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Are you a last-minute holiday shopper? You're not alone. Every year, millions of shoppers on both sides of the border leave their holiday buying to the final days (or hours) before their gift exchange. Here are some tips to relieve the stress… without blowing your budget.
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1. Shop local and support small businesses

Support for small businesses is at an all-time high, as consumers (re)discovered local shops during the pandemic. Since then, the appeal for buying from the merchants within the community hasn't diminished. And when you're tight on time, it just makes sense to shop at businesses that are close by.

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2. Shop online

If you've got a list of things to buy – and don't need to browse for inspiration – shopping online can be highly efficient. You avoid traffic, travel time and spending money on gas!

Just make sure you take precautions to shop safely online – fraud and identity theft have been known increase during the holiday shopping season.

Take some simple steps to protect yourself:

  • Make sure you're familiar with the online retailers you shop.
  • Shop on secured sites only.
  • Don't complete transactions on public Wi-Fi.
  • Check your statements carefully.
  • Shred or otherwise destroy receipts when you're finished with them.
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3. Ship it or pick it

While some retailers will have early “order by" dates in order to get your purchase delivered in time for your holiday gift exchange, there has been a significant rise in same-day shipping providers and delivery services that can get your holiday buys to you within hours of your purchase. While it may cost you a bit more, if you buy a few items from the same shop, a flat delivery fee may work out to be more reasonable spread over several gifts.

The other option, which is a legacy of the pandemic, is curbside or in-store pick up. More and more retailers are providing the option to order online then pick up at – or outside – the store within a day or two of your purchase.

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4. Use a U.S.-based credit card for U.S. purchases

While time may be running out to buy items from the U.S. for delivery to Canada, you may still have some U.S. shopping on your list – whether it's the gift of a concert south of the border in the new year, a hotel booking or a gift you're sending to a friend or family member staying in the U.S.

If you are spending in USD online, a U.S.-based credit card — issued by a U.S. financial institution — may help you save money with U.S. retailers. For one, you'll save on foreign transaction fees, which can range from 2.5-3.5 per cent of your purchases. Plus, with a U.S.-based credit card, you won't be hurt by currency fluctuations, which can be especially helpful if you bought the wrong piece and have to return it.

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5. Focus on the home

For many people celebrating over the holidays, this year marks the first since 2019 that the extended family has gathered together. Whether you're hosting this season or visiting family or friends, consider items that enhance the festive spirit at home and make the holidays feel even more special this year.

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6. Use your Rewards Points

Don't forget about your RBC Rewards Points. If you've been building them up over the course of the year, this could be a great time to redeem them for gift cards, merchandise or cash back1. Use them for gifts, or to treat yourself.

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7. Consider charitable gifts and donations

Charities are always in need of support, yet according to the 2022 CanadaHelps Giving Report, donations have fallen. At the same time, as the cost of goods has increased this year, more people are in need – so your gift or donation will be especially welcome. Making a donation to a cause close to a loved one's heart in their name can be an extremely meaningful gift.

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8. Do the math

Not every deal is as good as it looks. Before you buy something “on sale," make sure you're truly getting a bargain. Do a little research to find out the prices pre-sale to see what kind of deal you're really getting. And take a minute to think whether that item is something you need. It can be easy this time of year to get sucked in by sales and then suffer buyer's regret afterwards.

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9. Follow your favourites

One of the best ways to stay up to date on late-breaking deals is to follow your favourite retailers on social media. Many retailers use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in particular to promote big and last-minute sales. Plus, many brands regularly send out codes with extra savings to loyal customers.

Whether you've got your full list to buy or just need to pick up a few last items, holiday shopping on a deadline can fun, exhilarating but also a little stressful. These tips can help you get great gifts in time and on budget.


Gift buying can come with a lot of pressure, and as a result, many people put off their shopping until it’s almost too late. Sometimes, this can lead to spending more than you intend, given the stress of finding something great on a deadline. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some holiday shopping tips that can keep the stress level low and the budget in check.

No-Annual-Fee Cross-Border Banking for Canadians Moving to the U.S.

Love shopping U.S. deals online?

Set up your U.S. banking and credit card before you shop to avoid foreign transaction fees.
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1 1.00% cash back from the RBC Bank Visa Signature Black/Visa Platinum Rewards credit cards and 1.25% cash back from the RBC Bank Visa Signature Black Plus credit card can only be redeemed with RBC Rewards Points.