Living Life On a Budget – Christmas

Christmas is coming and whilst the goose gets fat, we all get considerably poorer, the pressure to spend spend spend at Christmas is very hard to resist! But in today's climate the option to do this, even if we want to, for many people is simply not there. So it pays to shop about, and search out those bargains and deals, Christmas is no different to any other time, searching about and being a savvy shopper can make those pounds go further.

 

The Food!

Living Life on a Budget – Supermarkets; everything in this earlier article is very relevant when it comes to the Christmas shop!

At the time of writing, the current online deals offered by the supermarkets are……

Sainsburys – are offering £12.00 off your first online shop with them of over £60.00 – even if you only do this one shop that's a good deal. I used it myself this week, and the website was easy to navigate and use (and I confess it wasn’t my first time shopping with Sainsburys, I simply registered again in my husband's name – you didn’t hear that from me!)

Asda are still offering you £5.00 off your over £40.00 shops when you use the price comparison site.

Ocado (Waitrose) are offering a nice £20.00 off your first shop with them, but it must be over £80.00. I still advocate registering with Ocado and just waiting! They will keep on sending you offers, wait until you get one that appeals to you.

Tesco are currently doing their Clubcard Exchange, which relies upon you the consumer collecting their Clubcard vouchers, which means shopping regularly at Tesco. My own personal opinion on Tesco and the Clubcard points is that ever since they stopped their double points on everything, its not really been worth it, and certainly Tesco has done nothing to engender my loyalty.

The Gifts

This is where you really need deep pockets and the budget can just fly out of the window, and budgeting is my first tip, it sounds very basic but by being honest with yourself about exactly how much you have to spend, and then working out a budget for each person and STICKING to it, you wont have any nasty shocks once January comes. I am rather sadly organised about it, setting up a table on my PC and updating it once presents are bought. You don’t need to go this far, a scrap of paper and a pen will do the job just as well – but STICK to it, the folks you buy gifts for should, and will, just be happy you have thought of them.

NEVER ever ask anyone want they want for Christmas (this doesn’t really apply to small children whose lists for Santa will of course be huge!). I learned this lesson a few years ago, after asking a few people what they wanted and the answers were rather more than I had budgeted for, and of course, I felt obliged to buy what was asked for, and therefore spend more money! Along the same theme, NEVER give money or buy people gift vouchers, for the simple reason, that no money can be saved this way, if you give someone £20 that's £20, if you shop carefully you might be able to spend £15 and look like you spent £25!

Living Life on a Budget – Vouchers; everything in this earlier article is very relevant when it comes to the Christmas shopping and gives information about the essential use of websites such as Groupon, Wowcher and VoucherCodes.

Ebay – really most definitely my first port of call when if comes to gift buying. You will find pretty much everything you mind and heart could desire or conjure up for sale, and a little searching will reveal some extremely good deals for brand new items. Just watch the P&P, saving £10 on a item isn’t any good if the P&P is £12! I am sure everyone is very familiar with Ebay, but when gift buying, always make sure that the seller has a good rating and if the items are stated to be new, that the seller has a returns policy etc. You want the same kind of service as if you were buying in your local department store!

For young children and babies – Zulily can offer some really great bargains! Its a sign up for service, and each day Zulily will email you just once with their daily deals; some of which (and watch out, because not all) offer really good savings – on children and babies clothing, toys and equipment. I don’t always make time to look at the email, but with Christmas coming and presents to be bought I definitely shall be.

 

As well as those above, following is a list of websites I have used for gift buying – when looking for a bargain:

Fragrance Direct – one year when I really wasn’t feeling into Christmas I did ALL of my christmas shopping in one hit here!

CheapSmells – with free delivery you can find some great bargains here.

http://secretsales.com/ – you need to log on to use this website, but as you can just use Facebook, its no hassle, definitely worth a look to find bargains on all sorts of items, including beauty, household and jewellery.

Toys R Us/Babies R Us – by joining their mother and baby/child clubs you are regularly sent offers and money off coupons by post, before my baby was born, I bought the travel system (pram) from here, it was cheaper than all the websites I trawled (even Ebay), because the travel system was on sale, and then I was able to use the £20 off voucher Babies R Us had sent me. I saved about £100 compared to what I would have paid elsewhere.

Amazon – another essential like Ebay, used by millions of us, it is always worth checking Amazon out, if you buy a few items free delivery is often your reward.

PCWorld – one of the IT biggies, but if you are trawling searching for technology gifts, you will often find the prices here hard to beat.

Play.com – for everything game, DVD, media, film – Play.com on the standard stuff isn’t always going to save you money, but check out their special offers!

All of the high street favourites are also worth checking out – Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, BHS and even Harrods. By spending time searching through you can find some excellent savings.

It may all seem like a lot of work, but tucked up on your sofa with laptop to hand, a cuppa and some choccy biccies, spending a little time bargain hunting really isn’t too much hassle.

What about the physical act of trotting down the High Street? A good few years ago Boots introduced their 3-for-2 on gifts and every year since I have availed myself, absolutely perfect for those work colleague/aunt/cousin/friend small gifts. But other shops have now jumped on that bandwagon and for the last few years Superdrug have also been offering the same. I am not a huge fan of loyalty cards for shops, as I resolutely never show any loyalty, but Superdrug's fairly recently launched Beautycard does seem to offer some half decent returns, and the 'junk' emails they send have some decent (free delivery) offers.

Finally, a new discovery for me, and I plan on using this site for as much of my christmas shopping as I can….MyShoppingRewards, offers you cash-back every time you shop via the website, its free to register, they will give you £3.50 for registering, and then cash-back every time you shop, from one of the 700 retailers listed, you must of course click-thru from the myshoppingrewards site, and then make a purchase 

but every time you do, you will earn commission ranging from 1% to 30%, the website lists all the main retailers – Debenhams, M&S, Tesco, Boots, Play.com. PCWorld, HMV, Dixons etc. I cant give a real review of this site as I myself have only recently registered, but I certainly plan on using it!

 

Please do use the comments section below to tell us your Christmas shopping bargain secrets!

Share the Christmas money saving love!

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