There’s no escaping it. The minute September hits, we’re constantly reminded in the stores, on social media and in the news that Christmas is just around the corner.

It can be overwhelming preparing for Christmas- it’s certainly no cheap occasion. From buying gifts to ensuring the feast for the season is astounding, we share our tips to help make Christmas affordable, and memorable!

  1. Map out your Christmas budget

Before you start anything, work out who you want/need to buy for and how much you’d like to spend on each person. Determine your overall Christmas budget and set up a saving scheme to help make it more manageable- you could transfer your Christmas allowance into a separate bank account or a piggy bank in the home.

Each month, between now and Christmas, use your monthly budget to get gifts for those on your list. Ensure you keep track of what you’ve bought and for who – keeping receipts, a journal or better yet a spreadsheet (we’ve shared a basic one below for you to use!) will help you to manage the budget and ensure you’ve got something for everyone.

  1. Christmas cashback

Make some money back on what you spend on Christmas via cashback sites! If you’re doing your Christmas shopping online, it is worth spending a few seconds more checking out cashback sites to see if you can earn a percentage of shopping basket back.

To make things even easier for you, TopCashback have a notifier you can download which will alert you if sites you visit offer cashback. I often forget to check for cashback but with this function, you won’t ever forget!

The best, and free, cashback sites are Topcashback and Quidco!

  1. Christmas sales

In recent years we’ve adopted the US Black Friday sales tactic. Hundreds of retailers are offering huge discounts across a wide range of products on the day that follows the American Thanksgiving holiday. This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 29th of November.

Black Friday primarily focuses on retailer discounts. For high end items like TVs, laptops, appliances etc., you can expect big queues and a bustling high street. It’s not to say you won’t find deals online but if you really can’t face the crowd, Cyber Monday (which falls on 2nd of December), is when you should (we need to caveat that) find the best online deals.

You may also find that high street retailers will once again start their Christmas sales early. Because of a decline in footfall and spend in the high street in recent years, retailers are motivated to slash their prices a little earlier than Boxing Day to ensure they meet their sales quotas. So, keep your eyes peeled for these. If you receive newsletters from your favourite retailers and department stores, you’ll be alerted to sales first.

When it comes to Toy Sales, Sainsburys have been known to offer some great deals and this year is expected to be just as good or better than previous years. The suspected date of the toy sale will start on Wednesday 16th of October and run until Tuesday 22nd of October- definitely one to mark on the calendar (oh, and be sure to get there early!). Want to get ahead of the curve? ASDA have launched a sale of their own this year and it’s already live! They’ve over 150 items on sale currently and includes Lego, Sylvanian Families and Disney.

  1. Coupons, discounts, deals and loyalty schemes to help save you money

If you know what you’re looking for, sign up to Hotdeals and set an alert to find the best price for the items you’re after. Simply search for the item and then you’ll see an option to ‘set an alert’. When deals come up on your item, you’ll get a notification. They also list new discount codes daily so if you find your item elsewhere, it may be worth seeing if you can get a little money off or free delivery.

I’m a big, big fan of the Boots 3 for 2 mix and match event. You can always find great gifts, stocking fillers and secret Santa gifts here- there is something for everyone. If you’re a Boots advantage card holder, take advantage of the ‘Points Event’ – you can get £10 of points for every £50 spent. You could use this to get another Christmas gift or you can even treat yourself!

Looking for a discount code or coupon? In addition to Hotdeals, we’d recommend taking a look at Vouchercodes– we’ve had the most success with this one.

For great prices, we’d recommend (as we’re sure many of you know) that Home Bargains and B&Ms offer some great savings across food, household, toys and games. If you’re looking to save a few pennies, we’d definitely recommend stopping by your local store (and you can even shop online at Home Bargains!).

  1. The Christmas feasts

Christmas dinner

Want to find the best deals when it comes to your food shop this Christmas? We know that the shopping cart can cost 2-3 times what it usually does so every penny saved is helpful. Did you know that you can compare the cost of items across 14 different supermarkets? With mySupermarket, you can! You can swap to save, compare prices, checkout directly etc. – it can take a bit of fiddling initially to ways in which to get the best deals but when you consider what you’re saving it could well be worth it.

Look out for deals

Lots of supermarkets want to secure your business over the Christmas period. If you’ve never really done a food shop online, this is where you can make the most savings. Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado are just three of the major supermarkets that offer big discounts and free delivery schemes on the lead up to Christmas. We’ve often seen, with Waitorse and Ocado especially, £20-£30 off your first few shops and free delivery too– to look out for these, check out Hotdeals and Vouchercodes (see above).

  1. DIY, upcycle, re-use!

Mince pies

A homemade gift can go along way. If you’re a little short on money this year, why not make Christmas cookies, Christmas pudding or a batch of mince pies to give as a gift. Everyone appreciates a homemade touch and they’re sure to enjoy these Christmas treats. Pop them in a Christmas tin (£2-£3 in Home Bargains), and they’

can be re-used for years to come.

If you’re looking to update your Christmas decorations this year, why not upcycle your old ones into wreaths and garlands and give these out as gifts.  You can update your decorations whilst re-purposing and putting to good use your old ones.

If you’re looking for other DIY gifts, from pin boards to bath salts, there’s plenty of inspiration on site!

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