Love it or hate it, buying gifts is an essential part of Christmas preparation. Whether you’re shopping for the kids or that special someone, we’ve put together an easy guide to help you shop like a pro:
- Planning your Christmas shop
- How to save time and money
- The little extras
Keep reading as we take the stress out of Christmas shopping, so you have extra time to spend demolishing those festive treats and binging on merry movies…
Planning your Christmas gift shopping
Is your Christmas shopping normally chaotic? Do you endlessly walk around shops trying to find the perfect gift, either leaving empty-handed – or worse – completely over budget? This is normal and happens to everyone, and the reason is simply that most people don’t plan for it. Here are some tips to help you get in control:
1. Write a list
You may have a general idea of who you want to buy for and how much you want to spend, but unless you stick to the plan, things can quickly go awry. The first thing to do is to sit down and write a list.
This doesn’t have to be on paper – you could use your phone or even a dedicated project budgeting app. Write down all the names of people you need to buy for and try and give each one a reasonable maximum cost.
2. Define your budget
Budget for what you know you can afford instead of what you would like to be able to spend. It’s easier to do this if you start planning a few paydays ahead of time. Don’t worry if you realise you have less to spend than you’d hoped, we’ll look at some DIY and thrifty gift ideas later in this article!
3. Write down some ideas
Try and write down at least three gift ideas for each person on your list. This is a good time to nudge those that still haven’t given you their wish lists!
4. Have a general idea of which shops you need to visit
With gifts and budget in mind, you’ll probably have an idea of which shops you need to go to. For higher value gifts, compare prices from a few retailers online before you hit the shops, that way you don’t miss out on the best deal.
How to save time & money by planning ahead?
Have you ever visited the Boxing Day sales and realised all the gifts you paid full price for are now half the price? Retailers know full well that consumers are more likely to part with their cash in the lead up to Christmas, so they tend to fully mark up everything during the last quarter of the year.
So, why not try and purchase the bulk of your gifts early on or throughout the year? Whilst there are still plenty of good deals to be had in the lead up to Christmas, like three-for-two on stocking fillers or during Black Friday, you can save cash by taking advantage of mid-year offers and sales.
Keep an eye out for:
- End of season sales
- Sales during special events
- Shop closure/clearance sales
- Pre-order incentives
So, by spreading your money and effort out across the year, or at least six months ahead, you’ll be able to make your budget go further and spend less time panic-buying in the Christmas season!
How to save money
Apart from starting your Christmas shopping in advance, there are a few other tips and tricks you can use to save extra money, including:
1. Combine gifts for couples
Do you have a couple in your friend group or family that could be brought for at the same time? For example, if you normally spend on two separate friends, you could combine their gifts and amend your budget too, saving you!
2. Charity shops
Whilst not everyone feels comfortable gifting second-hand items, there are often ‘new’ garments in charity shops or artwork and home items that could be upcycled. You can also find some wonderful photo frames, and if you can print your own pictures or buy postcards as artwork, you could easily have a one-of-a-kind gift for under.
3. Do it yourself
With DIY gifts, it really is the thought that counts. Why not use some plant cuttings or propagations to create some mini succulents? You can buy small plant pots or make one with some concrete.
Alternatively, put some ingredients together in a mason jar with some basic instructions for a DIY cake or brownie mixture. Make the most of the things you enjoy and share the love with a heartfelt DIY project!
The Little Extras
Of course, a gift is nothing without some jazzy wrapping and a bow or two to build up the gift-opening anticipation. You can buy wrapping paper and tags from your local store, or you could carry on your DIY-ing and make your own eco-friendly wrapping with some plain parcel paper and a stamp or two.
It’s another thing you can do well in advance of the festive season, and it might just save you money too.
At the end of the day, your Christmas presents will be appreciated by your friends and family for the effort you went to. But with these ideas, you could save yourself time, money and worry that you won’t find everything you need in time. It’s a busy time of year, and wouldn’t you rather spend it stress-free with your friends instead? Shop smart this year and see how it can help you!
Author: Kano Anafora
Newslibre is a media company that provides informative news, technology, entertainment, web, startups, gadgets, and open source projects across the world and Uganda.