Your expenditure during the Christmas season is something that you need to be aware of. It is crucial that you take the time to carefully plan our your purchases so that you don’t end up overspending. Worse, you may end up spending money you don’t have yet by putting things on a credit card.
So to make sure your holiday season is festive and full of joy (and not of debt and worry), here are six Christmas shopping tips:
1. Have a pre-Christmas clean up
It is often said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This can hold true this Christmas when you hold a garage sale to bolster your finances. Spend time exploring your house, looking for things that you don’t need anymore. This can range from old clothes to books, jewellery to furniture and everything in between.
If holding a garage sale isn’t for you, then you could sell these items online or find a local buy-swap-sell.
2. Make a list and check it twice
Having a list helps you stay on track and on budget. Whether it’s the presents you have to buy for loved ones or the ingredients you need for the season, a list can help keep you on track for the purchases you need and away from the ones you don’t.
Presents – List down who it is you’re buying for, what it is you are getting them, and how much you want to spend for it.
Holiday supplies – Write down the food and drinks that you need, and again, how much you are willing to spend on these. Buy these in advance where possible, especially those that can withstand being frozen for a while and have a long shelf life.
3. Customise your cards
Oftentimes, people throw away Christmas cards, which is akin to money being thrown in the trash bin. So this year, be smart about your card-giving while at the same time, making them extra special by customising them.
Here are some suggestions:
- Use a favourite photo to create a personalised photo card
- If you have kids, give them some paper and get them to draw or paint pictures that you can use to create special cards
- Record a video message on your mobile or iPad and email it to your family and friends
- Write a letter to your loved ones instead of sending a card. Trust us when we say that they will appreciate your own words than those coming from a store bought card.
4. Try to save as much as you can when shopping online
The Internet is one huge treasure trove but you have to look to pinch every cent you possibly can when doing your Christmas shopping online.
Before you start, do a quick web search for discount or coupon codes that you can possibly use at the checkout. Look in the sales sections of retailers’ websites to see the noteworthy offers.
If you already have an idea of what it is you want to buy, don’t just get stuck on one site. Go scouring the web for similar ones. Who knows, it might be selling the very same item you want at a much lower rate.
5. Grab your gift cards
As much as Australians love gift cards and vouchers, most of these expire as they are left unused. So make sure to check your cards and vouchers to see when these expire. Using these can go a long way towards reducing your shopping expenses this season.
Every dollar of gift card credit you use means a dollar less from your own money. And trust us when we say, every little bit helps!
6. Get started on planning for next Christmas
Take the lessons of this season and apply them to the next. Start planning for next Christmas as early as today. Here are some ideas to make sure you are prepared for the festivities next year:
- Start saving now – Open a high interest savings account in January and put in a small amount to it every payday. Saving $20 per week will add up to over $1,000 in a year’s time
- Shop the sales – Keep an eye out for presents throughout the year, especially during sales season. This will spread out your costs and make them more controllable.
- Layby – Pre-plan larger gifts and layby them a few months ahead so you can pay them off over time.