Save Money with this Last Minute Holiday Checklist

Don’t get lost in the holiday bustle. Consider these tips to help you with your last-minute items.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, more than half of holiday shoppers begin researching what to buy in October or sooner, and one-third make actual purchases during that timeframe.

But no matter how much you prepare during the year, chances are that you may have some last-minute items to take care of. Here are some last-minute tips to keep your holiday season jolly and stress free.

Need a last-minute gift? Check out online deals.

The holidays are just around the corner, and you still have a number of gifts to buy. It may be near impossible to find what you're looking for in-store. But worry not: A quick search online can help you save the day.

With stores like Walmart and Target offering free holiday shipping, or online services like Amazon Prime offering free two-day shipping and one-day or two-hour delivery for qualifying Prime members, you'll be able to purchase last-minute items for your loved ones without having to leave your home (or change out of your holiday-themed PJs).

Plus, you can scour the web and compare prices on multiple sites to ensure that you're also getting the best deal.

Is your holiday budget maxed out? Consider maximizing your credit card's rewards.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering great deals on items like clothing and computers, you may have found yourself spending a lot more than you anticipated. But with rewarding credit card features like cashback, you can help boost your holiday budget.

Don't have the time or budget to afford a large purchase? Try D.I.Y.

It's no surprise that you'll be busy during the holiday season. From putting up lights to hosting the perfect family dinner, finding the time (and money) to cover everything can be difficult.

Assessing what gifts you can create from what you already have ready at home is a savvy way to handle last-minute gifts. Do you have a surplus of candles? Consider making a basket. Do you have a spare picture frame that hasn't been used? Have a family photograph professionally printed to fill the frame. Not sure what a distant relative would like? Writing a card wishing them good will or a happy new year can be just the trick.

After all, when it comes to gift giving, remember it's the thought that matters most.

Not celebrating this holiday season with gifts? Consider donating to a charity or volunteering your time.

What better way to celebrate the holidays than by giving back to those in need? Volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate money to a local, national or international charity of your choice. Want to include the whole family? Take the time to research charities or nonprofits with your children to make the season of giving a family affair.

Now that all your last-minute items are checked off your list, learn how you can prepare for next year's holiday shopping spree with these stress-free, money-saving tips.