Money-saving expert Nick Drewe from discount platform WeThirft shared his top tips to help shoppers save money during the festive season.
Make a list, check it twice
Nick explained: “While the younger members of the family are likely already busy writing up extensive wish lists for Santa, it might be worth you considering writing up a few lists of your own.
“The build-up to Christmas can be a stressful time, and organisation is the key to navigating yourself to that big day. Keeping lists of what gifts you have bought for who, and who you still need to buy for is a great way to relieve some of the pressure of gift shopping.”
Nick recommended “password-protected apps” that allow users to organise gift shopping and spending.
“Likewise, try making a list of all those bare Christmas essentials. We have probably all been there, a few nights before Christmas and about to wrap our carefully purchased gifts, when we realise we have forgotten to buy name tags.”
Know your Christmas budget
Nick suggested being clear about how much shoppers are prepared to spend in advance to avoid the stress of accidentally going over budget.
“Everyone’s budgets are different and everyone is equally as capable of over-spending if they’re not too careful.
“Make a plan for your entire festive budget, from food to alcohol, and decorations to presents, and try to set some money aside for it as early as possible.
“Planning in advance can put your mind at rest when treating your friends and family to that perfect present,” the money-saving expert explained.
Get your shopping done early
“Whether you prefer to shop online or in-store, aim to beat the queues and the panic buyers by getting your Christmas shopping done as early as possible.
“The early bird catches the worm, so filling your stocking before the ‘official’ Christmas shopping season begins means that you could actually save money by avoiding price surges.”
By making a move early, people might uncover some interesting deals.
Nick added: “Getting in there early will also guarantee your gifts arrive if you choose to do your shopping online. Lengthy shipping times can often soar at Christmas with everyone ordering the same sorts of products at once, leading to shortages.”
Find coupon codes online
Nick advised to actively look for vouchers online: “Don’t wait for a high street voucher to drop out of a Christmas card to get your dose of discounts.
“Once you have worked out the sort of items you need to buy, let the internet do the hard part and track down the discounts for you.”
Nick added: “In addition to all the obvious cash savings you can make by utilising coupon codes, you may also find that some of the best deals for the items you were searching for coming from sites or small businesses where you would not have previously thought to look.
“You may also find that you have been collecting discount codes of your own all year round with your loyalty card. Whether you collect Nectar points, Clubcard points or something else, Christmas is a great time to make use of all the loyalty points you’ve racked up throughout the year.”
Buy in bulk
Nick said: “If you find yourself with a few friends or relatives to buy for, then buying in bulk could help you cut back on the costs, whilst pleasing your gift recipients at the same time.
“Take advantage of familiar supermarket offers like ‘Buy One Get One Free’ or ‘Two for £10’ to save the pennies during the festive season. If it works out cheaper to buy 20 rolls of wrapping paper then do it and have enough in stock to last you for a few years.”
Ditch the turkey
The money-saving expert suggested there are other cheaper and equally delicious alternatives for the Christmas meal: “The centrepiece of the traditional Christmas dinner has been a staple in Britain ever since the days of Henry VIII. But with the cost of buying one going up every year, coupled with the expected shortage of the birds in 2021 due to Covid and Brexit – is it time to break tradition?
“Why not try something really different this year and switch to one of the many vegetarian, or even vegan, alternatives? There are plenty of delicious options from the familiar nut roast to the increasingly popular ‘no beef’ wellington.”