We think that there are two types of Christmas shoppers. Planners and the last minute camp. Whichever one you are, there are always some festive savings to be had. Read our guide for ten ways to save in the run-up to Christmas - especially if you’re a last minuter.
1. Stick to the list
If you go in with a plan when it comes to Christmas shopping, it limits the likelihood of having to spend extra to ‘even things up’ if you’ve bought the odd gift for siblings or couples that would usually receive an equal amount of gifts. Try not to get distracted by offers that aren’t relevant to the gifts you need to buy.
Bonus tip: Pre-plan your shopping and work out if you could benefit from 3 for 2 or BOGOF offers. You’ll get presents for free that you either wanted to buy in the first place, you can donate to charity collections or even save for next year if they aren’t perishable.
2. Dig through the cupboards
Do people always buy you wine for your birthday even though you’re not a big drinker? Are those posh ginger biscuits that just aren’t dunkable lurking behind the tea bags? Re-gift them! As long as the packaging is still looking great, everything is in date and you’re not regifting someone their own present - save yourself some pennies.
3. DIY last-minute gifts
Surprise guests dropping in? Have some homemade mince pies or jars of chutney wrapped and ready to go. This will be a much cheaper alternative than running to your local convenience store and grabbing an over-priced box of chocolates in a gifting panic. You could also plan to make gifts such as this in advance which can be much more thoughtful and tastier than a shop-bought alternative. Set a day aside for creating a few days before Christmas to make sure things are fresh and delicious when you gift them!
4. Shop online
Stay out of the cold and the crowded shops with a little internet shopping. The ‘having a list’ rules still apply but you can do it from the comfort of your sofa. Most retailers will advertise their last chance before Christmas delivery dates and you can scour discount and cashback sites for bonus offers to help you save or potentially earn money back.
5. Super sale shopping
Waiting until the last payday to do your Christmas shopping? This is risky business but you could be in luck with a few bargains. If you can bear busy shops, some stores start to go into sale on Christmas Eve and you could grab yourself a cheap pressie or two. But, bear in mind that a lot of the best stock will have already sold!
6. Yellow label treats
This one is never guaranteed but it could potentially yield some highly-discounted bargains. If your family isn’t fussy and you’re pinching the pennies, head to your local supermarket late on Christmas Eve and see what snacks you could grab for half price or less. We wouldn’t recommend risking the turkey on this tip, just in case there’s none left. If you’re a daredevil, it could all be very cheap indeed. Mind those elbows, though - reduced food shoppers can be brutal when grabbing those bargains!
Bonus tip: Pick up everything you think you might want straight away instead of deliberating in front of the goodies - someone will grab the last chocolate eclair from right before your eyes if you’re not careful! Decide what you’ll actually use, what you can afford and what’s suitable for freezing from the contents of your basket and return the items you’re not buying to the reduced section.
7. Trade in loyalty card points
If you’ve been saving up loyalty card points all year, Christmas is a great time to spend them. Pick up some all important gifts for free or treat yourself to food and drink that you wouldn’t usually buy. You could even trade up the points for restaurant or activity vouchers which could be used as gifts or for family meals out over the festive period. Check out all your loyalty point schemes and see what they offer!
Bonus tip: Take advantage of loyalty card offers in the run-up to Christmas too, some will offer bonus points when you spend over a certain amount. Buy a few gifts in one go as opposed to buying them individually and reap some rewards.
8. Free gift wrapping
This tip saves you time and money - what could be better? A lot of stores offer a free gift wrapping service. The perfect way to spend less money on wrapping paper and less time hunched over gifts in a flurry of ribbons and bows!
9. Travel savvy
Make sure that you book train tickets at least the day before. This is typically cheaper than on the day. You can book up to 12 weeks in advance with a lot of companies so it’s best to do this and save if you can.
Bonus tip: Check out first class tickets. Occasionally they can be cheaper, or very similar in price to standard class. These tickets usually come with water, tea and coffee, snacks and Wi-Fi free of charge. Work out whether it would actually be worth it to travel first class and take advantage of the freebies that you would have otherwise purchased in standard.
10. Bargain Boxing Day
Think about next year’s Christmas before this one is even over. Shopping the Boxing Day sales is a great way to get ahead and nab some reduced wrapping paper, cards and decorations. If you choose neutral, less trend-led items and you have somewhere to store your bargains you’ll be way ahead for next year.
Bonus tip: Some stores also reduce wrapping paper on Christmas Eve, so if you can risk it - you could wrap for much less the night before!
There we have 10 things that you can do to limit how expensive Christmas can get - don’t be afraid of sales, reduced items and searching for voucher codes. Be savvy and you could save a nice chunk from your bursting festive budget.