Are you worried about the cost of Christmas? Here are some simple ways to save money on your Christmas shopping.
Ah, Christmas. A time for giving and goodwill to all men etc, etc. The truth is that the average cost of Christmas shopping has doubled over the last 20 years. This means we all need to keep a closer eye on our spend during the run-up to Christmas, otherwise, we may need to look at selling some of our recently gained gifts!
Take a look at these 10 ideas so you don’t go over budget.
1. Set a budget
I suppose the best way to avoid going over budget is not to set one in the first place. However, it’s very easy to keep spending for Christmas, so try to keep in mind how much you are willing to spend per person. Every time you buy something, write it down so you don’t lose track.
2. Start shopping early
I don’t mean at 5:00 in the morning. Late August/early September is a good time to start searching for gifts. With the expense of kids going back to school, very few people are looking at buying gifts. Take a look in toy shops and online, and you should be able to find some decent bargains. This will also help with spreading the cost over several months, rather than you running out of money by mid-December.
3. Join some Facebook pages
Why do the hard work of searching for bargains, when someone else could do it for you? There are loads (and I mean loads) of pages where people search for bargains and then post them on a page. Why do they do this? Often they will receive a small referral fee for everything that sells. This means that it’s in their interest to post up some decent deals. A few times a week, just scroll through the page to see what kind of deals there are. Here is an example of one worth following:
4. Sign up to Cashback Sites
Cashback sites are very easy to use. Every time you shop online at a store, click through the cashback site first and you’ll earn some money. Not every store is listed, but most major retailers are. Take a look at my page if you don’t know about cashback sites.
5. Visit VoucherCodes
VoucherCodes list offers and discount codes from a range of stores across the internet. New codes and deals are regularly entered so it’s worth checking back regularly. There are sometimes special deals offered such as free Amazon vouchers if you shop at certain stores.
6. Use a Cashback Credit Card
There are certain credit cards you can use that will give you cashback every time you purchase something using that card. Nationwide is my favourite as they don’t charge a fee. Cashback may only be 0.5%, but it all counts. Plus, you get extra protection when you buy goods using a credit card. Find out more about credit card cashback.
7. Use loyalty card points
Check your reward cards to see if you have any unused points. Boots has the most generous reward scheme and they often have 3 for 2 offers on gifts later on in the year.
Sainsbury’s usually has a “double-up” event around October. That means you can swap your Nectar points for double their worth. Depending on the size of the store, Sainsbury’s has a good selection of toys, CD’s and video games.
Tesco recently stopped their boost events for Clubcard holders, but you can still exchange points for goods. However, you get far better value trading in your points for days out and travel, so spending your points on gifts isn’t the best use.
8. Wait for Black Friday Sales
I’m sure everybody is now well aware of the sales that take place at the end of November. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have made their way over to this side of the water. You can find some incredible deals, but make sure you don’t get sucked in. Some in-store offers will have very limited stock, and if you don’t get what you want, you’ll probably end up buying something you never intended to. And just because Asda has a massive TV for £80, it doesn’t mean it’s a great bargain. It could be terrible quality or old stock.
I find the best deals are generally online. Amazon is my favourite, mainly due to their Lightning Deals. These are offers only available for a short time and with limited stock, so you have to be quick. If you’re a Prime member, you can often get early access. If you don’t want to pay for a full Prime subscription, then you could always take out a month’s free trial just before the start of the sales. If you’ve already had your free trial, I have heard of people getting another month free by just using another email address. However, it’s not something I’ve tried.
9. Wait for store promotions
Every year, stores will offer promotions to attract your custom. As I mentioned above, Boots will offer a 3 for 2 promotion on gifts. My favourite is Argos, who often offer gift cards when you make a purchase. This is usually a £5 gift card when you spend £50 or £10 for a £100 spend.
10. Gift vouchers/cards
These are a great way to get small discounts. If you have a Blue Light Card, you can buy gift cards at a discounted rate. For example, buying Argos vouchers will save you 5%. That means you can buy £100 worth of goods for £95, and time it right and you could also receive that £10 voucher.
If you’re not eligible for a Blue Light Card, then try Zeek. They are an online voucher marketplace, and you can buy vouchers or cards for less than cost price. Find out more about Zeek.
I hope some of these tips will help you save money on your Christmas shopping.