As we approach the Christmas holiday season, there’s no denying that many Australian households are feeling the pinch due to the rising cost of living and interest rate pressures. Christmas can get expensive quickly, with many looking at their credit card statement in January and wondering how they will pay it off. However, by having a plan and tweaking your shopping you can enjoy a fun, yet affordable Christmas. Here are our top Christmas shopping hacks.
Make a list, check it twice
Be well prepared like Santa. As boring as it sounds, working out your Christmas budget and sticking to it is crucial to prevent your spending getting out of control. Determine who you need to buy gifts for, what you will buy them, what food you need to prepare, any travel arrangements you need to make and budget accordingly.
Start your Christmas shopping early in the year during sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can score great deals during these periods and it feels good to be organised too. If you leave your shopping to the last minute you’re less likely to find the perfect gift and may overspend to compensate.
Use web browser extensions
Web browser extensions are an excellent Christmas shopping hack that can help you achieve real savings. Some of our favourites include:
Cash Rewards – Get an average 7% cash back on online purchases from over 1,200 stores, including Virgin Australia, Booking.com, Apple, eBay and Amazon.
Super Rewards – Super charge your super by having cash back from your purchases sent to your nominated super fund.
Honey – Scan the web for coupon codes when you’re at the check out of an online store.
Karma – Monitor products you plan to buy online for price drops and receive real-time alerts if the products you’re monitoring go on sale.
Collect your rewards
When is the last time you checked how many points you have on your Flybuys or Everyday Rewards card? Check every reward program you’re a member of and cash out this Christmas to save you money. Remember the points in some programs expire periodically so it’s worth checking in regularly.
Use discounted gift cards
Look for discounted gift cards from reputable websites for an instant discount on your purchases. For example, if you’re a Bupa Life Rewards Member, you can purchase gift cards at up to 10% discount to use on your shopping. Then if you shop smartly, you could get additional discounts through the retailers you shop with.
Organise Kris Kringle
Do you really need to buy for every adult in your life? Rather than buying a small token gift for everyone, see if you can get people on board with a Kris Kringle, Secret Santa or even a fun Dirty Santa option. It’s one of our top Christmas shopping hacks as it will save you time as well as money.
Buy mindfully for children
Many families are now buying for their kids based on the principles of something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need. Doing this reduces the amount of stuff they get plus research has shown more presents doesn’t equal more happiness!
Get creative with wrapping and cards
Save on wrapping paper by using alternatives like old newspapers, fabric scraps, or reusable gift bags. It’s an eco-friendly option and can be a unique way to present your gifts. Instead of buying pre-made Christmas cards, make your own. You can personalise them with photos and heartfelt messages, and it’s a cost-effective way to send holiday wishes.
Sign up for discounts
Many businesses offer sign up discounts for new online customers. You may find if you sign up to their newsletter or rewards program you’ll get a discount off your purchase. You can always unsubscribe later.
Leave it in the cart
Some online stores offer a discount if items are placed in the cart and not checked out within a set period. Be sure to sign in when you do it or they can’t send you a discount to complete your shopping. Not all stores do it, but for those that do, it can save you some money.
Secure your children’s future
Babies and really young children don’t need loads of gifts. Instead, consider setting them up financially by investing money you otherwise would have sent on gifts and encourage other family members to do the same. Add to it each year and your child could have enough for a house deposit or a tidy share portfolio by the time they become an adult.
Make homemade treats
Consider baking or making homemade treats like cookies, jams or preserves as gifts. These cost-effective presents are often considered more meaningful as they that show your thoughtfulness and effort.
Shop local and handmade
Support local artisans and small businesses by purchasing unique, handcrafted gifts. Not only will you find special and one-of-a-kind items, but you’ll also contribute to your local economy.
Embrace DIY decorations
Instead of spending money on expensive Christmas decorations, get crafty and make your own. You can create beautiful ornaments, wreaths, and centerpieces with a personal touch. It’s not only cost-effective but also a fun holiday activity for the family.
Give the gift of time
Instead of a physical gift, offer your time and assistance to friends and family. You can help with tasks like babysitting, house cleaning, or organising, which can often be more valuable than a material gift.
If you have to spend money, be smart about it. Do it where you can get points, cashback, look out for bonus offers, and if you have a credit card with reward points, use it instead of cash. Just be sure to have the cash there to pay it off later so you’re not charged interest.
Prepare for next year now
Take note as you hear loved ones mention things they would like and buy them when they’re on sale throughout the year. A great Christmas shopping hack is to hit the New Year sales or use Karma to monitor for price drops of gifts you plan to buy online. It will help spread your expenditure throughout the year and prevent any last-minute stress too!
Add an extra gift to the cart
Our bonus hack may not help you save, but it could make your life richer. Sadly, thousands of kids will go without receiving a gift this Christmas, simply because their families can’t afford it. Every year, Financial Spectrum participates in The Smith Family’s Christmas Toy and Book Appeal to help bring a smile to disadvantaged Aussie kids. We hope our contribution will help these kids to gain the skills and knowledge to build a better future.
Remember, the key to a financially stress-free Christmas is planning, creativity and smart shopping. By implementing these Christmas shopping hacks, you can enjoy the holiday season without worrying about a hefty credit card bill in January.