7 tips to sort your Christmas shopping

Don't bury your head in the sand and act surprised when mid-December rolls around. Sure as apples, Christmas falls on the 25th December each and every year.

So, the earlier you start shopping, the better the gift and stress levels will be. And for those notorious Christmas Eve shopper's you'll know there are slim pickings left in shops. So don't repeat the same mistake.

Here are the secrets you wish Santa told you about smarter Christmas shopping:

  1. Christmas is about family and friends and nothing matters more. Consider a personal touch such as DIY Christmas wrap, or home-baked goods to accompany a gift

  2. Sales happen throughout the year, so always go into one with an eye open to Christmas gift ideas

  3. Part of the joy of Christmas shopping is to gift someone something they really love. This can involve some stealth on your part by paying attention to their favourite fragrances, hobbies and what they don't have. If you're at their house and they give you champagne in a tumbler, tuck the champagne flutes idea away for future reference

  4. If you paid attention and still have no idea whether or not they'd like the new Guns n' Roses album, ask someone who will know

  5. Buy for them, not you. Yes, you may need a new wheelbarrow, but does your girlfriend really want one?

  6. If you're planning on buying gifts online on internationals sites, leave plenty of time for the shipping, particularly as the Christmas period is a boom time for freight companies and you don't want your gift to be en route from Alabama come Christmas

  7. Enlist the help of the plastic fantastic – but make it work for you. You may not have the extra cash when you see something that would be spot-on for your mother when you see it, so use a Gem Visa credit card. With 6 months' interest free on Visa purchases over $250, it gives you the freedom to buy the perfect presents and enjoy the much needed breathing space around the costly festive season to be able to pay the amount back before accruing interest.

Things you need to know

Credit and lending criteria, $55 establishment fee and $52 annual fee apply. Prevailing interest rate (currently 25.99% p.a.) applies after interest free term ends. Gem Visa is provided by Latitude Financial Services Limited.