Christmas may seem a long way off, but if you begin preparing now, you could enjoy a stress-free December and save yourself a small fortune. Here are some tips to get you started.

Gift-giving – don’t compete, co-operate!

It’s all-too-easy to get carried away with Christmas shopping, and spending can quickly spiral out of control. So why not get together with family and friends to agree some sensible price limits? And don’t worry about sounding stingy – you’ll find most people are only too happy to cap their costs.

 

Once you have a clear budget to work with, take the time to think about what each person on your list would really like. Then instead of giving a gimmicky gadget destined for the bottom of a draw, choose a gift they’ll really appreciate.

It could be some little luxury they’d absolutely love, but would never dream of buying themselves. Or it could be something practical they’ll use every day. Whatever you buy, take extra care with the wrapping, and maybe add a personal note to the tag. Because it’s the little things that make Christmas special.

Be a savvy shopper

There’s really no way to avoid extra expense at Christmas, but by shopping smarter, you can trim a little off the overall cost. One way is to register with a cashback website, where you can earn between 2% and 10% of the price of your online purchases. Here’s how it works …

You’re on a retailer’s website and you’re ready to “buy now”. Stop! Go to the cashback website you registered with, and sign in to your account. Now search for the retailer you’re about to buy from, click through to their site from here, then complete your purchase. The cashback website gets paid by the retailer for “sending” you to their site. And they share a slice of that fee with you.

Sure, it might take an extra minute or two, but if you get into the cashback habit, the earnings can really add up. But remember, before you buy, make sure the item isn’t available cheaper elsewhere. Because cashback isn’t a smart solution if you’re paying too much in the first place.

A Christmas bargain break

If your ideal Christmas doesn’t involve being held captive in the kitchen, why not treat yourself to a frugal festive break? Many hotels rely mainly on business guests, so you’ll find plenty offering bargain breaks over the Christmas period. Which means you could get away for less than you thought.

Just imagine…  no cooking … no washing up… no smoothing over family feuds. Bliss! And the cash you save on Christmas entertaining might even cover your hotel bill.

To find the best deals, check out the major online booking websites, where you can search by town, city or region. Then you can choose a seasonal city break, a quiet country retreat, or even Christmas beside by the seaside!

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