Now I know this guide may seem a little premature but the Christmas season will soon swoop down on us all. Christmas is an expensive time of year and gift buying is probably the greatest expense you will encounter. This guide will help you make smarter, well planned buying decisions which could help you save a small fortune this year.
When buying gifts for other adults, ether in your family or at the office, it can often feel like a thankless chore. The often small amounts of as little as $5, spent on a large number of people soon adds up to a real expense. Not only is it costly, the presents also are usually of poor quality and thoughtless as you don’t have the time to get everyone a personal gift. The answer to this problem is by organising a “Secret Santa”.
For those who don’t know, a Secret Santa is where everyone in a large group draws a name out of a hat, this name is who they will have to buy for. There is usually a spending limit meaning everyone gets the same value gift. Since you’re only buying one gift the present can be quality and thoughtful to that person. Think of it this way, it is better only having to by a $20 gift rather than having to buy ten $5 ones, which no one will really appreciate anyway.
Once upon a time shops where flooded with demand before Christmas and so saved their sales until January. However times have changed and as people are tightening their belts and waiting for better prices, companies now have realised that to boost their takings they need to have earlier sales. Take advantage of these by looking out early for the best sales. These sales usually occur between September and November so now is the time to get scouting.
Planning is the key to getting the best out of the Christmas sales. Make sure you have a list of who you are buying for and a few ideas of what presents they would want. Then when you see a sale come up you can have a look at your list and see if any of your gifts can be checked off. A saving of as little as 20% on each gift can quickly add up, especially if you are buying a lot of presents.
The bane of all parents is getting to Christmas and suddenly realising you have spent far more than you had originally wanted to. We all love spoiling our kids but getting too many presents at once can devalue the individual gifts. How many times have you seen your child playing with some small cheap gift when surrounded by mountains of expensive toys?
The key to successfully money saving is to make a budget in advance; the budget should state how much you want to spend on your children. This should be kept and every time you make a purchase make a note of it taking it off your budget. This is especially useful when buying presents early, as you can quickly lose track of your spending. It is often the case that you meant to spend $200 but suddenly ended up with lots of little purchases over the months and find you have spent nearer the $500 mark.
One major trap many gift buyers fall into, is that they go into a shop and see a product they was looking for and get it. You need to make sure that you shop around to get the best prices; a few dollars difference here and there might not seem a lot, but with the number of gifts you will be buying it can quickly add up.
The internet is a get place to compare prices quickly and effectively. Most companies will list their prices online and so you can quickly compare items. There are also a large amount of price comparison websites which will do the comparing for you and display the results in a large list.
Finally don’t leave getting presents too late. In the last month or so before Christmas prices will be high as demand has increased and there is unlikely to be any sales. There are other reasons to leave it until the last few weeks before buying: The shopping malls will be packed making a horrid shopping experience and many items you want will also be out of stock which can be a stressful experience as you don’t want to disappoint your children.
I hope this guide helps in your money saving endeavours.
This was a guest post by Sam Fisher on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct a supplier of ethically sourced blinds which can save you money on your Christmas heating bill by helping to insulate your house.