November 11, 2018
Christmas – a day to celebrate life with food, good company, joy and of course, gifts! With the rising cost of living, it’s not surprising that we Malaysians are becoming more and more frugal in our daily spending – festive seasons included, and go creative with Christmas gift ideas.
With Christmas less than a month away, you’re probably already scrambling to prepare the decorations, travel expenses to ‘balik kampung’, writing the holiday greeting cards and getting last minute gifts for everyone from your grandparents to your favorite nieces and nephews.
While the holiday season is all about giving, you don’t really want to be too extravagant on the gifts for your loved ones and end up surviving on Maggi and rice with kicap and telur mata for the rest of the month. Fret not, we have gathered a list of brilliant tips on how to save money on Christmas gifts and not look like a cheapskate.
We know this is a little cliché, but it’s still the golden rule of any gift shopping. It’s simple, really.
Step 1: Set a total budget for the overall gift shopping.
Step 2: List out the names with individual budgets, divided from the overall budget.
Step 3: Decide on a suitable gift based on the set budget for each of your loved ones. You can list more than one gift for each person as a backup, in case the first option is not available.
Step 4: Stick to your budget sheet. Seriously. Deviations normally result with an increase of expenditure, and you’ll want to avoid that.
The budget list is also a great way to remind yourself that the gift shopping is not for you, which many of us tend to forget when we go gift-hunting. Remember, when in doubt, always stick to your list.
Sales is literally one of Malaysia’s national traits. There’s ALWAYS a sale going on somewhere, if you keep your eyes open. According to Tourism Malaysia, the 1Malaysia Year-End sale started in November and will continue until 03 January 2016 (depending on the retailer).
See also: 1Malaysia Year End Sale: Where To Shop
Save yourself some ringgit and get yours gifts on sale instead of the full priced ones. Sure, most of them may be a little outdated, fashion-wise, but you’ll be surprised at the cool things you can dig out. The key is to take your time and browse through the shelves thoroughly. Think treasure hunting.
Barbara from Little Chumsy’s Blog also agree that the best way to save for Christmas gift shopping is to look for items that are on sale – which are abundant during this festive season. She recently bought a simple Christmas tree which was less than RM100 because it was on sale, and decorated the tree with some baubles and DIY ornaments and saved a lot of money.
You can usually find almost everything in these online shops, from clothes to electrical devices to kitchen wares at a fraction of their original prices in most physical stores. What’s more, you also save on parking fee, toll, transportation costs and the hassle of walking around looking for gifts in crowded shopping malls – major plus.
Blogger Carinn Tan from Carinn; Carerynn recommends using the price range filter in online shop websites to look for gifts without deviating from your set budget. She also highly recommends Hermo, an online shop that offers a lot of discounts and helps you pick out gifts according to your loved one’s personality.
DIY gifts never get old. Whether you’re thinking knitted goods, home-made beauty products, personalized mugs, or a self-stitched pillow or bag – your imagination is the limit.
Not only do you save on cash, DIY gifts portray a sense of intimacy and a level of thoughtfulness that store-bought items can never match. After all, it takes a lot of effort to craft something for your loved one, and trust us, they will appreciate all the hard work you’ve poured onto the gift.
Related: 12 Ways of Christmas Shopping
Flash sales normally last only for a few days – some even a few hours. The good thing about a flash sale is that the goods offered are always marked down to unbelievably low prices. The tricky part is to really keep a look out on the updates for these sales.
Online shops like Zalora periodically offer flash sales, so we recommend you subscribe to their newsletters – that’s the fastest way of keeping up-to-date to the latest sales and happenings.
Alternatively, pay attention to the social media and the news around you. Information on flash sales are always spread around like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter.
If you want to keep your wallet fat and get a ton of stuff at the same time, warehouse sale is your answer.
If you’re thinking about getting books as gifts, Big Bad Wolf offers thousands of books of every genres imaginable at a much cheaper price. There are also websites like Everyday On Sales that provide information on various warehouse sales around Malaysia.
Since we’re looking to save money, it only makes sense to shop with vouchers and discount codes. There are plenty of websites that offer vouchers and discount codes for free.
Try Flipit Malaysia and enjoy countless items at a cheaper price!
Cash back is a serious money saver, and not only for the long run. Pay attention to the cash back promotions provided by your credit cards to reap its benefit.
Alternatively, apply for Standard Chartered JustOne Platinum MasterCard today to enjoy up to 15% cash back on selected spending!
