Giving, and receiving gifts over the festive season is such a great way to treat friends and family.

But December is so short, and January is so long, and the potential expense can fill you with dread. Not to mention that you still need to write your present list before you even buy and wrap the gifts.

Well, the good news is that you are not alone. According to statistics from leading price comparison site, PriceCheck, many South Africans haven’t started their holiday shopping either, and are also tightening their belts in tougher economic times.

It’s not OK to end up in debt in because you feel under pressure to spend extravagant amounts on gifts in December. Remember your financial obligations in January and set your gift budget accordingly.

Top tips for festive gifts:

1.    Use the internet to shop around for the best deals and avoid crowded malls and parking hassles during the school holidays.

2.    Online shopping will also give you access to a far wider range of products than even the most dedicated mall goer will find.

3.    Look out for daily deals, a great way to snap-up a bargain. Use a tool like PriceCheck’s daily deals aggregator to find the best deals every day.

4.    Compare variations of products and alternate brands. Make sure you are comparing apples with apples, and that, for instance, you really need the extra features that come with a higher price. Use a price comparison site, such as PriceCheck, to quickly and easily compare a wide range of offers.

5.    Get your purchases delivered safely and securely to your home, or where you are spending your holiday if you are going out of town. Do check festive season delivery deadlines for each retailer, to avoid gifts arriving late.

6.    Affordable gifts don’t have to be cheap. You obviously want to give gifts that are appreciated and are not just going to end up at the back of a cupboard, re-gifted, or worse, in the bin. .”

Finally, when shopping online, people should always choose trusted retailers and check retailers’ returns policies.

Last festive season, the most popular categories  for buying gifts were: cellphones and accessories, home entertainment, toys, video game consoles and accessories and beauty products.

You can still make the most of this festive season – with a bit of online savvy, a smaller budget and less time spent shopping!

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Tips on avoiding festive gift-giving fails