It’s the most won­der­ful (and ex­pen­sive) time of the year! Money mag’s Effie Za­hos of­fers some clever tac­tics to avoid a Christ­mas blowout

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

It’s an ex­pen­sive time of year, so Money mag­a­zine’s Effie Za­hos talks us through some tac­tics to avoid a Christ­mas blowout

1 BUY GIFTS ON POINTS One of the smartest things to buy with re­ward points is a gift card. You can save it up for when money’s tight (hello, Christ­mas) and can also use it dur­ing sale pe­ri­ods to get more bang for your buck. To en­sure you’re get­ting the best value, cal­cu­late the “point cur­rency” of your re­ward pro­gram. This is ba­si­cally how many points you need to earn per dol­lar. So, for ex­am­ple, if you need 7000 points to re­deem a $50 gift card, the point cur­rency is 140 for ev­ery dol­lar. You can use the point cur­rency to com­pare re­wards – the lower the num­ber, the bet­ter. So let’s say 7000 points gets you a $50 gift card (point cur­rency: 140) or you can get a $60 toaster for 8000 points (point cur­rency: 133). You’re bet­ter off get­ting the toaster… but per­son­ally I’d pre­fer the gift card!

2 LIMIT SELF-GIFT­ING How of­ten do you go Christ­mas shop­ping for your fam­ily and friends only to end up with a gift for your­self? Of­ten we jus­tify this self-gift­ing when the item is on sale, but don’t be too harsh on your­self – ev­ery­one has a spend­ing trig­ger and a good sale sign can trip up even the tough­est bud­get plan­ner. The best thing you can do is take a deep breath and give your­self 24 hours to think about the pur­chase. As the say­ing goes, “If you can’t walk away from a deal then you won’t get a good deal”.

3 CHECK YOUR LIST TWICE Santa shouldn’t be the only one keep­ing tally! To avoid a fi­nan­cial hang­over of epic pro­por­tions, it’s a good idea to draw up a bud­get for your Christ­mas spend­ing – not just the presents, but the ad­di­tional ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with food, drink and so­cial­is­ing. Avoid spend­ing more than you have to at the su­per­mar­ket by be­ing aware of their sneaky mar­ket­ing tricks. By all means, snap up a half-price bot­tle of Cham­pagne, but re­mem­ber, these spe­cial buys (called “loss-lead­ers” in the in­dus­try) are priced that way to get you through the door. Buy what you came for then head for the door be­fore you can be tempted to veer off course.

4 MAKE MONEY WHILE YOU SHOP ShopBack is the new app that can help you earn up to 30 per cent cash­back at more than 600 pop­u­lar on­line re­tail­ers, such as ASOS, Chemist Ware­house, Dan Mur­phy’s, Rebel Sport, Wool­worths and even Menu­log. You don’t have to use the app – you can still get cash­back by us­ing the web­site to make pur­chases. How­ever, the app does of­fer ad­di­tional app-only sales that you can’t get through the web­site. It will gen­er­ally take up to 48 hours for the cash­back to be cred­ited to your ac­count, and you’ll only be able to with­draw your cash­back af­ter you’ve ac­cu­mu­lated at least $10. Per­fect for buy­ing that next item on Santa’s gift list! R

Zip it Keksi Räsy­matto pouch in White/Red, $40, Marimekko.

Clip art Ba­sic stain­less steel brass money clip, $18, Airisu.

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