Every year many of us go into debt and spend more than we plan during the holidays to get the perfect presents, gourmet food and decorations. In 2016, it was estimated Christmas spending would hit $48.1 billion, up 2.3% from the year before.1 That’s $8.8 billion on presents, with more than half of that on credit. Most people planned to spend about $539 in total – way up from $419 the year before.2
Marketing, advertising and social pressure can make us feel bad if we have less than a picture perfect Christmas. The truth is there are lots of ways to enjoy the holiday season that feel indulgent, without spending thousands of dollars on everything. Yes – even if you’ve got kids or grandkids to spoil.
Shopping at the sales throughout the year is a great way to get the perfect presents for less. Stocktake sales and mid-season sales often see discounting of 50-70% or more, allowing you to get that impressive present without overspending. Plus, you’ll be less stressed than you’d be trying to cram everything in at the last minute. Just make sure you choose something classic and timeless that won’t look dated by the time you hand it over.
Honey is a free browser extension for Chrome that automatically searches online and applies any available discount codes or coupons1. If you’re searching for gifts with Google, you can click the Shopping option just under the search box above your results to get through to Google Shopping. This lets you refine results by price, brand etc. across multiple online stores.
Instead of choosing something big, flashy and/or designer, be strategic. You’ll save money and impress the recipient more. Choose something practical but beautiful. Good examples are multi-tools, good quality stationery, or glassware. Alternatively, think about your recent conversations with that person. Have they mentioned a potential gift they’d love but wouldn’t buy for themselves? Is there a gadget or product that would solve a problem they always complain about?
Regifting is OK, as long as you’re organised about it. After all, there’s no harm done at all unless the giver finds out about it, or the recipient finds out it wasn’t selected especially for them! Keep all your unwanted gifts in one place, with a record of who gave you the gift and when (this will help you avoid mixing gifting circles!) Finally, don’t re-gift something that the giver will follow up on or expect to see on display.
If you’ve put some of your Christmas purchases on credit, make sure you pay it all back as soon as possible. If you don’t pay the full balance at the end of the month, you’ll be hit with some interest. But the sooner you pay it down, the more you can save on interest. Make debt repayments a high priority item in your household budget until the bill is repaid.
1 Australian Retailers Association, ‘Australian Shoppers to Spend $48.1 Billion This Christmas’, retail.org.au
2 Finder, ‘Record Xmas: Aussies to spend nearly $10 billion on gifts this festive season’, finder.com.au
3 Honey, joinhoney.com
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