Published: Dec 24, 2010 5:38 AM EST
Updated: Dec 24, 2010 12:02 AM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Time is ticking down and last minute shoppers are cashing in on 24-hour store openings.

We tried to get inside several stores, including Toys R Us at Page Field which has been open 24 hours a day, but they wouldn't allow us because of the huge amount of customers crowding the store. Lines are long and aisles are packed as people stock up for the holiday weekend.

Last-minute shoppers Anthony and John Rocco lined up for a last-minute gift wrap. "We got some soccer balls, we got some guns, Nerf guns," they said.

Over at Wal-Mart, Herbert Mathews planned his retail strategy. "Just some giant coloring books and maybe some little push toys," Mathews said.

While millions are still paying off last year's credit card bills, local shoppers are among the many opting this year, to pay with paper, not plastic.

"Mainly all cash, nothing on the credit," Anthony Rocco said.

"Cash. It's all cash this year," Mark Baldassare said. "I want no credit cards, just don't need the bills."

Spending more of what's on hand helps them stick to their budgets that are apparently bigger this year. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 3.3%.

"Things are better," Baldassare said. "Everything seems better. The economy is better, things are better and it just puts everybody in a better mood."

Online sales have also jumped 12% from a year ago.  But for those who have fallen on hard times, the saying, "tis better to give than to receive" drives their spending.

"We don't have money to buy stuff for us," Marc Artchur Valentin said.

With stores like Toys 'R Us staying open 24 hours a day leading up to Christmas, the last-minute adrenaline rush isn't always a chore. It's a tradition.

"Last minute every year," Jerry Trapnell said.

According to Consumer Reports, nearly 1 in 5 people still have not even begun their christmas shopping! Toys 'R Us will be open until 10 p.m. Friday.