With less than a week to go before Christmas Day rolls around for another year, it’s safe to say the time for leisurely shopping is probably over.
But the Christmas gift-buying experience doesn’t have to be a nightmare of elbow-pushing crowds and annoying tunes in the supermarket.
Shopping expert Kathy Sheeran has offered some tips on how to shop smart ahead of Christmas.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Try not to leave it until Christmas Eve to buy presents, and if possible, look for Christmas presents year-round to prevent the hassle of last-minute buying.
“You’ll find there are lots of good sales all year round,” Sheeran says.
“If you spot a present or a good deal at any time in the year, jump on it.
“If you can buy and set things aside until Christmas, your workload will be smaller and smaller by the time you get to the big day.”
Make a list
Preparation is key and it’s wise to think carefully about who you are buying for.
“We’ve all received the generic candle or soap for Christmas, and while these gifts make shopping easier, more personal gifts are always well received because it’s the thought that counts,” Sheeran says.
“For friends and family that are super picky and hard to buy for, start writing a list of ideas for your loved ones every time a wish comes up to give them the best Christmas gifts.”
At this point you’ll need to make sure your online order is guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve, but online shopping is perfect for those who can’t stand the crowds.
Sheeran suggests items of home decor and accessories as good online-buy options.
Only buy clothes or shoes for someone if you know their size – or if there is a clearly stated returns policy.
Use bargain websites
Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank.
Look for online specials and deals on websites like sneakQIK.com, where you can get brand names like Nike at discounted prices.
“Discounts and deals can be hard to come by when you’re shopping in reality, but online, there’s always a deal to be had,” Sheeran says.
Ask for a price match
A lot of retailers offer price-matching and price-bettering: often, all you need to do is ask.
“It’s time to put your brave face on,” Sheeran says.
“Don’t be afraid to ask.
“You’ll open yourself to a world of saving that you didn’t even know was possible.”