Now that the fervor of Halloween is out of the way, retailers are gearing up if they haven’t already to entice you to part with your hard-earned cash during Christmas.
Ok, so you’ve already made out your lists and are mentally calculating how you will pay for the gifts your family and friends might be expecting again this year. The good news is Christmas shopping doesn’t have to cost a lot.Despite your best intentions, it is easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving and spend more than you’d planned to
Here are some of my tips on how to save money this Christmas:
1. Newsletters are GOLD
Most of us are so tired of seeing newsletters clog up our inbox that we either delete them automatically or relegate them to junk. But they are often chock full of valuable offers that are not available anywhere else or inform you first of the sales coming up. If you’re a regular shopper, you’ll know when the good sales are announced. Sign up for newsletters from companies whose products are on your Christmas to-buy list and save anywhere between 40%-80% on RRP.
2. Gold mine in your house
That’s right, you could be sitting on a gold mine right in your OWN house. If you have stuff that you no longer use, why not sell it online or hold a pre-Christmas garage sale to make some extra cash? You could also have brand new products that you bought at some point thinking you definitely will use to bake, decorate or present food on. But if you haven’t opened or used it yet, it could be ideal for that friend or colleague who loves to bake! One less person to buy a gift for!
3. Gift service coupons to family and friends
You know how you always wish you could get that spa treatment but simply do not have the time in between all your commitments? Get family or friends to offer babysitting coupons for example. Know a friend who just had a baby and is dying for a nap or a haircut? Offer to look after her baby for a couple of hours instead of buying her another food serving platter or baby toy.
4. Discount outlets
Make discount warehouses and outlet stores your first go-to destination for gifts instead of regular retail outlets. You can always find something useful for less than half the price you’d pay in the stores.
5. Use apps to track your spending
Use free apps like Christmas Gift List (rated 4.5 stars) to keep a track of your spending against budget. You can do a range of things with this app such as send list via email, twitter, Evernote, add/edit people to your list, add/remove gifts for each person on your list. It provides useful numbers such as how much you’ve spent so far against your budget.
6. Stop impulse buys
Don’t impulse buy items just to get it off your list, consider your options over a few days and check online to see if the price can be matched or even beaten. Match competitor against competitor and go in-store to ask staff if they’ll beat a competitor’s price for that big-ticket item. Be scrupulous with every dollar and keep a track of how much you’re saving instead of spending.
7. Be your own Scrooge
Instead of buying all new ingredients to cook meals during the holiday season, look in your pantry and see what dishes you can make from ingredients already present. Only buy what’s absolutely necessary.
8. Discover Vinnies and Salvos stores
Need a new dress to wear for that office Xmas party? Why not visit your local Salvos, Vinnies or Red Cross stores to see what designer bargains you can find? Often dresses which are $200 dollars in the shops can be found for less than $50. Or better still swap an outfit with a friend. You will help less disadvantaged members of society and also save the environment!
9. Discount beauty treatments
Beauty training schools can be heaven for discount beauty treatments, manis and pedis and hair cuts. Find your local beauty school and save on the big bucks. My personal favourites are the Urban Spa Academy in Rhodes Shopping Centre, NSW and The Mask Academy Parramatta NSW.
10. Redeem loyalty points
If you are a member of loyalty programs, check to see if you have enough points to redeem for gifts. Often points expire without really being redeemed so go through all your cards and check to see what you qualify for.
What are some of your tips to save money during Christmas? Tell us in the comments below.