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Debt.com » Ask The Expert » After-Christmas Shopping: Can I Shop For Presents On Dec. 26?

After-Christmas Shopping: Can I Shop For Presents On Dec. 26?


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Question: You always write about saving money, so I have an idea I want to run by you. I work in a large department store and won’t get to go home for the holidays until this weekend. I decided to buy all my family’s Christmas presents this Friday before flying home on Saturday.

Is that tacky? Is there any way they can find out? Maybe by scanning the bar codes on the side of the box? I just figured I might be able to save a lot of money this way, but now I’m getting nervous about the decision. Do you think shopping after Christmas is a good idea?

— Rebecca in Portland, Oregon

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

I don’t know if it’s a good idea, Rebecca, but I can tell you this: You won’t be alone.

A 2018 study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that 68 percent of holiday shoppers would continue shopping the week after Christmas. Fifty-one percent said they would be drawn in by the sales.

Most of them planned to do some after-Christmas shopping for themselves. Twenty-four percent said they would use the gift cards they received as Christmas gifts.

As for those bar codes, they tell you all sorts of things about a product, but not when and where they were purchased. That information resides with the retailers when you paid for the items. So no worries there.

One problem you might face, Rebecca, is a limited selection of some items. It’s too late for this year since you have no choice but to shop on Friday or fly home Saturday empty-handed, but I might recommend an alternate plan for next year: Do twice the shopping.

In addition to this year’s shopping, you could also take advantage of the sales and do next year’s gift-buying on Friday. That requires two things: some extra cash on hand to buy early and precise knowledge of your intended audience’s gift preferences.

That said, the day after Christmas is indeed a discount paradise. Most of those deals won’t be formally announced until Christmas Day, because retailers don’t want to distract last-minute shoppers.

Good luck on Friday, Rebecca. You didn’t say if you’re flying or driving home, but if it’s the former, I hope you find many great gifts that fit into carry-on luggage – or some of your savings will be eaten up by baggage fees!

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