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Ten thrifty tips for eleventh-hour Christmas gift shopping

Keep it simple and don’t use credit to buy gifts.
Image: Shutterstock

Your Christmas clock is ticking. Soon you’ll hear the doorbell ring and invite familiar or long-time-no-see friends and family members in. Are you prepared for Christmas celebrations this year and have you made sure that the financial responsibilities and preparations that go along with it are also in check? Perhaps you have been caught off guard by only thinking about Christmas thriftiness a few seconds ago.

Don’t worry, there are a few frugal tips for any eleventh-hour money spending that you can still incorporate or consider when it comes to Christmas gifts this year.

It’s not entirely frugal to leave your Christmas shopping for the last moment but there are three typical scenarios why you would need last-minute Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank:

  • Life has been financially tough this year and you have not been able to buy any gifts yet, since your budget is limited / you’re nearly broke.
  • It’s easy to have forgotten someone on your Christmas inventory list – the past few months have been quite hectic (time-wise).
  • Christmas snuck up and you are now in panic mode to get the last bit of ‘gift shopping’ done, frugally speaking that is.

So, here’s ten thrifty eleventh-hour Christmas gift shopping tips that you can consider this December:

  1. Make sure you have a Christmas inventory or gift list and quickly write down your plan of action since you have limited time available. Remember to ‘train your spending thoughts and actions’: keep a lookout for cheap prices and real discounts, do price matching and choose outlets that are a close distance from your home to save on fuel costs in the process.
  2. Be sure not to overspend and stick to your Christmas inventory or gift list. Evaluate each item at the checkout point to see if you still want to buy all of the items in your shopping cart.
  3. Do not go shopping to ‘browse’ – you will always find something that you ‘need’. And, by the way, December is near – so you won’t have time for that.
  4. Compile a gift set for someone special. What about a dinner kit with a recipe and affordable ingredients? Or, think in the line of a pamper gift basket and stock-a-sock initiative by using a real sock and stuffing it with inexpensive treats.
  5. Give the gift of experience. Share/Give a handmade voucher/coupon to your loved one and offer a cooking or baking class, a free haircut or a family photography session. Everyone can join in the fun or sit around and chat while you style Granny’s hair (sometime during the Christmas holiday shenanigans).
  6. Make use of free delivery deals when shopping online. It’s always nice to buy a gift from the comfort of your home and at a good price, PLUS not paying for the delivery thereof. How’s that for a score?
  7. Tired of all the same-old, same-old gifts for that special someone? What about an affordable donation in your loved one’s name, and give that person a nice certificate instead? There are various organisations to support such as children’s or elderly homes and animal shelters.
  8. What about foodie gifts? You can make homemade jams or sauces. Use some of your all-year lemon tree’s lemons, for example, and make that nice concentrated syrup that everyone loves.
  9. Go through the clearance racks at the shop BUT please make sure that the items you find are on your Christmas inventory or gift list and indeed a true ‘discount’ and ‘SALE’.
  10. You can always decide not to shop – gifts can be overrated and quality time with your dear ones far surpasses things or stuff. Not buying anything is the most frugal ‘Christmas 2020 tip’ of all.

Last-minute thrifty Christmas gift shopping is possible BUT try and keep it simple, put some love and heart into it and remember that frugal is the way to go this December. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Carla Oberholzer is a debt advisor at DebtSafe. 


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1. Stop buying stupid gifts for people you don’t like.
2. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.
3. Don’t take your kids shopping with you.
4. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.
5. You owe too much in debt STOP the credit.
6. Lower your car insurance premium.
7. Why does your house contents insurance go up every year and your
“stuff” gets older? Maybe lower that premium ???
8. Pet insurance really ???? How about divorce insurance??
9. Compare interest paid every month to what you make in interest every
10. Don’t go on holiday and run up all your credit. Remember 1999 when home bond interest rates were 19% WE ARE GOING JUNK, JUNKIER, JUNKIEST. Hold on

Dr. Debt

I just need a few beers.

2020 was so upside down, I did not realise that December is a festive, holiday month(?)

For many, its a normal work month.

End of comments.





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