Between Gift Guides and deep in the season of shopping, we decided to consult Carrie Isaac of SpringsBargains.com for shopping tips. Isaac was voted Best Local Blogger by Indy readers in both 2010 and 2011.
Her best advice:
Have multiple gift ideas for your recipients. If you're stuck on one item for each person on your list, it's harder to find a great deal as the clock is ticking. Keep several gift ideas in mind so that you'll have more options to choose from if you're looking for a deal.
Always, always search for a coupon code if shopping online. I don't have any favorite sites for coupon codes (other than SpringsBargains.com!); I typically just google the website name and use Google's search tools to find items that have been posted in the past 1-7 days to see if there's a valid coupon code available.
Shop locally instead of paying rush shipping. If you're shopping so close to Christmas that you have to pay for rush shipping, consider seeing if a local store has it — you'll often end up spending less by buying it locally than paying for rush shipping. And, don't be afraid to call a local store to see if they have it in stock!
Remember that everybody loves a gift card! A lot of people think that buying gift cards is a cop-out, but has anyone really ever received a gift card they didn't like? Gift cards are a great last-minute gift, and you can make it more personal by wrapping it in a more personalized way. Also, consider adding a little bonus gift: For instance, if you purchased someone a gift card to a local boutique, buy an inexpensive accessory to give along with the gift card.