12 tips to MAXIMISE Christmas but MINIMISE the cost!
Christmas is an expensive time, and this year in particular the budget may just be a little tighter than normal. The money saving tips below are designed to push the pennies a little bit further and to get the most enjoyment possible out of the festive season.
1. Price Matching Services
A pretty obvious one straight out of the box, but it’s always worth reminding ourselves… The first price you see online might not be the best! Rather than searching through sites for hours though, there are existing sites that do the heavy lifting for you such as:
- Google Shopping
- Price Runner
- Price Spy
These sights scour the best price for you to help you keep in that Christmas budget!
2. Money Saving Browser Extensions
Did you know there are FREE browser extensions you can get to help you save money? They automatically scan the internet for discount codes and apply the best one for your order. It is a simple free way to save money on your online purchases which makes it a no brainer! My favourite is Honey as it works across all browsers and on most websites. If it can’t find you a coupon code that works, it rewards you with Honey Gold that you can spend elsewhere! There are also other extensions such as Amazon Assistant and Price Blink.
3. Reverse Image Search
Another way of bargain spotting is by ‘reverse image searching’ on Google. Not many people know about this hack, but when I discovered this it was a revelation! Most online sellers tend to use stock images of a product and it is possible to find other sellers of the same product. Simply right click the image and select ‘Search Google for image’ (if using Google Chrome) or ‘Search the web for image’ (if using Edge). Personally, I think using Chrome and searching Google is best because it displays the results in the clearest and most coherent way (hence why Google is the biggest search engine by a country mile).
4. If Your Purchases Come With A Free Gift, Give That As A Present!
With competition high at this time of year, sellers really up their game to grab your business. Be on the lookout for little deals, especially online! It is often with a key product or after spending over a certain amount. The free gifts can be very nice mini products that work well as little stocking fillers, Secret Santa gifts or even to add to little hampers. This can save you a penny or two of your Christmas budget while still giving a nice, thoughtful gift.
5. Re-gift Unwanted Gifts
Unwanted gifts, we all have them! I see no problem with re-gifting things that you may have no use for personally. Just because you don’t, someone else really might! Those prezzies from last year that were never opened and are collecting dust could be really appreciated by the right person. Slippers, pyjama sets, puzzles, books; they’re frequently bought and don’t match the taste of one person but could be loved by the next.
6. Think: “Will They Want That Gift?”
Following on from your unwanted gifts, to making sure you give ones that are wanted, especially stocking fillers. Just because you’ve always bought lots of little knick-knacks for people, doesn’t mean you need to. A lot of the time people will smile and thank you for a gift but will never use it.
I’m one of those people who is difficult to buy for, mainly because I don’t have much need for ‘things’. I genuinely have pretty much all that I want already, which means that the family feel the need to buy me stuff, just to pad out my stocking. I’d never dream of being rude… but I end up giving most of it away. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Before you buy that gift, really think about whether it needs to be bought. Maybe the recipient really does just enjoy the simple things more, such as time with the family! I’d be happy if the only things bought for me were red wine and stilton cheese! 😊
7. Cashback and Rewards Websites
It is inevitable that some gifts need to be bought, but we might as well try to be paid for our purchases! Make sure you check on sites like Quidco, before making a purchase to see if you can get some cash back. There are also rewards sites like Avios, where your points can be turned into discounts or free flights abroad… I would say it is harder to find a retailer that ISN’T listed on the Avios rewards programme, so make sure you check before you buy.
8. Cashback Credit Cards
Building on that theme; If you haven’t got a cash back credit card, Christmas is certainly time to get one because inevitably you may be putting quite a lot of money on there. It makes sense to get money given back on purchases you were going to make anyway. By combining the use of cashback and reward sites and making the purchases on your cash back credit card, you are effectively getting a DOUBLE-WHAMMY cash back reward. Make sure of course that you clear your credit card balance EVERY MONTH IN FULL to avoid paying any interest.
American Express Platinum Cash Back cards offer an introductory rate of 5 PERCENT cash back on purchases in your first three months, subject to a maximum of £100 or £125 cash back depending on the variant of card you choose. You can also get a £30 reward for recommending other friends too, who may be appreciative of the tip at this time of year, so fill your boots (or stockings).
9. Rewards Cards:
Following the theme again, shop rewards cards are another great way to get some free rewards. All just for shopping your essentials! Some of the most popular are Boots, Superdrug, Tesco Clubcard or The Nectar card. Throughout the year you can collect points and gain value on items that you would be buying anyway. Then use the points to help keep in your Christmas budget for Christmas shopping for both food and gifts!
10. Sentimental Gifts Are the Most Appreciated
Instead of the same old stocking fillers, quite often the most treasured gifts are the sentimental ones that cost very little. Not everyone is crafty and can make things (and not everyone has the time) – although if you are, go for your life and make gifts for people – but never underestimate the power of a framed photo of a happy memory, a favourite holiday picture or just everyone together. You can get a picture printed and put in a lovely frame for less than £10, and those gifts will last the longest. On online stores like Etsy you could even get your picture drawn for a low cost. A lovely sentimental gift for your loved ones.
11. Buy in Christmas Sale… For Next Year!
Most of the time, people are Christmassed out by the end of Boxing Day, but that’s the time to get some great bargains for next year. Retailers will want to get rid of their stock and will slash prices, especially on anything specifically Christmas related. An hour spent doing this online with a belly full of turkey curry will be an hour well spent.
12. Discount Shops to Keep That Christmas Budget
Another obvious one perhaps, know where to get your bargains! It’s always worth a reminder to use the discount shops at this time of year that you may not always use. PARTICULARLY for any food items… The Aldi’s, Lidl’s, B&Ms and Home Bargains of this world are a rich source of bargains. Many of these are on branded items and will slash your shopping bill. Also, Christmas cards can be bought from Card Factory, with 1st class postage included, for an average price of about £1.80 – that’s less than half what you’ll pay on Moonpig!
That wraps up (pun intended) my spending tips to keep within your Christmas budget! If you have any of your own, please comment over on my Instagram!