Stretching out purchases from now until Christmas can reduce the household finance stress that typically comes with a last minute shopping spree, according to National Australia Bank.
NAB Executive General Manager, Retail, Bob Melrose said everyone enjoys giving gifts to loved ones and celebrating together but the cost of buying presents and catering for family meals can quickly add up.
“A few months of money saving before Christmas can go a long way to making it a more enjoyable and affordable occasion,” Mr Melrose said.
Here are five ways to save your cash this Christmas:
• Planning ahead
Lists come to the fore at Christmas time. Try to not buy anything that isn’t already on the list, as impulse purchase can blow the budget.
Identify everyone you want to buy for and what present you think will be suitable and start shopping now. This will help to avoid frantic Christmas Eve shopping, which can be more expensive.
Think about what you can afford and budget how much you intend to spend.
Online savings and budgeting tools can help you keep track of your spending and allow you to set savings goals in the months leading up to Christmas.
For example, NAB’s Money Tracker is a free, self-service money management tool through internet banking that takes the headache and guess work out of tracking spending.
• Online shopping
More Australians are expected to turn to online shopping than ever before, in hope of purchasing gifts at bargain prices, however they might be better off buying local.
Online shopping can be more expensive than people realise. Shoppers should be aware of extra charges such as shipping and handling fees, currency conversion, and if you are purchasing from overseas, your credit card might incur an international transaction fee.
• Find the best price
Planning ahead and shopping early can help to find the lowest price for a gift.
While many retailers have sales leading up to Christmas, which can provide real savings for shoppers, you can’t guarantee you will get the item you want at the price that suits the budget.
Shoppers should do their research by collecting catalogues, checking stores’ website and by comparing online prices with in-store prices.
• Less is more
Buying gifts can be an expensive exercise. However, Kris Kringle-style gifting is an increasingly popular way for families and work colleagues to spread Christmas cheer while limiting the number of present purchases.
By agreeing to a reasonable dollar value, everyone can receive a special gift and save money.