4 weeks ’til Xmas: Bagging a bargain online

4 weeks ’til Xmas: Bagging a bargain online

Well done you’ve made it to week 4 of our Santa Saver Challenge! With a month left until Jolly Old Saint Nicholas arrives at our chimney tops, it’s time to get cracking on all those gifts left on your “to buy” list. To help you bag a bargain we’ve called on Michael Ginsburg, the Founder & Chief Hacker of Spending Hacker to share his top tips on saving on your online shopping this Christmas 2015. Here’s what he had to say:

The lead up to Christmas is pretty hectic. Isn’t it?

There are sooo many things to arrange: where to spend Christmas day and what to do? Who is bringing what food-wise and the thing which is the most stressful for many: Christmas pressies.

“What can I buy my father/mother/partner/kid that they will actually like and also won’t break the piggy bank and where do I find the best price for it?”

Some people opt for the easy way out and just get them gift cards. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

However, if you have something specific in mind which you know your loved one wants and will love getting for Christmas, your best chance of getting it for the best price is to buy it online.

Not convinced shopping online will get you lower prices? Want to see some examples of the sort of savings you can achieve by going online?

Well, here is one example:

The Xperia Z2 Android Smartphone from Sony is sold at Dick Smith on clearance for $748 but you can get exactly the same product for a mere $450 or $453 (but with slightly cheaper shipping) online. That’s nearly $300 extra in your pocket thank you very much. Winning!

Want another one?

Well, here is one for the ladies:

Walk into a Myer store and you’ll pay $40 for the Charlie Blue Eau De Toilette by Revlon. The exact same product is sold for a mere $14 online at StrawberryNet. That’s less than half price! Better yet, shipping is again completely free provided you bought other things except just fragrances.


Hopefully you’re convinced by now. By doing all your Christmas shopping online, you won’t just get much lower prices but also avoid the hoards of people, the stress and the parking nightmare. A true “spend less and get more” proposition!

You’ll also be in very good company as more and more savvy Aussies are now doing most or even all of their Christmas shopping online.

So now that you’re hopefully convinced to do at least some of your Christmas shopping online, here are some tips to help you score the best deals.

1. Compare prices

That might sound obvious, right? This is something most of us do already when we’re in the market for a particular product or service (and if not, you should be!).

The cool thing is that it is much easier and quicker to compare prices online. No running or ringing around required.

Instead, just use services such as Get Price, ShopBot or Google Shopping and for computers and other tech gadgets, you should also check Static Ice.

2. Use price beat guarantees

Many retailers in Australia (both those who have online and physical stores and those with an online-only presence) offer a price beat guarantee and in most cases, this will apply even if you make your purchase through their website instead of in-store.

Amongst the big ones who do that are OfficeWorks & Masters (their rival Bunnings also offer that but they don’t have an online store) but you can also find specialist retailers like 99 Bikes (for bikes and related accessories) and Appliances Online (3 guesses what they’re selling…) who offer those.

3. Use coupon codes to save even more

Most online stores allow you to enter coupon codes on the checkout screen to get some extra dollars off your purchase or get other benefits such as free shipping, so it is very worth your while to do a quick search for those codes just before you reach for that credit card.

The best websites to look for those are Oz Voucher (for Aussie retailers) and Retail Me Not (for global ones).

4. Buy at Auction

If you’ve done your price comparisons, have good discipline (and strong nerves!), you can try and save even more by buying your items through auction.

It might take a bit longer (as you have to wait for the auction to end) but you can score some truly amazing bargains often at well below cost price (not to mention retail value).

The biggest Auction site in Australia is Grays Online and then there is obviously the ‘gorilla’ of online auctions, eBay.

5. Use cashback sites

It’s one thing to get the best price on what you’re after but you can take it up a notch by actually getting some of the money you’ve spent back!

The way it works is that instead of going to the merchant’s site directly, you go to it through the website of a cashback service.

The cashback service gets paid an affiliate commission by the retailer for sending the customer to them and they give part of that commission to you in the form of a cashback.

If you want to better understand what cashback services are available and how they operate, you can check out my comprehensive guide here.

Missed a week of our Santa Saver Challenge?

  • In week 1 we revealed the potential savings you could make by moving to a fee free bank account and linking it to a high interest savings account.
  • Next up, Buy Nothing New founder Tamara DiMattina talked us through the thrifty savings technique of “doing more with less” (think op shopping for your threads and DIY Christmas gifts).
  • For those planning on whipping out the credit card this silly season, our next blog in our 10 week series was a roundup of the top 0% deals for interest free spending.
  • In week 4 the challenge was to clean out your pantry and bring lunch to work for a week, as a way of increasing your stash cash in time for Santa.
  • Jetsetting overseas for the holidays? In our travel dedicated blog Vice President for KAYAK in APAC, Debby Soo uncovered the hidden travel booking fees to avoid.
  • And in our most recent post, we crunched the numbers to show you how giving up a vice could save you up to $120.


4 weeks ’til Xmas: Bagging a bargain online was last modified: November 26, 2015 by Michael Ginsburg

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8 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I’m all for shopping around & using discounts. When shopping online, I always search for discount coupons before I check out. You just never know where you will save! Research is key.

    1. I agree! Everyone goes a bit ‘mental’ this time of year when it comes to shopping.

      I prefer to do mine from home and hide from the ‘hoards’ 🙂

  2. Michael Ginsburg, great tips as always! Thanks for the timely updates with The Spending Hackers blog. Recently bagged some grocery savings with the Woolies/eBay offer a month ago you flagged. 20% off on already ‘Red Spot’ half price laundry liquid – I’ll take 15 thanks 🙂

    1. Awesome Chris. Glad to hear we were able to save you some dough 🙂

      Many people (myself included) claim that Australia is a very expensive place to live in and that is no doubt true as it has some hard data behind it to back up that claim:

      However, the problem is that many of us Aussies simply cop it on the chin without actually doing something about it.

      My aim with spending hacker is to stop this ‘vicious cycle’ by showing people WHAT can be done and HOW to do it easily and without going ‘mental’ or spending too much of their valuable time on research.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂

  3. Jan at retiringNotshy! · Edit

    Thanks, good tips. For those of us who like to purchase fashion (as gifts for ourselves or others) I find it very worthwhile to follow my favourite brands on social media such as Instagram. Then I always know when they are running a sale and can snap up a bargain. I am sure it works for non-fashion brands as well.


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