorite stores and businesses on social media. Businesses are advertising there now, so don’t just ignore these advertisements – many will come in handy. The advertisements will have promotional codes or an opportunity to win a free gift, and all you have to do is click a button.

Harness the power of your smartphone

Groupon, LivingSocial and Retailmenot apps are a must for the holidays and will score you great deals. But, there are apps for every aspect of shopping, not just the purchasing. According to International Business Times, the best free apps are Gift Professor, Red Laser and Slickdeals.

Gift Professor is perfect when you are not sure what to get someone. With access to 2,000 merchants, the app helps you find a gift for anyone who’s hard to please or you don’t know too well. It poses several questions about the recipient and then suggests gifts all within minutes. You can save gift suggestions and ultimately use this app all year round.

Use the Red Laser app before you head to the store or online to find the best deals. Rated as a top shopping app, the app lets you scan the barcode of a product and then the app scans for the best prices online or in store. Red Laser reveals any available coupons, deals and a store map to help you get your shopping done faster.

Slickdeals is a community-driven deal-sharing site that is great for bargain hunting. The app sends deal alerts on item you have searched for, displays handpicked and popular deals, and deals from other sites, i.e., Groupon or LivingSocial.

Use a Secret Santa website

Have a large family or a large group of friends? Instead of buying for everyone, make the holidays more fun and less stressful by using Elfster, a free gift exchanging website. All you have to do is sign up and add your recipients. Each recipient creates a wish list and the site automatically matches recipients and sets price ranges.

Last, but not least … Wait until after Christmas

The days following Christmas are a time to relax and spend time with family, right? Why not relax and get those post-Christmas deals! Download daily deals apps, Groupon, LivingSocial, and any apps from retailers or businesses near you. After Christmas, many retailers and product manufacturers offer daily deal websites permission to reduce the cost on their products. Individual clothing retailers make room for spring inventory the second Christmas is over. Download these retail apps and you can find deals without getting out of bed.

The holidays are supposed to be relaxing and fun. Hopefully, this guide will help you shop when you’re busy this holiday season and … maybe … stop you from procrastinating!