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Spend Carefully

4 gift-buying hacks to unwrap this Christmas

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-12-05 00:00

Estimated reading time
6 min

In this article

  • Learn why we spend so much at Christmas
  • Get unique ideas to keep gift spending low
  • How to make a Christmas budget

If the cost of living and raised interest rates are getting your tinsel in a tangle, our elves are here to bring you some festive cheer, and help you end the year on a high note.

Of course, when it comes to having Christmas on a budget, you can take the low-cost route – write personal letters, make handmade gifts, or even offer your unique talents. But if buying the real deal is how you want to show your family and friends that you love them, then you can play Santa with our four easy money saving hacks.

Why do we spend so much at Christmas?

Going well over your Christmas budget and splurging on your favourite people in the silly season is something many of us do – and it’s all thanks to a thought process called Loss Aversion1.

In a nutshell, Loss Aversion is when we focus on avoiding losses at all costs. So, at Christmas, we try to avoid disappointing our loved ones by splashing some serious cash on them. Our Christmas budget tips and hacks are a sure-fire way to help keep your costs (and losses) low.

  1. Get a bonus gift when buying a product 
  2. A common offer available at many retailers is to buy a product and get a bonus gift with the purchase. The best part is that these 'gifts’ can be regifted to someone else on Christmas Day – like gifting mum a bottle of sample perfume. This will help you save some money during the silly season and no one will be any the wiser.

    Depending on where you shop, these gifts can be a multitude of different items. If you buy a tablet at a tech store, you might receive a free pair of earbuds too. Or a department store might give you a bonus gift card if you purchase a gift card of a certain value.

    Hot tip: Do your research and see what ‘gift with purchase’ offers are available and when these offers will expire so you can shop with confidence.

  3. Purchase with points
  4. If you’ve signed up to one (or two or three) loyalty programs, chances are you’ve been accumulating loyalty points. What better way to cash in those hard-earned loyalty points than exchanging them for gifts?

    In fact, Christmas is the perfect time to use your points. Not only do they accumulate throughout the year, then often remain unused, but using points can help alleviate some of the financial strain during the festive period. You can also use your points to ‘purchase’ gift cards for supermarkets, so you can save some cash when doing your Christmas grocery shop.

    Hot tip: If you have an ANZ Rewards credit card, you can exchange your points for gift cards, cashback and some of the latest gadgets and gizmos at the ANZ Rewards Store.

  5. Play the ‘price match’ game
  6. Most retailers can price match their products so you can score a good deal (and they can get a sale). But did you know you can often price match the item you want from a shop in a different state? If you find an item that’s cheaper in a different state, consider calling your local retailer or using their website’s live chat to see if you can get a cheaper deal (without crossing the border).

    Of course, the retailer can turn around and say ‘No’. If that’s the case, consider buying the product from the interstate store (if shipping doesn’t cost a pretty penny). Or play your own ‘price match’ game– investigate different local retailers and see who sells the product you want at the lowest price. As a last resort, you can see if there’s a similar and cheaper alternative or think about getting your loved one a gift card to go towards the original item.

    Hot tip: Keep track of your research and consider making a list of the retailers with the cheaper options so you can contact your local store, armed with evidence of a good bargain.

  7. Make a wishlist and check it twice
  8. If you’re doing most of your Christmas shopping online, consider making a wishlist for the items you intend to buy on each online store. Then, most retailers will send you an alert (usually an email) about when those items are on sale. You can also wait for the Boxing Day sales to drop, especially if you’re seeing friends or family after Christmas Day.

    If you’re strapped for time and don’t want to wait, consider popping the items in your cart and not checking out. Nine times out of ten, the online store will send you an email reminding you about the items in your cart – and will sometimes send a small discount too. And if you sign up for a retailer you’ve not shopped at before, you will often get some money off your first purchase, so make sure you save the discount code and apply it at checkout.

    Hot tip: It’s important that you have a plan of attack when it comes to funding your Christmas shopping, especially when there’s the temptation to go overboard online. Consider going back to your budget so you can understand how much you’ll have for your silly spend.


Remember what Christmas is all about. It’s about being together with the people you love, even if it’s a quick video chat, or remembering the ones we’ve lost. It doesn’t have to be about having the latest expensive, flashy product taking social media by storm (even though – let's be honest – that's nice too). With all the pressure to spend and splurge, being clever with your Christmas purchases can make you feel good, especially going into the New Year without an over-spending hangover.


4 gift-buying hacks to unwrap this Christmas
Financial Wellbeing Coach

There’s a reason Santa checks his list twice

Pop on your Santa hat and start making a Christmas budget that you can stick to.

Make your Christmas budget


The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.