By Michelle Durham

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s the start of the last full week before Christmas, and many procrastinators haven’t even begun shopping. A financial expert says this not only adds to your stress level, but it can make a real dent in your budget if you are not careful.

Stephanie Bittner, community outreach manager for Clarifi, a nonprofit that helps people with their debt, says, “Because we didn’t plan ahead, and if there is a particular item we need to buy if we didn’t price it out ahead of time, we could be paying more than we needed to.”

But Bittner says you can turn procrastination to your advantage, because if you waited until now to shop, prices generally are lower as retailers want to reduce that inventory. But Bittner says sometimes the best place to shop is your home.

“If it is an item that you would want yourself — still perfectly packaged — why not re-gift it?”

Stephanie was out shopping in Center City and says she’s done it before, “Absolutely! I just have to make sure that I know who I’m giving it to so I don’t give it back to the person who gave it to me!”

Michael’s shopping philosophy is simple: “We take whatever we can get!”

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