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Strategic Christmas Shopping

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by Jessica Rudgley (subscribe)
I am undertaking a double degree in Bachelor of Journalism, Bachelor of International Relations while living in Adelaide's Northern Suburbs. I have enjoyed writing and telling others of great things to do in this amazing city!
Published May 12th 2013
Less stress, more money
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Is it too early to mention the word Christmas? Is it too early to even think about Christmas Shopping?

Well that depends. Don't you just hate the stress of trying to find the perfect present for everyone? Don't you hate the rush for the last item? How packed the shops get in the weeks leading up? So you put it off and put it off and then, before you know it, you're struggling through the crowd, massed bodies crushing you, people being stressed and taking it out on you, on Christmas Eve, trying to find something, anything, just so you can just get out of the shopping centre!

But what about the specials, the savings, the incredible sales…

Well, what if I told you that buying early could actually save you money? That shopping early could mean you could buy more for people?

Here's a quick guide to stress free shopping:

1. Determine your budget and stick to it. Don't over spend. You might find that by starting early you can set aside small amounts of your money week by week and end up with a larger Christmas budget

2. Start early. By starting early, even if you just make a list of things your gift recipient might like, you're giving yourself an idea of the cost and anything else that they might like.

3. Take advantage of the sales. There are sales other than the Christmas sales. There are post-Christmas sales in January if you really feel the need to start that early – although those sales are better for snapping up bargains for birthday gifts. In February there are Valentine's Day sales – this is perfect for picking up jewellery. Then there are the Easter sales, the mother's day sales, father's day sales – just about any day there is -there's a sale for it. You get the cheap prices, but not the madness.

4. Lay-by. If you can't afford it now, but still really want to get it for someone – put it on layby. Paying smaller instalments allows you to get what you really want without breaking the budget – and by buying early you have plenty of time to pay it off.

5. Don't underestimate the value of the cheap shops. Most cheap shops sell products that are, well, cheap. Every now and then though you'll find something that's cheap but doesn't look it. For example some of the statues they sell or the hollowed out books or chests that are themed quite often look much more than they're worth.

6. Two words: Homemade gifts. As corny as it seems, homemade gifts are the best and yes they do come from the heart? Why? Well because you've thought about what they might like and then you've spent all that time making it! You have essentially made something that you've put your heart and soul into. You don't have to be incredibly talented either. If you can draw, cut, paste, colour, you can create something. If you're any good with words you could write about a loved one and how you see them. Or if you're a good cook, you could bake short bread, ginger bread, anything really! And if you get the time, decorating is always fun too!

The only trouble you should have with your Christmas shopping, is remembering where you've hidden it!
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