Ace your Christmas shopping this year
If you can see mince pies on the supermarket shelves, you know that Christmas is on the way. It seems to start earlier every year – this year, Christmas trees went up in our local Supermarket the day after Halloween!
The advantage of this earlier than expected Christmas cheer is that it gives us more time to get our Christmas gift shopping sorted. If you’re the kind of person who leaves things until the last minute, you may want to start listening now. The panic of needing to find the perfect gift while navigating crowded shops full of other panicking buyers is the last place you want to be on Christmas Eve. The shops will also punish you for your Christmas shopping delay, with sales rarely taking place right before Christmas because they know that you’ll be buying gifts and be willing to pay for them no matter what.
Christmas shopping doesn’t need to be stressful. We do this every year and it’s something we can get better at.
Why not save yourself the stress this Christmas with our 5 Christmas shopping hacks:
- Budget before you buy
Most of us start our Christmas shopping with a general idea of who we need to buy for before we hit the shops with our wallets open. The problem with this unplanned approach is that it can very quickly blowout your budget.
Instead, a better strategy is to budget before you buy:
- Make a list of who you need to buy presents for
- Identify how much money you can spend in total
- Allocate a set amount of money to each person’s gift
Budgeting before buying something I learned when I first starting earning money and wanted to buy presents for my family despite being on a tight budget. You can allocate money to spend on gifts equally or allocate money based on how much you like and value each individual. My golden rule is that I always spend the most money on my mum because she deserves it.
Who do you want to allocate your gift budget to?
- Start early
If you’re like me, once Christmas Eve spent running around a crowded shopping mall was one nightmare Christmas shopping experience too many. If you start early, you can take advantage of buying Christmas gifts during sales including the Black Friday sales which take place at the end of November each year.
We used to see headlines on Boxing Day about the crowds of people who would queue up overnight in order to get a good deal. And while prices are still in many cases cheaper on Boxing Day, the November sales season means that you can score bargains on your Christmas shopping before Christmas Day. You can’t exactly give someone a gift late on Boxing Day so plan ahead and pick up your Christmas shopping in the November sales.
Who really wants to spend Boxing Day morning pushing past other shoppers just to get a slightly reduced product?
- Ask them what they want
In sports like netball, if you don’t have a clear idea of where the goal is, you’re not going to win. After one too many Christmases spent getting gifts I would never use, I decided enough was enough. Now I simply ask someone I’m getting a gift for what they want. And if they refuse to answer, they’ll get socks – because everyone needs socks.
Asking someone what they want for Christmas has two key benefits:
- They get something they’ll actually use
- What you buy them won’t go to waste and head to directly to landfill
Mariah Carey tells us what she wants for Christmas every year. And you should be no different. So this Christmas, ask the question:
What would you like for Christmas?
- Set spending limits
If you’ve had a family Christmas, you’ve probably experienced that awkward feeling when you give someone a much less expensive gift than what they’ve bought for you. It’s very uncomfortable and there’s nothing you can do other than to promise them a second gift, which you just happen to have left at home because you’ve haven’t wrapped it. Or bought it.
To avoid this feeling, I now get my family to nominate gifts they want at set price points. Whether it’s a fancy body scrub or a nice bottle of wine, a set spending limit means that you can buy a Christmas gift without over or under spending.
A lovely option if you have a large family is to do a Secret Santa with a set price limit. You could also take inspiration from the Royal Family who famously give each other a joke gift at Christmas. Setting a price limit for Christmas gifts is a smart way to keep gift giving both fun and budget friendly.
What will your spending limit be this year?
- If you get stuck for gift ideas, go for something personal
Some people are incredibly difficult to buy for and sometimes it feels impossible to find the right gift. If you’re racking your brain for ideas, it’s better to go with something more personal and thoughtful because you know they will value the gift.
A beautiful picture frame, filled with a unique family photo is always going to mean a lot more than just another consumer product. You could also consider gifting an experience such as a day out together as a family.
What is something personal that you could gift someone this Christmas?
The whole reason that you put yourself through Christmas shopping each year is for the pure joy of seeing someone you love smile, as they unwrap their presents on Christmas Day. So this Christmas, save yourself the stress and use our 5 Christmas shopping hacks to ace your gifts this year.