It’s the most wonderful time of the year but for many of us, our Christmas shopping budget may not stretch as far as previous years, due to the cost of living crisis and increasing bills.
If you're looking for ways to save money on your Christmas shopping, look no further! We’ve reached out to the UK Money Bloggers community, who have shared their top tips to help you shop savvy this festive season.
How to save money on your Christmas shopping
Claire from Money Saving Central
Follow your favourite money saving blog on their social channels for year-round money-saving tips and deals. At Christmas time you can find a plethora of ideas, sales advice, tips and deals that will be in your feed, ready to bag.
Dan from The Financial Wilderness
Planning, planning, planning! Like Santa, make your list early (and check it twice.) By doing this you give yourself the best chance to track prices with monitors like CamelCamelCamel or wait for a retailer to have a pre-Christmas sale moment (which happens more often than you think), rather than having ‘a Christmas shopping day’ and just buying it then regardless of price. This approach also keeps your targeted rather than in the danger zone of impluse buys!
Fiona from Savvy in Somerset
My top tip is to buy secondhand where you can. It’s great for the environment, saves money and really helps out charities too.
You can find plenty of gift sets that are brand new and still boxed as well of loads of toys that have hardly been played with. It’s also great for Christmas Jumpers and PJs which are often only worn once or twice.
Shopping second hand might take some extra time and planning but there are loads of secondhand bargains out there just waiting to be discovered!
Amandeep from Comparism
My top tip is don't buy anything online without a cashback site. Sites like Quidco have most online stores listed, and the savings add up over time; without a cashback site, you're leaving free money on the table.
I am sharing this from my experience of making £2734.06 just by using cashback sites for most of my online shopping.
Jane from Lady Janey
Check out the validity of gifts, special offers and discounts particularly at Christmas. It pays to do your homework just as you would usually do before making a normal purchase, compare prices and be wary of potential scams.
It’s also useful to make a note of T's and C's when buying presents so that you or the recipient are not caught out by the closure of returns windows, usually 30 days but often extended at Christmas. Enclose a gift receipt if available.
Faith from Much More With Less
Set expectations early. With bills rising up left, right and centre, everyone might be grateful if you suggest only buying presents for children rather than adults, setting spending limits or doing a family Secret Santa. Talk to friends and family earlier rather than later, before people have done a load of Christmas shopping.
Talk to your kids too, about what they'd really like and what might actually be possible. If they've set their hearts on something expensive, perhaps ask other relatives to contribute too, instead of other presents.
Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums
Think of your Christmas food now. Makes a huge list of what you need and start looking over the course of the next few months.
I also set up Google Alerts that email me the price when it drops. So for example, a Turkey, that I know is going to want is already a set on my Google alerts so I can find the cheapest price.
Helen from The Complaining Cow
Keep your gifts safe when out and about. Put lights on timers. Leave the radio on. Check you have shut and locked windows and doors! Don’t leave keys in locks. They can be “jiggled” from outside.
Leave an ironing board up with pile of clothes! It will look like you’ve just popped out!
Ask a friend/neighbour to put your bins out and back on the normal bin day. When all the bins are out on a street except yours or yours are the only ones out, that can be a giveaway no one is at home.
Don’t leave presents in cars in full view while you leave the car unattended. Opportunist thieves will smash the glass and run. And cars can get stolen too.
Break up the packaging and don’t put your branded boxes next to the bin, advertising what’s inside your house.
Hide presents. Leaving them all round the tree in view is again advertising to potential burglars!
Also Gift ethically and save money:
Gift your time
The most important thing you can give people is time. If you have green fingers or are handy with a hammer, gift your time to help get some home improvement projects started. Pledge to clear out an attic, help someone move home or support someone starting up their new business.
If you’re a natural with a sewing machine or can whip up a knitted jumper in a matter of days, gift them. Crafts can help to lift our mood and give our days purpose. You can even undo jumpers to reuse the wool!
Give to charity
So many charities are offering alternative gifts this Christmas. Use your loved one’s passion to help someone else such as gifting clean water with Unicef or pledge to feed a child for a year with various charities.
Francesca from The Money Fox
Use cashback sites if you are going to be buying online, always helps to get some money back on the things you’re going to be buying anyway! I often pool with other family members to get the larger/more expensive gifts for the kids to spread the cost.
Joseph from Thrifty Chap
Meaningful gifts are priceless and can cost a fraction of what you might usually spend. For example - capture a couple of new photographs of the kids and pop them in a cheap frame and you've got the perfect gift for grandparents.
For friends and extended family members, don't be afraid to give gifts of time or arrange a coffee date with a friend rather than exchanging toiletry gift sets that no one wants.
Jenny from Mummy Saver Money Maker
Keep a close eye on the websites that report notable upcoming offers. Sign up to newsletters, Facebook pages and any other outlet that lets you know when the bargains begin!
This lets you get the most out of your Christmas budget. For example, Boots usually run a Christmas gift 3 for 2 offer, but then predicted dates of their "star gifts" offers are often leaked.
This prevents you paying a higher price for something that will only be discounted a week or two later.
Jane from Shoestring Cottage
Save one with groups of friends, colleagues and family by doing Secret Santa instead of buying loads of individual gifts. It takes the financial stress out of the festive season and saves money too.