It’s the day before the celebration, how did you manage to forget a gift again? Hey, it’s okay, it happens to all of us! In our easy-button-Amazon-2 day-shipping-I-can-get-it-now-centric world, sometimes we forget to plan ahead. I’ve been there. But I’ve got some great gift ideas for when you need them the very last minute! Bonus, all of these can be gifted over long distance!
Flowers and/or chocolates
Flowers are famous on Valentines day, but they are also great for birthdays, Mother’s day, and special celebrations. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I never pay full price for flowers! I’m going to show you how I saved 67% on flowers and how you can too.
First step, you need to be signed up for Ebates! Ebates gives you real cash back on almost all your online and some in-store purchases! You can sign up today and get $10 cash back on your first $25 or more purchase. The easiest way to use Ebates is to have the Ebates Chrome extension loaded on your Google Chrome web browser. This button will light up when you’re on an eligible website with a “activate cash back now” button. Alternatively, you can go to the Ebates website and search for your retailer.
In one browser tab, you’ll want to go to Groupon! I always thought that you needed a group to get a deal at Groupon, and that’s not the case at all! Around every holiday, you can get a 50% off voucher for all the major flower delivery companies. Search for "flowers" to pull up the flower delivery company deals. In my case, I chose ProFlowers, but you can pick another one, the numbers will be slightly different. I would wait to actually purchase the Groupon until you’ve verified that you can get the flowers you want at the retailer you chose. Make sure you activate the Ebates button to get cash back at Groupon!
In another tab, visit the Flower company of choice and look at your options. Make sure that you specify location and delivery date, as this will limit some of your options. I originally wanted to go through 1-800-Flowers.com because there was a Raise gift card, but they didn’t any of choices that I wanted for next day delivery, so I ultimately went with ProFlowers (that’s why I say to wait to purchase the Groupon). After you pick what you want, head to checkout to see how much it will cost. They will add on delivery and handling fees that can be pricey, so make sure you see everything included before you purchase a voucher from Groupon that way, you’ll know if you need to get the $40 voucher or can stick with the $30 voucher because you can only use one voucher per order. Don’t forget to activate the Ebates button to get cash back at the flower company, too!
Lastly, if you have any leftover difference that you’ll owe after the voucher, go to Raise.com to look for a discounted gift card to that retailer. You can save a few extra dollars on a discounted gift card, and still get cash back from Ebates on your purchase! When you sign up for Raise and make your first purchase within 30 days, you’ll get a free $5.00. I’ve been using Raise for years and haven’t had any problems. Just make sure the gift card you want to purchase is available for “instant download” (most are).
If flowers or chocolates aren't up you're alley, I've got three other last minute gift ideas that you can send over long distance and save money on!
If you’re loved one’s love language is quality time, you cannot go wrong with tickets! Tickets to shows, movies, theater, concerts, expos, and more, it’s really a cleverly disguised “IOU” for an evening of quality time at a later date. Print out the ticket confirmation page and stick it in a card for an easy gift.
You can save money on movie tickets by using some of the same principles in my flower example. I always use Raise.com, through Ebates for 1% cash back, to get discounted Fandango gift cards. I use the discounted Fandango gift card to purchase my movie tickets through the Fandango VIP+ program. Through their FREE program, I get 125 points for every movie ticket I purchase and when I get 500 points, I get a FREE $5 voucher to use on more movie tickets! And if you’re a member to your movie theater’s FREE reward programs like AMC Stubs or Marcus Rewards, Fandango will waive the convenience fee for buying your movie ticket online!
Alright, let’s say flowers or concert tickets aren’t in the budget. What if I told you that for $5-$20 you could send your loved one a gift year round! You can! Send a magazine! I love getting and giving magazine subscriptions. These are especially good for those pesky hard to shop for parents or grandparents, but are also great for kiddos who have a love of animals, science, or Disney. It’s never too early to get them reading. I personally use BestDealMagazines for all my magazine subscriptions because it’s super easy to keep track of your subscriptions on one site, you can get a great deal and save lots of money, and there’s no automatic renewal. I hate automatic renewals because after you subscribe for the first year at a great deal like $5, they’ll charge you full price of $29.99 or more every year there after. No thanks! I stick to BestDealMagazines to keep getting the great deal over and over with no automatic renewal. Bonus, don’t forget to go through Ebates and get 2.5% cash back!
I don’t know why gift cards get a bad rap as a gift! Maybe some think of it as the lazy gift. Perhaps, but it can also be really thoughtful. It’s perfect for when you know your loved one is wanting something specific but you don’t know the type. For example, let’s say your loved one is really into outdoorsy activities (hunting, fishing, etc) and you know they would like a new piece of equipment, but you have no idea what they have or don’t have, a gift card to a sporting store would be the great alternative. Just put a note in there like “I know you've been wanting a new fishing pole, I hope this helps! Have fun on the water!” It shows that you are aware of their interests and you want them to enjoy their hobbies. I think that’s pretty thoughtful!
I rarely pay full-price for gift cards, and you shouldn’t either! Here’s two ways I get discounted gift cards: I head to Raise.com (through Ebates, of course, so I can get 1% cash back) and search for the store I am looking for. You can save up to 20% on some cards. Tip: if giving as a gift, make sure that you can print a voucher and that the amount actually on the gift card (not what you pay) is a nice round number, that way, it doesn’t appear used. Alternatively, if you have a Target Redcard you can go to a Target store or Target.com and purchase a gift card to a myriad of stores and save 5% by paying with your Target Redcard (you can also use Ebates at Target.com, but not on gift cards).
So, what do you think? Did I offer any last minute gift ideas that you hadn’t thought of before? Did you like that I included the different ways to save on each item? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with any of these brands or companies, but if you use sign up for Ebates or Raise through my link, I’ll get a referral bonus. Thank you!
Hey! I'm Christine, I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner who has learned by trial and error. I write helpful articles that help you take your next steps in business. Occasionally I like to mix things up and dash in a bit of lifestyle topics. Thanks for being here!