With Christmas fast approaching, thoughts invariably turn to searching out presents for family and friends. It’s the time of year that has many people in a frenzy. The busy crowds, cold, rainy weather, not to mention office parties to attend. Even after a short while, all this can become overwhelming.
Thankfully, we’ve got some expert tips to keep you stress-free and help you get the best deals this Christmas.
The simplest way to become a savvy Christmas shopper is to get organised well before the big festive rush. November is the most popular time for early shoppers, but great deals can be snapped up throughout the year. In fact, some people are constantly in search of bargains all year long. Planning ahead means you’ll have more time to search for the best deals, and come December, there will be more time to spend on activities you enjoy.
If you’re feeling brave, leaving your Christmas shopping until the last minute can result in some amazing bargains, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find all your intended gifts. Many of the large department stores and supermarkets run sales a few days before Christmas, but they are often incredibly busy. However, for some last-minute stocking fillers, this could be just the ticket.
Research suggests the vast majority of Christmas shopping is now done online. While the high-street still performs well over the festive period, the Internet is the most convenient and savvy way to shop. Shopping via the Web is a great way to get the best prices, since you can take advantage of the many discount vouchers available online. Comparing prices from store to store is also a breeze. Given the instant accessibility of sites, you can shop around within a few mouse clicks. And you’ll stay away from the cold wind and rain this winter!
Nearly every large online store accepts voucher codes and it is worth browsing for the latest deals using specialist voucher sites. Locating codes is easy and can be done by a simple search on Google or any other search engine. Although be aware that vouchers expire quickly and you may discover a lot of outdated codes. Having said that, plenty of valid codes are available online and can net you all kinds of money-off, from free delivery to 5% off your total order. In some cases you can claim an even bigger discount.
Deal and group-buy sites
Group-buying and daily deal sites are still very popular places to find discounted Christmas gifts. Not only can you find money-off for gifts, sites like Groupon also provide deals on restaurants, sport and leisure activities, entertainment, and beauty services. Better still, most daily deal sites group offers by location, so you can find bargains in your local catchment area. However, offers are often short-lived, so it pays to be quick if something takes your fancy. Don’t hang around: once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Want to earn money back on your shopping? Cashback sites are still going strong and can be a great way to save, especially if you conduct most of your shopping via the Web. Popular cashback providers like Quidco and Top Cashback let you order goods from 1000s of popular online stores and claim money back. All that is required is a quick registration and you could save hundreds of pounds over the year, depending how often you shop. The process works by partnership: the customer (you), the retailer, and the cashback provider. Each party benefits from the sale, making it a win-win situation.
Bargain shops and markets
A favourite of many a Christmas shopper, Christmas markets and discount shops are fantastic places to find unique present ideas, not to mention soak up all the festive atmosphere. This is especially the case with markets, which often provide music, food and festive-themed drinks. Bargain pop-up shops are also highly popular around the festive period, with quirky gift ideas for all your friends and family.
Store gift cards
If you are struggling to find the perfect present for somebody, a store gift card is a popular compromise. While not the most imaginative gift in the world, it does allow the recipient to select an item for themselves. But it does have some disadvantages, namely: you have be aware where the person shops, and secondly, your friend or family member may just prefer money to spend as they wish. Despite this, store gift cards are widely used, and if you are aware of someone who shops in a particular store, it’s a great way to save time when searching for other gifts.
It’s the thought that counts!
Remember: you don’t always have to spend over the odds for a gift. Like the old saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts”, and if you invest some time looking for that perfect gift, regardless how much it costs, it will no doubt be appreciated.