Christmas shopping: it’s the main culprit in all savings-related tragedies in the December period.

Too many of us nibble hard and relentlessly into bank accounts, letting the last-minute gift-buying freakout overtake any sense of logic (financial or otherwise).

And, a lot of the time, the return on investment doesn’t even make up for it. A resting bitchmas face after opening your thoughtless and rushed (yet expensive) pressie? Yeah nah, we could all do better on this front.

You need to think ahead, not only for the sake of your cashflow, but for the sake of all the loved ones you let down in the severely rushed process. It’s really a win-win plan for all involved when you think about it.

Keep reading to see how you can hit two Santas with one stone. From cutting the Christmas list fat to dodging annoying shipping fees, we got chu covered.

MAKE A SOLID LIST

It’s overwhelming to think of everyone you should buy presents for over xmas. It’s also really bloody hard to decide on who is worthy of your gifts. Start with the non-negotiables and work your way down from there: immediate family, partner, immediate family’s partners / children, extended family, friends and colleagues.


If you’re still confused, call one of your ‘rents. Chances are they’ll have your brothers or sisters-in-law (and nieces/nephews) sorted, and all they’ll want from you is a name on the card. (Love you, Mum. Never change.)

SET A STRICT AS HELL BUDGET

It’s easy to find something bloody perfect for someone, drop the cash, then realise that price point is not appropriate for everyone else on your shopping list. Say you buy a $129 Gucci ‘Flora’ for sister #1. You’re not going to get away with slipping sister #2 a $25 Britney Spears ‘Fantasy’. You’ll either end up buying sister #2 another $100 gift to even the score, or risk her wondering why you spent so much less on her. Trust me, it happens more than you think and can end in a deeply passive-aggressive spiral for your next five birthdays.

What I’m saying is, if you have a conscience, people of a similar relationship to you should be treated as such when it comes to gift-giving. Set a budget. Whether it $20 each for friends, $50 each for family and $2 each for in-laws (so sue me), you should pick specific amounts and stick to them so nothing goes balls up. In doing so, and in conjunction with your above shopping list, you’ll be completely across your gift spend in total this way.

FACTOR IN ADDITIONAL COSTS

You’ve budgeted for each person and that’s great, but be mindful of the additional costs that hit you in the backside over Chrissy. Getting to and from the shops takes longer than ever because of traffic, as well as the circles you drive in the parking lot trying to nab a spot (legit hell). This can, and will, chew up your petrol and sanity. Then there’s wrapping, incl. wrapping paper, scissors, sticky tape, cards etc. If you’re living out of home, it’s not as easy as whipping this out of mum’s gift-wrapping draw anymore.


If you’re more of an online shopper, consider shipping costs. If you buy enough from one place, you can usually score free shipping for spending over $50 or $100 from most retailers. But if not, you’re gonna have to factor that $10 shipping fee into your budget.

THINK WELL AHEAD OF TIME

A last-minute panic shop is almost always a huge middle finger to your bank account. You’re not thinking clearly. Once your list and budget is set out, you can really start considering what the gifts will actually be. Sometimes you’ll know straight away. Does it mean you should go straight out and buy it? Not necessarily, no. If you’ve thought ahead, you can do your research and make sure you’re getting the best possible value for a particular product.

Make good choices for your bank account, people who you pretend to like, and your sanity. Don’t let December uneccessarily take you for a ride.

Unless it’s on a stationary sled inside a shopping centre, of course.

Image: All I Want For Christmas Is You Movie