Ahead of Black Friday and the festive season, the hunt for bargains is well and truly on.
Making your money go as far as possible is always the aim, but this often can prove to be difficult.
Bargain hunters have shared their tips on how they make their money go further for the festive season, with advice on homemade hampers, how to get cheap toys and stocking filler bargains.
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: “As Christmas Day draws closer, plenty of brands across the UK are taking the opportunity to slash prices and offer some great deals.
“However, if you’re on a budget, it can sometimes be difficult to think outside the box and make your money stretch.
“Fortunately, our money-saving community has come up with some top tips for sorting fantastic gifts that don’t break the bank – as well as some hacks for getting the best discounts.”
Check out second hand shops – get £30 Lego for £3
There are some gems to be found in charity shops if you know where to look.
Carl Taylor said: “If you pop into charity shops regularly when they have just opened up you’ll find great bargains, many items still new, tagged or sealed.
He says it’s “all about being in the right shop at the right time.”
Yvonne Armitage shared her recent bargain: “Charity shops have lots of nice new gifts at the moment. I’ve recently bought a brand new, sealed Lego set that’s currently £30+ on Amazon and I paid £3.”
Breanne Huxtable is a fan of eBay, saying: “It depends what people want. I tend to be good at shopping and getting a bargain.
“Back when my son was younger he wanted a turtle playset worth £180 and I found it on eBay for £50 boxed and brand new.”
When her daughter wanted a £200 twin pram two years ago, she picked it up for £60 off eBay.
She added: “Last year she wanted a £180 Barbie house and I got it for £90 on eBay.”
Make your own hampers – create gifts for under £5
Gifts become more meaningful if you’ve put the time into creating something special, like a hamper.
Nicola Weeks advised: “When I’m on a tight budget I usually make a lot myself then do hampers for most of the family.”
Philippa Finch agreed: “I buy sweets, snacks and pop from a wholesaler and make hampers up, which also helps their budget.
“I give them out on Christmas Eve and they love seeing what’s inside.”
Jemma Smith likes to get creative: “I make survival bags and put different things in them. Like a teabag with a note saying we can make time for a cuppa, a chocolate heart with a note saying ‘you’re always in my heart’ etc. So cheap and everybody loved it.”
Sam Green follows a theme, saying: “I usually do toiletry hampers. Lots of people on my list appreciate those.
“I include deodorants, shampoo, hair spray, body wash, bubble bath etc. Then I get a box and wrap it in cellophane, adding a bow at the end.
“It’s simple but they look nice and people will use the items everyday.”
Tom Church said: “Hampers are a great way to keep costs down while also adding a personal touch to your gifts. If you do a toiletries one like Sam, you can buy four or five decently sized items for under £1 each and put a great gift together for less than £5.”
Find high street deals – grab £99 makeup for £10
Shopping smartly can ensure you reap the rewards.
Samantha Jane commented: “If you’re getting gifts for kids, go to The Works. They have loads of two for £10 toys.”
Meanwhile, Nicole Blower shopped for bargains at Boots.
“Try the £10 Tuesday offers. It can be hit or miss depending what you’re looking for but I have managed to get some great presents in it this year so far including perfume, premium beauty makeup and aftershave,” she said.
“They also sometimes do Yankee Candle sets.”
Chloe-Anna Johnson recently got lucky using this offer, and picked up makeup worth £99 for £10.
Similarly, Sheila Brown recommended Superdrug.
“There were some great deals in there, I got some Minnie Mouse bath goodies for all of my granddaughters reduced from £20 to £10 each.”
Hunt down online deals – save £30 or more with Black Friday
“This is the perfect time of year to stock up on Christmas bargains, as Black Friday season is upon us,” Tom Church said.
“With our money-saving Black Friday app, you can find all of the best deals from every UK store in one place, saving you the hassle of trawling through endless web pages.”
Hayley Fitzjohn is also a fan of the annual event: “Amazon Black Friday is really good. I saved £30 on my youngest son’s main present.”
Dean Quinn had a handy trick for those browsing Black Friday deals on Amazon: “Get a month’s free trial for Amazon Prime and you’re sorted.”
There are plenty of other ways to find good deals online, though.
Nikki Jowsey advised: “Search for ‘Christmas gifts’ in Google, click onto the Shopping results and you can filter results to those under £10.”
Turn it into a game – bag £1 stocking filler bargains
Buying presents doesn’t have to be a source of stress – or a strain on the bank balance. Instead, it can become a fun game for the whole family.
Emma Richardson shared her tradition: “Me and my brother used to do a £1 challenge where we could only spend £1 maximum.
“I’ve found brand new board games, video games, old DVDs that were favourites of ours as kids.
“I even once went round Boots, department stores, perfume shops etc and asked for free samples, then bought a £1 gift bag to put them all in.
“It was all a bit of fun and something to open on Christmas Day while the kids are having fun.”
Wendy James does something similar: “We do each other a stocking, and in it we have five items in total. They cost no more than £1 each.”
Some save on gifts by organising a Secret Santa.
Pam Burman said: “We have nine adults to buy for in our family, and for the last three years we’ve done Secret Santa.
“We use the Elfster app and the app picks your Secret Santa recipient.
“We set the budget to £30 and it means we each buy just one gift at £30 instead of nine gifts.”
Similarly, Sylvia Tito said: “There are seven adults in my family and we have decided to end the stress of buying multiple gifts and the waste caused by packaging and wrapping.
“This year the £10 per person which would have been spent on useless gifts is now a single Secret Santa gift for one person.
“We each provide a wish list of three desired items to the value of £60. Each person draws one name and is responsible for purchasing one gift from their list.
“Stress free, cheaper, avoids useless, unwanted gifts, greatly reduces the amount of wrapping paper, and is time efficient.’
Use your loyalty cards – save more than £40 with half-price gifts
Many shoppers save up their loyalty card points to cash in during the Christmas season.
Lindsey Millward said: “All my points pay for my big Christmas shop, including all the alcohol, gift sets and chocolate stuff. It saves me a fortune.”
Cheryl Jones added: “I save points for Christmas, it’s even better if you have Tesco Mobile and use their fuel. It soon adds up and you should have about £100 by Christmas.”
Janet Toon uses this trick in Sainsburys: “I use Nectar points at Christmas, I do the double-up and buy the Christmas wine.
“For £50 of Nectar points you get £100 worth of wine from Sainsbury’s premium range.”
Having a loyalty card also unlocks offers closer to the time.
Lyn Knight shared her money-saving trick: “If you’ve got a Tesco Clubcard they have loads of gifts at half price.
“I got mine reduced from £92 to £46 – great savings.”
Nikki Jowsey had a similar idea: “Boots are doing three-for-two gifts up to £15 each, they work out at 3 for £30 – plus you collect Advantage Card points.”
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