December 06, 2015
- Make a list, and check it twice – work out exactly who you wish to purchase a gift for and set a limit for them based on your budget and what you think is reasonable, then shop according to the budget NOT according to your emotional attachment to the person at the time, for example they may have recently delighted you with some great news – stick to the script! You will also save time, and research shows the longer we spend in stores looking for gifts, the more likely we are to overspend out of impatience.
- Get online – if not just for the pure benefit of avoiding the crowded stores, lengthy queues and never-ending Christmas carols, add to this the free gift wrapping and delivery service (I know, say no more right) - going online allows you to research your items to find the best price and stockist, and means you are less likely to be caught in the nasty “product placement trap” or “product upsell” which indelibly sucks us in every time we go for the register.
- Pay cash – Around 20% of all gifts in Australia were purchased on credit card in 2014 and 20% of these customers were still paying them off 3 months later and just under 5% still carrying part of that debt into this Christmas. We recommend using cash to purchase gifts if you are sticking to a budget as there is a much greater connection to what you are spending when you pass it through your fingers – the same goes for “tap n go” debit cards, by tapping you lose part of the concept of what you are spending, and it all adds up.
- Leave your presents to Santa – when you are shopping for others, leave your own needs and wants aside, create your own list for Santa if you must, but do not be tempted to treat yourself to an early gift or two. It is the season of giving, not receiving!
- Engage one of “Santa’s little helpers” – ask someone to do the buying for you, give them a list, your budget and the money and ask them to do the work for you – this ensures you do not deviate from your pre-determined budget. A great way to do this might be to swap with a friend or loved one, you do their list and they do yours, a fun way of keeping each other on the straight and narrow.