The joy of Christmas gift-giving can mean a debt hangover in the New Year. It doesn’t have to be that way — here are some tips to help you get into the Christmas spirit without getting into debt.
Australians spend just over $400 on average on gifts for friends and family, which is fine if it’s within your budget. But if the holiday season has crept up on you, and finding spare cash is a challenge, here are our top five tips for how to save money on Christmas shopping:
1. DIY gifts
Homemade gifts are a wonderful way to show someone how much you care. They can be personal, like a photo album or a framed poem for a family member. Beautifully gift-wrapped home-baked cookies or hand-made truffles can be a thoughtful gift for the people who make a difference in your daily life, like teachers, neighbours and babysitters. You could also offer a ‘gift of service’ by sharing one of your skills, like cooking or decluttering a garage or attic for an elderly relative, or even taking someone on an adventure to one of their favourite local spots, or a place they’ve never been to before but always wanted to. Make your own gift vouchers, cards and wrapping paper in plain festive colours, so you can use any leftovers during the following year for birthdays and anniversaries etc.
2. Plan ahead
Pull together a plan of when you’ll shop or make gifts and what you think you’ll spend. Look at the total cost, not just the cost per person, and then readjust until you arrive at a figure you feel comfortable with. Set a time limit when you go shopping and make the most of extended opening hours so you don’t get distracted or make impulse purchases if you leave it until the last minute.
3. Find the discounts
Lots of companies will offer discounts via their social media channels, eNewsletters and catalogues. Before you spend any money, do your research online to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t forget to ask in person as well — many stores will have special promotions like a ‘free’ gift with purchase, or will offer discounts if you buy more than one item.
4. Doing it for the kids
We all love giving gifts to kids, but there comes a time in every family when giving gifts to adults seems a bit excessive. Most busy adults value time with their loved ones over and above any material possessions and receiving gifts so why not skip the adults this year? Make sure you check with everyone that they’re happy with that approach.
5. Agree a spending limit
Whether you’re buying for kids or adults, your significant other or your best friend, everyone benefits from having a clear spending limit. Planning your own Christmas budget means you can enjoy giving gifts without worrying that some people may miss out, or the cost of buying presents will hurt you financially.
Make sure you talk with your family and loved ones about Christmas plans. It’s not just a time for gift-giving, but for people to come together and celebrate what they’ve shared over the past year. Planning ahead means that you get all the fun of anticipating the festive season, as well as perhaps saving a bit of money along the way.