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==== ==== Win a $250 Starbucks Card by just entering!! ==== ====

With office parties, family travel, preparing for and throwing family get-togethers packing in on the schedule and budget, it's no wonder that 85% of Americans complete their gift shopping 10 days before the holidays. And oddly enough men and younger shoppers, according to a 2003 report by American Express, are now leading the holiday rush. While some are a bit ashamed of the appearance of procrastinating, others consider it quite fashionable to delay gift giving. The thought of facing a crazed shopping mob, spending 60 or more on 10 gallons of gas and losing hours of much needed rest driving from store to store does little to discourage procrastinating. One study reveals that only one in four last minute shoppers (25 percent) finds the task pleasurable. It goes without saying a frugal shopper can save hundreds, even thousands waiting for postholiday clearance sales and sending belated gifts out in January. Still many are just not content to put off in-season gift shopping no matter what the savings. To that end how can last minute shoppers save both time and money finding the right gifts? 10 Time Saving Shopping Tips 1. Make a list of your gift ideas and possible stores that may have them. 2. Call ahead to see if items are available. 3. Consider shopping when the stores first open, or the last hour that they are open. 4. If you spouse is deployed, let the stores ship the items for you. 5. Shop at online stores and take advantage of their gift wrapping and shipping options 6. Buy store issued gift cards such as Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's and Best Buys 7. Buy prepaid gift cards from credit card issuers like DiscoverCard and MasterCard prepaid debit gift cards 8. Shop online and save gas and hours driving from store to store 9. Take advantage of online reward programs

10. If you must venture out to shop take time to do comparison shopping online first. That said, Fimark, a web business marketing firm located at , encourages consumers to take advantage of price comparison shopping in the online marketplace. What can you find when comparison-shopping online? Customer reviews are often the best guide for determining which stores to trust. Shopper's rate stores on a one-to-five scale contributing detailed accounts of merchandise bought, their view of customer service and whether they would buy there again. Now just about every major search engine provides quick access to a sponsored marketplace. These online flea markets are a bargain hunters dream. Yet having time to shop online after long work hours can be just as challenging and venturing off to a bricks and mortar store in the thick of the shopping season. That said, it is suggested that long hour workers do last minute shopping before going in to work and during lunch breaks. If your list of recipients is long and there is simply no time to spare shopping for them, consider giving gift cards, gift certificates, and money wire or money grams. A new survey shows that 83% of Americans will purchase gift cards during the upcoming holiday season. A VISA USA commissioned survey found that 40% of women say have been disappointed by a gift they received from a husband, father, or brother while most are pleased to receive a prepaid debit card. A recent survey commissioned by MasterCard, a leading global payments solutions company reveals that Thursday, Dec. 23 was 2004's busiest shopping day. Rob Reeg, chief technology officer at MasterCard anticipates procrastinating shoppers to be out in full force on Friday, Dec. 23 and until stores close on Saturday, Dec. 24.

Mark Askew is founder of Fimark's products and services including Fimark's Greetings and Gift Cards. Where prepaid debit gift cards meet personalized greeting cards at

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==== ==== Win a $250 Starbucks Card by just entering!! ==== ====

$250 Starbucks Contest  

This website gives you the chance to win a $250 Starbucks Gift Card and have some fun with your Facebook friends.

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