Spend less but ensure good value?
Toys: make the most of the current toy sales, as listed by consumer group Which? It says Amazon’s special offers section includes VTech gadgets, board games and £20 off a Hasbro FurReal puppy. Argos has 120 items at 50 per cent off, including a Peppa Pig cuddly toy for £14.99, a Star Wars figure set for £25 and £8.49 for a Crayola princess colouring set.
The Early Learning Centre’s website has a ‘three for two’ offer on all its toys, as does Mothercare, where included brands are Fisher-Price, Graco, Tomy and Playmobil. And at Toys R Us, toys included in a buy three, pay for two deal include National Geographic, Tomy, Play-Doh and Sylvanian Families.
Gifts: make your own food hampers by buying your own box or basket (Hobby Craft sells cheap ones) and then filling it up with the recipient’s favourite foods - especially those on offer.
If you’ve built up Tesco Clubcard points during the year, use them for gifts: its current Voucher Exchange event means you can double the value of vouchers when buying clothes, pyjamas, kidswear, underwear, jewellery and other accessories. So every £5 turns into £10 of vouchers to spend in Tesco. You’ll need to exchange them (either online or at a shop) by 1 December, and spend them by 6 December.
Before paying for anything, make sure you’ve got the cheapest deal: compare prices online via a site like kelkoo.co.uk or a price comparison app on your phone. Track down extra discounts via voucher codes - many are listed at vouchercodes.co.uk - and via cashback websites like Quidco. And be shameless about bartering: retailers know this Christmas will be tough, and many will cut prices, or chuck in gift wrap or other extras, to secure your business.
Food and booze: shop with a friend to make the most of the 'Buy one get one free' deals in supermarkets: if you must buy that vault of Quality Streets, at least you can avoid paying full price. It’s worth comparing the price of your big, pre-Christmas shop online: fill your virtual trolley at grocery comparison site mysupermarket.co.uk to work out how much you’d spend at Ocada, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda. For booze, start regularly checking out fixtureferrets.co.uk and quaffersoffers.co.uk now: they list the best deals on bottles, so you can stock up in advance.