7 hacks to complete your Christmas shopping on a budget

Shopping bag illustration

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Tara Smith

Last-minute thrifts.

We’re officially three days out until Santa comes, which means it’s probably time you made a start on your Christmas shopping.

If you’re anything like me, that thought will terrify you until it’s Christmas eve and you’ve got nothing but socks and undies to show for it. It’s even worse when you’ve spent all your money on UberEats and overpriced doughnuts yet again.

Over the years, a continuous cycle of buying presents for myself before anyone else has made me an expert at stretching my budget. My inner circle hasn’t the slightest idea of how selfish I really am.

Selfishness aside, spending Christmas with your family is stressful enough without the added pressure of buying them things. Nobody can deal with invasive questions about their career, inappropriately-drunk grandparents AND Christmas presents. That would be asking far too much.

To ease that pre-Christmas anxiety, we’ve put together 7 hacks to complete your Christmas shopping on a budget.

1. Hunt for discount codes

Only amateurs shop without discount codes. Your best bet is to visit a website that compiles all the codes in one place (like this one), so you don’t have to waste time entering your email address to a million different online stores. Nobody has time for that.

2. Know your return policies

A gift is only half as good if it can’t be returned. Truth is, you won’t always get it right, so you have to make sure your giftee can exchange it for something they really want. Go over the return policies with a fine-tooth comb. If there are no returns, you better be willing to bet your life (and your reputation) it’s a good present.

3. Master the art of regifting

While regifting might be considered taboo, there’s no harm if you get away with it. Compile your bounty from the year and be ruthless. Damaged or opened packaging is a huge no-no, but if it’s unopened it’s good to go. Make a point of being wise with your selection, too. If you’re gifting your dad Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette, you’ve probably given yourself away.

 4. Educate yourself on PayPal returns

It appals me how few people know about PayPal’s excellent return policy. If you make any purchase through PayPal and decide to return it, you’ll be refunded any return costs up to $45. All you need to do is enable PayPal Refunded Returns via this link, supply documentation and you’re done. International returns? No problem.

5. Use sales to your advantage

Leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute has its benefits. The closer it gets to Christmas, the better chance you have of taking advantage of half-price goodies. To save you all the extra hard yards, visit a website that has all the sales in one handy place. You can even base your gifts around what sales on if you’re feeling extra thrifty.

6. Get creative with gift wrap

Thankfully, wrapping your gifts with Butcher’s paper and string is both budget-friendly and extremely hipster. You’ll actually fool people into thinking you’ve gone the extra mile, without forking out $20 a roll for paper you’ll use once. Better yet, repurpose your old UberEats bags, they’ll be exploding out of your kitchen anyway (no one will know, stop judging me).

7. If all else fails, fall back on Kris Kringle

Kris Kringle was invented for people like you and me. You have a preset budget, you only have to buy for one person and it doesn’t even have to be that good. Then again, it’s a gift-giving practice typically reserved for organised people, and if that were you, we wouldn’t be in this predicament, would we?

Illustration by Twylamae.

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