Cheap Swag

I was having lunch with some friends and we got to chatting about holiday shopping. How it gets harder as you get older (you want the higher-priced or investment-level stuff) and it’s harder to know what other people want, too. And that you hate giving gift cards, but you love getting gift cards. And that holiday shopping is usually stressful, so you procrastinate, but then the panic sets in as you’ve realized you’ve procrastinated way too long. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, you’ve got about a week ’til Christmas, and let’s be honest: How ready are you? OK, don’t answer that. But if you’re not ready, this is one of the best, fast, and dealiest-deals going on right now: Swag52 has brought back its original lineup of discounted gift certificates to some of the best local boutiques in the Twin Cities. Swag52 is like a local Groupon or LivingSocial, focused on some of the best local boutiques in the Twin Cities. I used one myself at Russell + Hazel a couple of weeks ago, and the process couldn’t have been smoother. I paid $60 for $80 worth of merchandise on the Swag52 site, then printed out a gift card for $80 (no mention of the discount on the card) and walked in got a cute planner to kick 2012 off right.

So there are a couple awesome shopping strategies at work, here:

1. Buy a gift card on Swag52 and hand it directly to your intended recipient (maybe wrap it with a ribbon or stick it inside a card). They won’t know you paid less, and they will get their pick of great merchandise.

2. Buy the gift card, then use it to buy a gift from the boutique. The great thing about boutiques is that they’ve done a lot of pre-shopping for you—hence the smaller store size. They love to help you shop. And with these stores, you really can’t go wrong: MartinPatrick3Houndstooth, Covered…the list goes on. Each store has a different discount, many of them are quite deep.

They always say you can’t have all three things: fast, cheap, good. But with Swag52 this month, you can. I know I’ll be buying a few more before this season is over.