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Five budget Christmas shopping hacks

Five budget Christmas shopping hacks

Let’s face it: Aussies are Christmas obsessed. According to a recent study from Pay Pal, this has reached the point where getting ready for the holidays is taking precedence over the festivities themselves. 

“The average Aussie spends around 46 hours — or almost two whole days — getting ready for Christmas but only spends on average, eight hours celebrating the actual day,” the report states. This includes an average of 14 hours spent buying gifts!

Combine this with data from mobile app Pocketbook released at the start of the year, and consumers might have cause for concern. Australians spent 123 percent of their income last December, and swiped their credit cards ten percent more than in other months. 

Given this, it might be useful to have a few shopping hacks up your sleeve to take advantage of this December.

Looking online

Rather than spending dollars and hours fighting off other shoppers for an overpriced product, consider the serenity — and affordability — involved in the online shopping experience. Not only is it more convenient, simpler to navigate and easier to compare prices on, but you’ll often also find the prices are markedly lower. 

Making use of travel rewards

Plenty of people use the Christmas period to take work off and go travelling, whether overseas or domestically. Rather than dipping into your well-funded savings account, why not make use of the points you might have built up on your rewards credit cards to fund the trip? If you don’t have any rewards points built up, consider getting an airline-branded credit card in advance for next Christmas. 

Don’t be afraid of bargain bins

Often there is a stigma attached to the products kept on the shelves and aisles for clearance — you might think they’re defective or in some way lower-quality. During Christmas, however, keep in mind that stores are desperately trying to get rid of old stock, and have simply marked the price down to get it off the shelves, rather than due to quality issues. 

Zero-interest credit cards

In the lead-up to Christmas, banks tend to offer a lot more of this type of product, giving you zero percent interest on the loan you build up for a fixed period of time. Given the statistics provided by Pocketbook, look for this feature if you’re trying to compare credit cards — it could be a good solution for your short-term Christmas spending. 

Monitor price drops

There are a number of ways to do this. You could sign up to newsletters of all kinds in order to get notifications of deals and sales for certain retailers. This could leave you with a messy inbox to clean up at the end of the day. Alternatively, try a price drop alert website like ShoppingNotes.com, which will email you when prices fall for the retailer whose URL you provide. 

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Learn more about credit cards

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.