1. Convince your family to do a gift exchange
Instead of buying a gift for everyone in your family and vice versa, we recommend that family members over 18 participate in a Secret Santa-style exchange. There are plenty of online sites that let you makes anonymous wish lists.
2. Budget first
Some parents plan around the big-ticket items their kids want, even if it means digging into savings or racking up debt. It should be the other way around: Set your budget, and then determine what you can afford to give.
4. Stock up on baking ingredients early
If you’re planning to dole out some baked goodies, remembers that holiday staples like cake mixes, sugar, marshmallows and more go on sale in November. Seasonal produce like nuts, chocolate chips, evaporated milk and more can bought for up to 40 per cent off during this time.
5. Collect cash back
Websites like ShopBack allows you to get instant cash back on purchases from big box stores, department stores, restaurants, and more. You can then use the cashback for your holiday purchases and apply the cash to help pay off your credit card bill later.
6. Look to buy online
So you love the Christmas displays and being in a department store in December, but there is absolutely no denying you could probably find whatever you’re shopping for, cheaper online. It’s the same products but often found at a huge discount.
7. Find promo codes
Before you click “check out” always search for discount codes. A quick peek at a search engine (try “store name + coupon”) can save you a nice chunk of change. They don’t always work but give it a try. Some credit cards also give promo codes so keep an eye out for those.
8. Give an experience
Research suggests that we get longer-lasting happiness from experiencing new adventures and learning new skills than we do from material objects. Consider giving a discounted activity — a photography class, local festival admission, or beer-brewing course — from Groupon, for example.
9. Don't be a snob
Taking pride in buying presents is no bad thing, but don’t feel like you’re gonna be judged entirely on the price tag of whatever you’re gifting – sometimes the best presents are homemade, thoughtful things that remind you of each other.
10. Use a windfall wisely
Ready to start spending your 13-months bonus? After the season of giving, you may be tempted to blow cash gifts on a little something for yourself, but use that extra money to pay off some of your bills instead. The best gift you can give yourself is to start the new year debt-free.
(Text by Maria Carter, bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting by Natalya Molok)