Each year, people across Australia get themselves into debt buying gifts for their loved ones over the holiday season.
At Mortgage Choice, we understand that you want to spoil the ones you love, and we want to help you do that without overworking your credit cards or putting a dent in your savings account.
There are a few easy steps that everyone can follow to ensure you enjoy the festive season without overspending.
First of all, set yourself a budget
Determine the number of people you're going to buy gifts for and decide what gifts you're going to buy them early on. If you give yourself enough time to shop, you might be fortunate enough to save money on some of your purchases.
Shop around before making any final purchasing decisions and sign up to sales alerts wherever possible. In the current retail climate, retailers are constantly offering deals or sales to try to entice customers to spend in their stores. Setting yourself a budget will help you focus on your priorities.
Where possible, shop at odd hours so you have time to think and don't run the risk of being pressured into a sale.
If you're an emotional or impulsive shopper, approach your gift-buying with a list. This will give you a single-minded focus and keep you from buying more than you should.
If you're part of a large family or friendship group, you may want to suggest a Secret Santa method. If you do a Secret Santa, you can get away with buying just one present for one person, rather than one present for everyone. This is a great way to relieve yourself from the financial burden of holiday shopping. All you have to do is agree on a spending limit for the gift.
For those of you wanting to exercise your creative streak, consider making your own gifts. Talented home cooks could make your own salted caramel, gingerbread, decorate your own sugar cookies, make jams with seasonal fruit or homemade marshmallows - your options are endless.
If you're a talented painter, sewer or knitter, take the time to make pieces for the ones you love.
Another interesting and fun gift idea could be to create IOUs you can gift to your partner: ‘I owe you a massage,' ‘I owe you a night out'; these are a thoughtful gesture your loved one can claim throughout the year.
As for your holiday feast, make it a group effort. Instead of spending a fortune preparing a meal for all your loved ones, ask each guest to bring a dish. Or, designate each family to bring a different component of the meal such as entrees, mains or dessert.