There are only 15 days until Christmas, which means we are 9 days down in our advent calendars, and shopping centres have become a no go zone! But, as we begin to wrap our Christmas presents and put them under the tree, a number of us, myself included, are beginning to feel buyer’s remorse this Christmas.

Hands up who has already bought something this Christmas season and have regretted it? I know I have!

In fact, research conducted by Roy Morgan determined that in 2004 Australians wasted $1,226 a year on items we purchased but never used. In 2004 we wasted $10.5 billion dollars on goods and services we never or hardly ever used! Whilst we don’t have any more recent statistics, I can only assume this number has increased year on year.

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely think of better things to spend $1,226 on! So, how exactly can we beat buyer’s remorse this Christmas?

  1. Not buy things

Ok, this step seems a little bit common sense, but how often do we see something we like and then instantly pull out the credit card and swipe it? They always say you should wait a day or two, especially for large purchases, to see if you really want to buy the item. From experience, I can tell you this option really works.

If you are concerned the item will sell out, most larger department stores, and even a number of smaller stores, will hold the item for you for a day or so. You can ask them to put it to the side to ensure you still get it in case you really want it, if you don’t want it anymore, just call up the store and they will put it back on the shelves for someone else to buy.

  1. Take cash not card

An easy way to forcefully make yourself budget and not spend more than you meant to on impulse purchases, is to only take cash with you to the shops. Yes, it is slightly inconvenient not having your cards with you, but if you can’t pay for the item on the spot you have to make the effort to go home and get your cards and go all the way back to the shops. I don’t know about you, but I would really have to want something to do all that, especially during Christmas!

  1. Return it!

Most shops, big or small, will accept returns if the tags are still attached, or the packaging is intact, and you still have your receipt. Most people don’t realise this!

If you do end up making that impulse purchase return it to the store as soon as possible, most small stores have a 14 day return policy whereas your larger department stores have 30 days.

This also works for unwanted Christmas presents, make sure when you buy something as a gift you get a gift receipt, this means the recipient will be able to take it back to the store and exchange the unwanted gift for something they really want, or get a gift card they can use at a later date. This is a better option then just letting it gather dust in a closet!

It might shock you to learn Australian’s receive $1 billion in unwanted gifts, so I think it’s time to accept not many of us are really that good at giving presents. So this should defiantly be on your to do list this year.

If it is a large department store, they will often accept items back even without a receipt after Christmas, but you will only get current retail value and you will only receive a gift card for their store. Before you try this, make sure to check the individual policy of each store.

  1. Sell it

If you have bought the item and can’t return it, Gumtree or Ebay might just be your best friend. Around this time of year lots of people are looking for cheaper Christmas gifts for their family and friends, put your unwanted items up on gumtree and sell them. You won’t get what you paid for them, but, if they are still new, unused and in their original packaging you should be able to get a large portion of your money back.

It’s hard to keep your spending under control over Christmas, especially as so many shops seem to be having good sales on. It is inevitable you will end up buying some things you regret during the Christmas period, but putting the above steps in place should hopefully help you lessen the burden of your buyer’s remorse this Christmas time, and should save your wallet a bit more this Christmas!

Elise Bentley
Brand & Communications Manager

Elise is passionate about finance, and is on a mission to explore and share different tactics for tackling the everyday financial challenges in realistic and achievable ways. With a background in communications, digital marketing, and public relations, Elise uses her skills to generate new ideas and content to help make finance fun.