Smart shopping for the silly season

Despite having a whole year to plan for it, 20 percent of the population leave Christmas shopping to the last week, according to a 2010 survey by the Australian National Retailers Association. That means one in five of us are on a collision course with the misery of shopping mall crowds and the overspending that accompanies rushed decision making.

There are still a few weeks to avoid this scenario, however, and here are our tips to help you get the (yuletide) ball rolling.

1. Retail stores will be looking to make up for slow sales this year by offering hot discounts for Christmas. Keep an eye on print, web and TV advertisements so that you know where the sharpest prices are.

2. Look out for bundling deals, extended warranties and cashbacks from the big-name electronics and appliance makers. Some brands package free movie discs with a TV or home theatre system, provide a canvas print with the purchase of a digital camera or computer, money back via redemption vouchers, or 50% off the price of a second item. Be sure you check the terms of conditions of the offer though – waiting periods may apply before all components of the deal are fulfilled.

3. Try mono-gifting, where everyone on your Christmas list receives the same gift. Not only does it relieve much of the pressure around ‘what to get’, it isn’t nearly as unimaginative as it sounds, with lots of scope to individualise within categories. Think personalised mouse pads, books, novelty USB toys, smartphone skins, tablet covers and earbud headphones.

Sales are an excellent time to grab things cheaper.

4. Buying a gift voucher online is super-convenient, but make sure you print and place it in gift card or box for 25 December. Come Christmas Day, people want to be opening presents, not emails.

5. Keep a couple of spare gifts for unexpected guests who bring you something over the holiday break, or for that Christmas event you didn’t plan on going to. Music or movie vouchers from BigPond or iTunes are handy, and can be kept for birthdays – or yourself – if you don’t need to use them.

Batteries. You need them. Lots of them.


6. Just about every toy needs AAAs before it becomes fun, so stock up on batteries and you’ll be a legend with the kids on Christmas Day.

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