Will you be one of the thousands of frantic last-minute Christmas gift shoppers this weekend? Because, if navigating crowded shopping centres and winning the car park version of the Amazing Race isn’t stressful enough, your actual challenge for the day is not blowing your budget on impulse buys just so you can escape the circus as quickly as possible.
Aah. Christmas. You gotta love it.
Before you get all giddy on the eggnog and the spirit of giving, here’s some sobering news – Aussies plan to spend on average, $955 over the holiday period! Can you afford that?
Here are my top tips for those last-minute shoppers who’d rather keep it tight, so you can start the new year light.
6 Tips for Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers So You Don’t Blow Your Budget
Set a budget.
How much can you comfortably spare for your gift haul? Have you been building your Christmas fund for the past few months, or, are you so anti-planning you’ll just wing it on the day? (Hmmm, note for next year: Start a Xmas fund.)
Set aside your budget in a separate bank account and stick to it.
Make a list of the people you need to buy for – and allocate them a gift budget.
There are free apps that do this for you and let you track your budget and your actual spend in real-time. This is an effective way to keep yourself accountable at the tills.
Due diligence – research online before you shop.
Whether it’s a big-ticket item, or not – run a google search on your gift list and check if there are any promotions or discounts, and which store is selling your gifts at the best price. Save time and money on the day.
Stock up on gift cards.
Gift cards are the best – especially if you’re shopping for a fussy friend! Gift cards ensure you stick to your budget, and, also allow your fussy friend to choose a gift they’ll appreciate. The best part is, a lot of stores now have moved to expiry-less gift cards (they are valid forever).
Pre-pay online – pick up in store.
This option is a life saver. Do most of your shopping online and arrange for free pick up in store. You’ll save yourself enormous amounts of stress and energy – and you remove the temptation for impulse buys.
Regift (dare I say it)
If you have a gift from 2014 still packed away at the back of your cupboard, n’er to see the light of day – pull it out and make use of it. Obviously, don’t regift it back to the person who gave it to you (it’s best to avoid anyone in their entire network) – BUT, it is really OK to pass it onto someone else who will enjoy it more than you ever did. Just don’t tell them where it came from 😉
Remember, it’s always the thought that counts and not the price tag.
Credit card debt is spiralling out of control and as a society, we must learn to re-program our spending habits and live within our means. Do you really want to start the new year drowning in debt that you won’t pay off until June? Didn’t think so.
Make your list, check it twice, gift within your means, or in 2018 – it’s tuna and rice.
Have you got any last-minute Christmas shopping tips you’d like to share? Drop them in the comments below!