This weekend I am off into town to start my Christmas gift buying. I like to do this early as it gives me chance to look around for the best offers and ensures that any spending is kept within my budget. Here are the tips I like follow:
Tip 1 - Make a list of who you will be buying for:
Before I go, I make a list of all the people I will be buying gifts for. It is useful to have a note next to each name, especially for children, that gives their age and likes/dislikes, if you can find this out.
Tip 2 - Stuck for ideas:
If I am stuck for ideas, or have a particularly difficult person to buy for - you know the ones who have everything 🙂 - I check Ebay for their daily deals or Amazon where you can get inspiration and excellent offers.
Tip 3 - Check prices online before you go:
Once I have made my list, I like to check the prices online. Again, I always check Ebay, Amazon and other online sites that may be relevant to my planned purchase. Remember to factor in any delivery charges to the 'real' total price.
Tip 4 - Order online early:
If I find that the item is indeed cheaper online (remember to check for any delivery charges) - then I will place the order BUT not before I have followed steps 4, 5 and 6 below! When ordering online, I always make sure that I order EARLY! This ensures three things - the item is available, I can take of advantage of free delivery and, most importantly, that it arrives before the big day!
Tip 5 - Check for discount codes:
Check online for any available discount codes or vouchers that may be available. Sites I like to use are Groupon and VoucherCodes.co.uk .
Tip 6 - Use Quidco or TopCashBack:
For any online purchase, I ALWAYS check Quidco and TopCashBack These are so easy to use. Once you have signed up you have access to lots of cashback opportunities. Please see my post on how to earn cashback with Quidco which shows you how easy it is to earn money on your purchases.
Tip 7 - Take snacks and drinks:
This is a necessity. There is nothing worse that hungry or thirsty kids (or even adults) when you are on a shopping spree. You are then faced with either paying inflated prices or not being able to get a seat as it is so busy.
Tip 8 - Stick to your budget:
The most important tip of all - STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. Do not spend more than you can afford. It is so easy to get carried away but there will be nothing worse than the delivery of the credit card bill long after the excitement of Christmas has passed.
Each year I put a fixed amount away in a savings account. I pay this in monthly and work out the amount I need to save by working out my total budget and dividing this by 12. This means when Christmas comes around, I already have the money ready and don't have to find it out of the last two pay days of the year, or worse, put Christmas on the credit card.
Tip 9 - Don’t forget your cards and wrapping paper:
I always try to buy my cards and wrapping paper in the January sales. These are then packed away with the Christmas decorations so I can find them easily when the time comes. My go to for cards and wrapping paper is The Card Factory, as I find this really good value. However, if you forget to purchase these items you may end up having to buy them from someone that wants to charge you a lot more for the privilege!
Tip 10 - Plan for next Christmas:
'What!', I hear you shout.
You heard right - you can never start planning too early:
- Buy cards, wrapping paper and gifts in the sales.
- Save your budget monthly - see Tip 8 above.
- Keep an eye out for stocking fillers throughout the year.
I hope you have found these tips useful. If you have any to add please pop them in the comments below.