If you one of the many South Africans who haven’t started their holiday shopping. Here are a few tips to help you save this festive season. (Xinhua/Liang Sen) (zy)

Giving, and receiving gifts over the festive season is such a great way to treat friends and family. 

But December is so short, and January is so long, and the potential expense can fill you with dread. Not to mention that you still need to write your present list before you even buy and wrap the gifts.

Well, the good news is that you are not alone. According to statistics from leading price comparison site, PriceCheck, many South Africans haven’t started their holiday shopping either, and are also tightening their belts in tougher economic times.

The second piece of good news is that PriceCheck has you covered with CEO, Kevin Tucker’s insider’s tips on how to navigate the festive gift buying season without breaking the bank, but still delighting your loved ones.

It’s not OK to end up in debt in 2019 because you feel under pressure to spend extravagant amounts on gifts in December. Remember your financial obligations in January and set your gift budget accordingly.

Kevin Tucker’s top gift buying tips for December 2018:

1.    Use the internet to shop around for the best deals and avoid crowded malls and parking hassles during the school holidays.

2.    Online shopping will also give you access to a far wider range of products than even the most dedicated mall goer will find.

3.    Look out for daily deals, a great way to snap-up a bargain. Use a tool like PriceCheck’s daily deals aggregator to find the best deals every day.

4.    Compare variations of products and alternate brands. Make sure you are comparing apples with apples, and that, for instance, you really need the extra features that come with a higher price. Use a price comparison site, such as PriceCheck, to quickly and easily compare a wide range of offers.

5.    Get your purchases delivered safely and securely to your home, or where you are spending your holiday if you are going out of town. Do check festive season delivery deadlines for each retailer, to avoid gifts arriving late.

6.    Affordable gifts don’t have to be cheap. You obviously want to give gifts that are appreciated and are not just going to end up at the back of a cupboard, re-gifted, or worse, in the bin. Refer to PriceCheck’s useful gift-buying guide, based on popular gifts in 2017 and trending products in 2018, for everything from stocking-fillers at less than R100, to more extravagant spoils up to R1000.

Responsible shopping

“Typically, we see pre-festive season shopping peak around mid-December. This year though, the trend coming out of November has not been as steep as it was in 2017,” said Tucker. “Which is not that surprising, given the tough economic conditions most South Africans are facing.

“So, this year, more than ever, shoppers should practice responsible shopping and tap into the search and comparative powers of the internet to get the best deals on affordable gifts that won’t break the bank but will still be valued by the recipients.”

Finally, when shopping online, people should always choose trusted retailers and check retailers’ returns policies.

Last festive season, the most popular categories on PriceCheck for buying gifts were: cellphones and accessories, home entertainment, toys, video game consoles and accessories and beauty products.

“You can still make the most of this festive season - with a bit of online savvy, a smaller budget and less time spent shopping! Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful and happy holiday,” says Tucker.

PERSONAL FINANCE