Hopefully you’ve been diligently squirrelling money away for Christmas, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve only just realised that the Christmas season is nearly upon us. The stores have already started to trim-up and the dark nights are really drawing in. The worst thing we can do is panic or to bury our heads in the sand. Christmas is inevitable and we should plan to tackle it head on.
In order to enjoy the festive period without the burden of financial pressure, we’re simply going to have to budget, Budget, BUDGET! Think of ‘saving money’ and ‘getting the best deals’ as a little fun competition between you and the world and you might even enjoy the process.
Let’s start by ascertaining how much cash you’ve got spare to spend over Christmas. Either login online to your bank account statements or ask your bank to print your last 3 months statements for you. Armed with a statement you’re more likely to calculate an accurate account of all your outgoings. Start with your monthly income and take away all regular monthly outgoings. Your monthly Christmas budget is going to be anything that you have left in your account after paying all your monthly bills and commitments.
Now you have calculated your Christmas budget (how much you can afford to spend each month) it’s time to make a list of your Christmas expenditures i.e, presents you need to buy along with a list of the usual festive extras; Christmas cards, gift wrap, decorations, crackers, turkey, trimmings, booze etc.
Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t meet your expenditure. Follow the tips below to stretch your money a further…
Offer of the week
During the lead up to Christmas, many retailers will advertise an ‘Offer of the Week’ in the National Press. If you are wondering how the retailer can afford to slash prices so keenly it’s all to do with advertising driving volume of sales which increases in-store foot fall or website visits. For these offers, the retailer would have negotiated a one week special price with the manufacturer. If you’re searching for a great deal then maybe it’s worth the price of a newspaper subscription or picking up copies of any free press. Every year for the past number of years there have been half price offers on the following products, so if you’re looking for anything in the list, maybe it’s worth waiting…
- Argos – Spend £50 get £5 Argos Voucher /Spend £100 get a £10 Argos Voucher
- Oral-B Electric Tooth Brushes. Many retailers are historically half price throughout Christmas
- Philips Hue Lamps – Do a regular price comparison online
- No7 Skincare Gift Sets – better than half price
- Christmas ‘Star Gift’ Sets at Boots from large toiletries brands like Sanctuary, No7, Ted Baker, Champneys, Soap & Glory, Jack Wills etc. These generally sell out quick so check the website regularly
- Amazon Prime Half Price Annual Memberships
- Philips Iron – Usually a half price model – technically not a Christmas gift but if you need a new iron, you need a new iron and it’s usually a great model
3 for 2 Mix & Match (three for two deals explained)
This might seem obvious but so many people get this type of deal wrong – especially when we have so much on our minds over the Christmas period. 3 for 2 Christmas deals are generally only on stocking filler type items, Christmas decorations, cards, gift wrap and tags. Pick up three products but only pay for two. If you haven’t budgeted on getting your loved ones any stocking filler items then give this section a wide birth. The 3 for 2 sections in stores are usually full of great eye catching packaging but the products taken out of the packaging are usually quite unimpressive. Also, if you don’t want to buy 3 gifts then you shouldn’t be shopping this section. Individually priced items will not be cost effective.
Many retailers offer a 3 for 2 on a large range of Christmas gifts. The most important thing to remember before going to the till is to check that you have selected in denominations of three:
- 3 products – only pay for 2
- 6 products – only pay for 4
- 9 products – only pay for 6
Online Price Comparison Sites
Set a reminder to do a price comparison search at regular intervals over Christmas. Have your Christmas present list at hand or store it on your phone for easy recall. Jot down the best price you find for each item along with the retailers name/email address. Check back at least once per week to get a true sense of the best prices available. RRPs (Recommended Retail Prices) are generally a full price that the manufacturers set as guidance for retailers. Almost all products can be purchased for far less than their original RRP so alarm bells just ring if you find yourself purchasing at full RRP.
Retailers negotiate special offers with the manufactures so offers are not in conflict or running at the same time as competitor retailers. So if you miss a deal, hold your nerve and you might find a different retailer gets the same deal at a different time frame.
Bookmark Shops and Brands
If some of the presents on your gift list are brand specific then it’s a good idea to bookmark their website to follow their Christmas activity. You never know, they may do a special offer on the very product on your list. If it’s a good deal, be ready to snap it up as these sorts of offers are often limited.
Each Christmas retailers are attempting to beat last year’s performance and they monitor their performance extremely closely. Underperforming retailers can offer some killer deals on the final two weeks before Christmas to increase their performance. If you can hold your nerve and have enough spare time to carry out some last minute shopping then it’s certainly a great time to shop. Sharpen those elbows and remember to keep it fun. Think of all the money you’ll be saving.
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Cheap Night Out
Shopping on a Budget
Blog disclaimer – please read below:
The content in this blog article to readers (the ‘users’) has been issued by Stagemount Limited. It has been prepared solely for informational and interest purposes and to illustrate the types of offers available leading up to Christmas. The contents have been obtained from sources generally believed to be reliable although no representations are made that it is accurate or complete or that such offers will in fact be available or available at all times. Stagemount accepts no liability with regards to the user’s reliance on any of the information. Such information is a summary of the matters described and does not contain every detail. It is provided for the convenience of the user and may change without notice. Stagemount has no relationship with any of the retailers or brands mentioned.