By Bessie Hassan
It’s coming up to Christmas and Aussies are set to spend $464 just on presents this year. Luckily, we’re heading into sales season, where you can bag some presents at a bargain and halve your Christmas spend. finder.com.au shares seven tips on cutting down the cost of Christmas presents and making the most out of the upcoming sales.
- Plan ahead
Timing is everything if you want to get the most bang for your buck when Christmas shopping this year. There are a handful of major online sales to look out for between October and December, where prices will be slashed across a huge range of products from fashion and homewares to furniture and electronics. Online sales like sales like Black Fridayand Cyber Monday can be a savvy way to get your hands on some quality gifts for a fraction of the price.
- Make a list (and check it twice)
Keeping a list of everyone you need to buy for is an excellent way to monitor your spending in the lead up to Christmas. This will prevent you from doubling-up on gifts or forgetting to include anyone (regardless of whether they’ve been naughty or nice). Just make sure you remember to cross them off the list once they’re covered!
When it comes to the pre-Christmas sales, compiling a set list of items you’d like to purchase can also be useful. This will ensure you get the most out of the limited time available to hunt down a bargain.
- Compare Deals
Many larger retailers, such as Myer or David Jones, stock smaller brands, particularly when it comes to clothing. Sometimes these larger stores will offer better deals and discounts than the smaller brands do themselves. Before purchasing an item online, double check to make sure another retailer doesn’t stock the item with a higher discount.
Keep in mind that postage or shipping costs may vary between retailers, so it’s worth taking this into consideration when comparing prices.
- Beat the (virtual) crowdsOnline sale events can attract a high volume of shoppers. This can slow down participating websites and make them difficult or frustrating to navigate. To really make the most of a sale, start your shopping a couple of hours ahead of time and add items to your basket as you go. That way, once the sale starts, all you’ll need to do is give your shopping cart the once-over and proceed to the checkout. This will help save you both time and money.
- Try before you buy
It can be easy to get swept up in the madness of the sales and give in to impulse buying, and there’s nothing more annoying than arranging a refund. To prevent having to mess around with returns policies, visit the store in person prior to the sales and figure out your size first. Measurements can vary dramatically across brands, and it pays to be familiar with your brand’s sizing chart before purchasing online.
- Use your vouchers
The lead up to Christmas can be the perfect time to put those forgotten gift cards and vouchers to use before they expire. Every dollar of gift card credit used means you’re spending less money from your own pocket. Whether you choose to put the credit towards purchasing gifts or stocking up on food supplies, a little goes a long way when it comes to minimising Christmas spending.
- Set a budget and stick to it
Though it may be tempting to spoil your loved ones, you don’t want to end up with a post-Christmas debt hangover from overspending. Assessing your finances prior to the Christmas period will allow you to work out how much you can set aside for gifts.
Speak with relatives about doing children-only presents this year or allocating secret Santa purchases. It can be worthwhile discussing a cash limit when it comes to presents as well, as this can help to prevent any gift-giving awkwardness and allows everyone to remain within a set budget.
Bessie Hassan is the Money expert at finder.com.au