WITH just eight weeks until Christmas, the build-up will soon begin.But because the cost-of-living crisis is squeezing household budgets, it is going to be harder than ever to prepare for the big day.
6Natalie Ahmed uses money saved from cashback sites to save for ChristmasCredit: Paul Tonge
The typical household usually spends around £2,500 over the festive season, according to figures from the Bank of England.
For many families this year, budgets simply will not stretch that far.
To help you still have a great time, Lucy Alderson has put together these tips for cutting costs – but not the festive fun . . .
BEFORE you hit the shops, it pays to do some research.
But don’t rely on just one retailer or comparison website, shop around.
The best tools are Google Shopping, Pricesearcher, Pricespy, below, and Idealo.
Shops are constantly changing prices, so the above might not have the most up-to-date information but they are a great place to start.
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You can also set up alerts to tell you when sold-out toys are back in stock.
Charlotte Jessop, who runs finance blog Looking After Your Pennies, says shop-pers can save up to £50 using these tools.
But she advises: “If you are unfamiliar with them, it is still sensible to do your research on an online store before making a purchase.”
Use cashback sites
6Use cashback sites throughout the year to save money for ChristmasCredit:
EARN free money on your Christmas shopping with cashback sites.
TopCashback and Quidco are two of the most popular sites, and they offer free basic versions.
How much you get depends on the particular offer.
For example, you can get up to 11 per cent cashback on George at Asda ranges, or up to six per cent from New Look, based on a minimum spend.
Always check cashback sites for a deal before making a purchase.
Make sure to read the T&Cs for each deal – sometimes customers need to upload their receipt.
Naomi Willis, who co-runs the Skint Dad website, said: “The average shopper can make back around £280 a year.”
Find discount codes
MAKE sure you’ve looked for a discount code online before you purchase anything.
Hotukdeals and VoucherCodes are sites customers can use to hunt for offers, while Honey and Pouch are browser extensions that automatically list discounts shoppers can apply to their purchases at the online checkout. They are usually free to download.
Sign up to retailers’ newsletters too, as they often contain freebies and discounts.
And you can get even more cash off by doubling up on offers, says Hotukdeals’ Vix Leyton.
She explains: “If you find more than one code for a retailer, see if they stack.
“You could also find that as well as money off you can get free delivery by adding an extra item which would cost less than the shipping.”
Spend loyalty points
6Use your loyalty points which have been building up all yearCredit:
IF you’ve been saving your loyalty points all year, now is the time to cash them in to buy presents.
The most popular loyalty cards are Nectar, Tesco’s Clubcard and, below, the Boots Ad …