If the thought of Christmas shopping gives you the cold sweats, then here’s good news. You’re not alone! Many people share your feeling of dread because they’re unsure of what to buy, and they don’t know how they’re going to pay for it. With that in mind, here is some advice to make Christmas shopping easier on yourself, and your wallet and how to find great Christmas deals.
Planning by creating a list
Being organised will give you a feeling of control during the Silly Season. By making a list you can start your Christmas shopping in a positive frame of mind and avoid expensive impulse buying. Research shows that impulse buying occurs when shoppers are stressed, angry, guilty or bored, but by being organised and knowing what you are buying for each person, you’ll avoid all that budget-blowing craziness.
Of course, making a list is one thing. Knowing what to put on it is another! Finding out what people want can be tricky. Perhaps you can drop present ideas into a conversation, but not in an obvious way. Maybe mention you’ve seen a product advertised on TV, and check the reaction of the person you’re talking to. If they tell you they think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, you have a winner of a Christmas gift idea! Or, you could take a blunt approach, especially with older friends and family members. Tell them Santa doesn’t want to bring them a gift that will simply gather dust on the shelf, so ask them ” What do you really want or need?” This straight-forward approach will see you buy something appropriate instead of just “stuff”. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to buy “things”. You can buy an experience…dinner at a favourite restaurant, or tickets to an event, will be just as appreciated particularly by the person who has everything.
For children, you can make the exercise a fun one. Ask them to write a letter to Santa and tell him a few things they would really love for Christmas. A simple and magic way to discover what they want.
When you know what to buy, make sure it is in stock or available in time for the big day. Popular items like Christmas deals sell out quickly and it can take a while for retailers to replenish their stocks. It’s a good idea to call ahead and reserve the item, or check all the outlets where it might be available from. If one of those outlets is an online one, double check the delivery timeframe meets your Christmas Day deadline.
Budget, or lack of one, is always a consideration. Many people are still paying off credit card debt from last Christmas as the next one rolls around. If you’re buying for older family members or friends, maybe suggest you give the gift-giving a miss this year? They’ll probably be as relieved as you are that they can save some money and time!
Delaying the purchase
If you’re planning on buying a big item for Christmas, why not delay the purchase until the New Year sales? Give smaller gifts in the meantime with the promise that something really special is on its way. This will save you some money and extend the magic of Christmas, especially for little ones. Or try and take the focus away from large gifts, and give smaller ones presented in a special way. For example, a treasure hunt on a Christmas Day picnic, or scattered around the house to be found as the day goes on can be fun for them, and more affordable for you.
Christmas should be a magic time, not a stressful one. So, try a few of these tips and make things a little easier on yourself!