As red, green, silver and gold tinsel embellish shops around SA, we are reminded that it’s time for Christmas gift shopping. If you aren’t careful gift shopping can eat away at your holiday budget. Follow these seven tips to make Christmas shopping easier and more cost-effective on you this year:
You’ve done it before. You know how it turns out when you wander the mall aimlessly for presents for everyone. You either end up going over budget or return home frustrated by the number of random things you’ve bought.
Planning is the best defense you have against overspending. It also allows you to think creatively. So first off, create a list of people you have to buy for, and divide your gift budget appropriately. Next, do research online or page through a few retailers’ brochures and plan what you will be buying for each person.
Remember: If you have rewards or cash back at specific stores, plan your gifts around this too.
2. Start early
If you’ve ever left your Christmas shopping for the last minute, you know how stressful it can be. Not only does it leave you flustered and bewildered but it also forces you to buy average gifts at higher than normal prices.
Don’t do it! Start early so that you can shop around and compare prices. If possible buy your gifts before leaving for your trip, as holiday destinations are notoriously more expensive during peak season.
3. Shop online
As online shops become more and more popular in South Africa, you can now do all your Christmas shopping in one afternoon in front of your computer. Shopping online can save time and energy, and can give you access to items from all over the country. Just make sure that you are getting a good price and that delivery fees justify your purchases. Better yet, look around for online stores that offer discounts and free delivery.
4. Shop for savings
Shopping for savings (at your retailers or online) requires time and patience. Make sure you have time to browse and compare discounts. Also make sure that you are really making a saving and not forced to spend more in order to qualify for that free item.
You’ve made a Christmas shopping plan for a reason, but allow some flexibility with it. Especially if you come across an excellent gift at a great saving that is well within budget.
Tip: Look out for companies offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!
5. Use the Secret Santa strategy
This year has been financially tougher than most for everyone! Suggest Secret Santa, where you only have to buy for one person in a family or friends’ circle, at a pre-set budget.
If it isn’t a realistic option, try and save by buying one great gift per family. It could be something they can all enjoy together like a large puzzle or board game.
6. Save on gift-wrapping
Wrapping paper, bows and other accessories as well as cards can rock up quite the bill. Save on this by covering all your gifts in brown paper or newspaper and being creative with paint, magazine clippings and recycled items. This could even be a fun activity to keep the kids busy on a rainy day. Don’t buy Christmas cards or tags, instead find free ones in magazines or make your own.
7. Make your own gifts
If your hobby or talent allows you to create beautiful or delicious things, turn your gift into presents for others. You not only save money by making some of the gifts yourself, but you also make it extremely special and unique.
Christmas can be a very exciting but also very stressful time of the year, especially to people struggling with debt. If your debt is keeping you up at night and worried sick about how you will be able to afford Christmas this year, contact Debt Rescue for help now!