Christmas is many things to many people, but one thing it is for nearly all of us is expensive!
So today I thought I’d share a selection of tips and advice on saving money while still enjoying the festive season and not having to face a mountain of debt in the new year.
1. Declutter for Cash
Chances are you’ll be planning to tidy up anyway before putting the decorations up, so why not take the chance to get rid of any bits and bobs you no longer need but someone else might want? You can then put the money to good use for Christmas. You could sell the items on eBay, your local Facebook sales page, or the new ‘boot sale’ app Shpock. Or you could sell them at a real car boot sale, of course!
2. Buy Discounted Gift Vouchers at Zeek
Zeek is an online marketplace for buying and selling gift vouchers. If you know where you want to do your Christmas shopping, you could buy a discount voucher for that store at Zeek and get up to 25% off. Both physical and electronic vouchers are available. See my blog post about Zeek for details of how you could get an extra £3 off your first voucher purchase by joining Zeek via my link!
3. Make Good Use of Cashback Sites
These pay a proportion of your money back when you click through a link on the cashback site and make an online purchase at the store in question. In the UK the two best known are Quidco and Top Cashback. You can read more about cashback sites in this blog post.
4. Get Free Delivery at Amazon
If you’re planning to do some of your Christmas shopping on Amazon – and let’s face it most of us do nowadays – remember that if your total order value is over £20, delivery is free of charge. If you’re just under the £20 threshold, it can make sense to buy a small item to bring it to the magic £20. Before I joined Amazon Prime (see below) I often bought a pen for this purpose.
If you can’t find a small item for the right price, visit Filler Checker. At this website you can enter whatever price you require to bring your order up to the free delivery threshold. It will then display items you can add to your order to achieve this.
5. Consider Joining Amazon Prime
Okay, this does require an annual fee, but for this you get free next-day delivery of millions of products on Amazon (and same day delivery in some major cities). There is a growing range of additional benefits for Prime members as well, including instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, free borrowing of thousands of e-books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and secure, unlimited photo storage with anywhere access. If you’re a regular Amazon customer – or planning to do a lot of your Christmas shopping there – it’s well worth considering Amazon Prime, especially as you can try it free for 30 days.
6. Make the Most of Black Friday Sales
Black Friday is a US tradition that in recent years has been imported into the UK (though not without some controversy at first). Officially Black Friday is Friday 24 November this year, but in practice many retailers are starting their Black Friday sales earlier than this. Many high street stores are running Black Friday promotions this year, with big discounts available on their websites too. Just beware of being swept up by the hype. Check that the discounts on offer really are worthwhile and not just reductions of prices that were artificially inflated before.
7. Consider Part-Time or Short-Term Work
Okay, this won’t appeal to everyone, but there are all sorts of seasonal opportunities on offer right now with companies from Amazon to the Post Office. Many stores also take on temporary staff for the Christmas season. Take a look also at my recent blog post about Viewber, a company that needs people with a bit of time available in the day to show prospective purchasers around houses. You can earn from £20 a viewing for this, plus expenses.
8. Abandon Your Shopping Cart!
When shopping online go as far as the checkout page and then close it. The stores will see this and many will send you a discount voucher or other incentive to try to persuade you to complete your purchase.
9. Use Live Chat to Haggle
This can be another effective tactic for getting money off when online shopping. Don’t go straight in with a request for a discount, but ask a few questions first. You’re unlikely to get a massive discount this way, but you may be offered 10-20% off, or a free bonus.
10. Check for Discount Codes
If you know where you want to shop, it’s always worth checking whether any discount codes are available for the store in question. Voucher Codes UK is a great place to start. When I checked just now, some of the top offers included 40% off online orders at The Body Shop and 25% off all orders at Habitat.
11. Use This Free Service to Get Price Drop Alert Emails
A website called Love Sales lets you add items from hundreds of online retailers to your ‘wish list’ and name the price you’re willing to pay, or ask for an alert when the price drops.
You first have to register on the site. Then when you’re browsing a particular item from one retailer, add it to your list. After that, the wait is on for the price to fall and the email to arrive in your inbox.
12. Check out this Christmas Deals Predictor
Finally, you can be ahead of the game with the annual Christmas Deals Predictor on Martin Lewis’s Moneysaving Expert website. Based on previous years (and any other info they may have), this tool predicts the likelihood of certain offers being made in the run-up to Christmas.
At the time of writing they are predicting a £20 discount on Amazon Prime membership (see above) next week. So if you are thinking of buying this, it may be worth waiting a day or two to see if it happens as forecast.
I hope that by following these tips you will have a very happy Christmas and a debt-free new year!
If you have any comments, questions or additional suggestions for saving money at this time, please do post them below.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post in association with Creditfix. Click here for information about Individual Voluntary Arrangements for people in debt.