While it may seem that the cost of Christmas soon adds up (and you find yourself waking up in January wondering where all that money went!) it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive time of year. There are ALWAYS ways to save on your spending, no matter what you’re buying. And, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, seasonal sales, discount codes and cashback options, you can definitely get a better deal on your seasonal shopping this year. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make a List and Check it Twice
The first step to shopping for Christmas is to identify who you’re buying for and what you’d like to get for them. Be specific. And set a budget. Overspending always happens when you’re not sure what gift to buy, so you end up leaving it until the last minute and then just grab the nearest thing. This can end up costing you more, as you won’t have been able to take advantage of discounts or sales and, if you’re shopping online, can mean that you have to pay extra for fast last-minute delivery.
If you already know what you want to buy for each person, you’ll be able to snap up the bargains when they come along over the course of the next few weeks and give you plenty of time to get them delivered, wrapped and gifted.
It’s Not Always a Good Deal
One key thing to remember is that, just because it’s on sale on Black Friday, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good deal. It can be quite exciting to see all the big ‘sale’ logos and slashed-through prices so we snap things up, believing that we’ve got something at a massive discount. However, that price is not always lowest it can be and it may be possible to buy the item at a lower price elsewhere, even without the Black Friday discount.
The important thing here is to do your research in advance. You’ve got plenty of time before Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of the month to get to grips with the regular prices of the things you hope to buy. Make a list and compare prices across a range of online retailers. That way, you’ll know the lowest average price and can be confident that, when you see a cheaper price on Black Friday, you’re definitely getting a great deal.
Always use Discount Codes
Even when you’re sure that you’ve found the right gift, at the right price, stop before you checkout online. At this stage, always do a quick search for a discount code for the retailer – there will probably be something out there that will give you free delivery or % off. Sites like MyMoneyPocket.co.uk work with over 4500 brands (even eBay – see, there’s always a deal to be had!) to provide discount codes and deals and it’s free for shoppers to use.
An added bonus of shopping through discount providers like this is that you can earn cashback when you shop. When you use your account to make purchases from your favourite brand websites, you’re given a percentage of your spend back into your account. I’ve found cashback deals for some retailers that I’m ALREADY going to be shopping with this Christmas including H&M, Asos, Superdrug, Boots, Wilko and The Range (even Iceland for my party food!) so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the cashback offer. All these little sums of money soon add up and I bet you’ll find yourself with quite a pot of free cash by the end of the festive period!
Shop Secondhand and Independent
Another way that I personally like to cut costs over the Christmas period is by shopping secondhand and with independent retailers. Often, you can find exactly the gift you were looking for, but handmade by an indie maker here in the UK. Plus, secondhand shopping (shall we call it ‘vintage’?) is more sustainable as you’re essentially recycling items that are already out there in the world, rather than creating demand for more new products to be produced. Head to eBay or the Oxfam Online Shop (another cashback site – amazingly enough!) to find secondhand and vintage gems that you won’t get anywhere else.
Gifts are more thoughtful when you’ve gone to the trouble of searching out the exact item that’s right for your recipient. I always like to browse on independent business marketplaces like Etsy and Not On The High Street (where you can also get cashback using the method above!) to discover unique gifts that are handmade. It makes me smile to know that, when I shop with an independent maker, there’s an actual person who’ll benefit from my order. Plus, they always give you the best service with fast delivery and beautifully wrapped items.
Be Careful with Your Festive Finances
If you’ve been putting aside money for Christmas, you’ll already know how much you’ve got available to spend. It’s a good idea to select gifts based on your budget rather than spending more than you intended. You don’t want to end up with a big credit card bill or loan to pay off long after Christmas. However, if there are some essentials that you simply can’t afford after your festive shopping, using an overdraft or on-demand credit can help you get the funds you need and you can pay it back quickly, without taking a load of debt into the new year with you.
I would only ever suggest borrowing a small amount if you REALLY need to and NEVER use a payday loan company. Of course, you’ll always pay interest or fees on money you borrow, so only ever use credit that you can afford to repay within the next calendar month. Don’t get into a situation where you can’t pay it off immediately and end up having charges and high interest rates piled onto the money you owe. There’s nothing worse than struggling to make payments – it’s better to have a more frugal Christmas than worrying about money throughout the coming year.
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas for cutting the cost of seasonal shopping. Please share your own tips in the comments below – we all need as much help as possible to save our cash this Christmas!
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