Did you see the video advertisement by Tesco that featured the Spice Girls in 2007? If you haven’t, check it out here.
The idea is that supermarket giants such as Tesco, AEON, Marks & Spencer and much more offer plenty of items at discounted rates during festive seasons. If you’re looking for gift ideas such as hampers, electrical items, clothing and kitchen-wares for cheap, supermarkets are definitely your go-to place.
This is definitely your answer to the easiest gift-hunting for the ones that you’re not sure what to get for. Gift cards also have the advantage of keeping your budget in check, because there’s no way you can overspend on it – given the limit of your credit purchase.
There are countless stores that offer gift cards – H&M for clothing, IKEA for home décor, Parkson for basically everything and supermarket gift cards for groceries and home appliances. Decisions, decisions.
Now that you’re a working adult, you sometimes have the tendency to go way overboard with your Christmas gifts just to prove to your family that, well, you’re a successful working adult.
Our advice is, unless you can truly afford the extravagance, be modest and only spend what you can. Bigger is not always better, and Christmas is not the only time you’ll be spending your money. Keep in mind that new year parties are just around the corner, as well as taxes, road tax, car insurance, bills and many other expenses still waiting to be paid.
Nothing spells Christmas like the good old homemade cookies and candies. Holiday decorated sugar cookies, mint chocolate brownies, salted caramel chewies, cinnamon toffees, you name it.
There are thousands of websites that offer recipes for homemade goods, and you can save a lot of money by buying bulk ingredients and whip up heaps of delicious treats for your entire family and loved ones in the comfort of your kitchen.
We also recommend make-it-yourself kits such as homemade cookies and brownies mix, cinnamon-mint hot chocolate mix or smores dip kit as gifts. Have a look at BBC Good Food for some incredibly clever gift ideas that will have everyone asking for more. After all, the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach!
Vintage is back in style, so why not surprise your loved ones with some seasoned, funky and rare items? We’re talking old-school posters, old-school cameras, rare books, second-hand designer bags and other knick-knacks that you think will delight it’s intended, recipient.
Garage sales are not always easy to find, but there are plenty of vintage shops around Kuala Lumpur that sell pre-loved items for cheap. The popular ones include Chalk in Sungei Wang, Joe’s MAC in AMCORP Mall and Sha Shaari in Jalan Telawi Tiga, Bangsar.
A brilliant tip from the famous lifestyle blogger Miera Nadirah Tan from Miera Nadhirah blog is to shop at Christmas charity bazaars. She quoted, ‘My Christmas saving idea is going to Christmas Charity bazaars which are happening all over and finding gifts at unbelievable prices for loved ones and friends. It’s the thought that counts. Alternately, you can also take part in one of these bazaars and sell off unwanted stuff so you can raise some money for Christmas gifts and meals’.
This is a really intimate choice of gift because you are committing your time and effort for your loved ones in the form of various actions or tasks at their leisure – which as good as wrapping yourself up in gift wrapper and present your own self to them.
Of course, you can set whatever it is you want to offer to your family or partner – be it doing chores, a day’s pass of foot and back massage, pamper them with home spa, cooking lunch or dinner or even free hugs.
It costs virtually nothing, and trust us, your partner and family will love it.
Instead of buying gifts individually, try buying a gift for your entire family or your group of close friends. Get a food or goodies basket that your entire family can share, or an appliance that everyone can use such as a microwave or a television.
You can also consider passes to amusement parks or outdoor games, or even a paid vacation for your family and friends as gifts. Group passes are normally sold at a bargain, and you can keep everyone happy whilst saving huge bucks. Browse through Groupon and find plenty of deals on outdoor and indoor activities, as well as travel and vacation destinations.
Blogger Marc Soon from www.marcsjy.com urged Malaysians to reach out and contribute to charities and help the less fortunate, as they’re the ones that will need your generosity the most.
You can donate to your local orphanages, animal shelters, old folk homes, poverty-stricken individuals and families as well as various other charity organizations. It doesn’t have to be a monetary contribution, you can also donate pre-loved items or your time and energy to help out these organizations, after all, every little bit of effort counts. Have a look at Charity Vault to find out the list of charity organizations across Malaysia.
So there you go fifteen tips and ideas on how not to break your bank accounts to get Christmas gifts for your loved ones. Give it a go and you’ll be amazed at the amount of money that you can save. After all, Christmas is the season of joy and happiness, and it’s the thought that counts.
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