The end of the year is around the corner again, which means it's time to shop for gifts! While most of us believe in the spirit of gifting, we know that this season is not very wallet-friendly. With all that gifting and feasting, we all can do with a little money strategy to help us make the most of our Christmas without making us feel like a scrooge or an over-generous Santa.
Here's a list of suggestions on what to buy for your loved ones, and of course, how to save on them!
An Experience Gift For the Spouse
Our partners are who lift us up when we are down, beside us when we need a helping hand and give us a hug for no reason at all. It is thus only fair that we show our appreciation through a thoughtfully-chosen present.
For many of us, it's easy to open the wallet and buy an expensive gift, but have you considered giving the gift of time? In this day and age where work life doesn't stop when we step out of the office and with multiple screens fighting for our attention, perhaps you should consider spending time with your partner this year instead.
But how do you make that a gift? Easy: arrange a time when the both of you can share an experience together. Be it planning for a romantic picnic on Christmas Eve, or buying an experience gift like a cooking class or a pottery lesson, make it memorable by gifting your loved one your precious time and attention instead.
Money Tip: You can easily “buy an experience” using Groupon, which gives great discounts of more than 50 percent for those who are looking for something new to try out. Just remember to ask about block-out dates especially around the holiday season.
It's sometimes the most trying to think of a gift to buy for a parent who has got whatever they wanted. Buying them more of those Body Shop Gift Sets or towel sets just doesn't feel sincere enough.
This Christmas, why not consider getting your parents to play a little catch up with technology? Be it giving them a free lesson on how to use Whatsapp's new video call function or setting up a new email for them, help them find themselves in the world of fast-moving tech so they can keep up with your kids.
It can also be as simple as buying them a subscription to a digital magazine they are already reading physically so that they can familiarise themselves with “flipping” it on an iPad.
Money Tip: Help your parents utilise their SkillsFuture credit for a course they would like to attend and offer to top up the rest.
Presents for Office Parties
What's Christmas without the office Christmas party and a round of secret Santa? More often than not, we end up buying rather meaningless gifts that no one needs for a gift-exchange in the office. If you are having a secret Santa within a small department, suggest having everyone write them the gift they want and ballot for everyone to pick. At least, you will not end up with something you don't want!
If having specific gifts is not an option, consider getting your gifts during discount periods (loads during the holiday season) at stores or online. A more practical present – use your credit cards reward points to redeem for vouchers which you can give as a gift!
Money Tip: Remember to check out the discounts available with your credit cards so that you can maximise them! Buying online? Get discount codes on rebates sites like shopback.sg, or use your cashback credit card to accumulate those cash rebates with all your holiday spending.
Christmas Goodie Bags for the Kids
Kids are lovely in the way that they will be happy no matter what gifts you give them. They will not complain about getting a gift from a house-brand or criticise you for being stingy. A sure way to delight kids during Christmas parties is to pack them a goodie bag with lots of little surprises.
A great way to do it and save costs is to bake some Christmas goodies yourself, like cookie packs or a slice of Christmas fruit cake. Pack them up in pretty little bags that you can get at Daiso (just $2 for a pack!) and bulk buy some mini chocolate bars or candies from ValueDollar shops to split them up.
If you are looking for other gifts to pack in, you can consider buying these in advance from Taobao, which are definitely much cheaper compared to buying from retail shops in Singapore.
Money Tip: If you are looking for ways to save on your holiday shopping this year, remember to use a shopping credit card like the Citi Rewards card that gives you 4 miles for every dollar you spend in both online and offline stores. These miles can be equivalent to at least 4% discounts (and 20-30% if you redeem them for business class or higher) on your shopping expenditures!
Written by Lynette Tan