The Sun newspaper did a report the other day on a lady who managed to buy £1300 worth of Christmas gifts for just £500 by being thrifty with offers, coupons and looking in charity shops. This is something I have been doing for the last couple of years, not just for Christmas but for birthdays too.
I start my Christmas shopping in the January sales and put things away throughout the year to keep costs as low as possible while still getting the kids (and family members) a great selection of gifts. In fact for Christmas 2015 I spent a total of £660.74 on gifts that had a whopping total RRP of £1606.89 meaning I saved £965.14!!!!!!
So how do I keep track of what I’ve bought? Well the answer is simple. I have a spreadsheet which has everybody’s names on it. I list what I’ve bought them, where I got it from, the RRP, how much I paid and then a formula works out how much I saved. I love seeing the savings add up and find it quite exciting when I get a good bargain (sad I know!). I also tend to buy the kids gifts from the grandparents and great-grandparents as well as they know I’ll always find them a good deal.
Now I know what your next question is going to be. How do I find all these deals? I have a few tools to help me out with this. The first one is download the Hot UK Deals app onto your phone. Set up some key words for items you are particularly interested in. You will then get a notification when a deal is added that contains your key words.
Secondly, if you are looking for something on Amazon then set up a price tracker using http://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/ . You select the item you want to buy and type in the ideal price you want to pay for it. This website then tracks the price and when it reaches your target price it emails you to notify you.
Thirdly, I follow the Christmas bargains thread on a website called http://www.netmums.com/ (big shout out to all my Netmums readers!!) where lots of other mummies share the fab deals they have found.
Of course always keep an eye out in charity shops and local selling pages too for things that may be brand new or in ‘as new’ condition. For Cody this year I managed to get a Spiderman bike and helmet from a local selling page. It had only been ridden once and cost me £15 (and in fact it doesn’t look like it has been ridden at all!). It originally cost £100 from Toys R Us!
So this year my shopping is very nearly finished and I have so far saved a grand total of £680!! Some of my best buys include:
Talking Iggle Piggle and Makka Pakka – should have been £19.99 each, I paid £4.50 each in Tesco’s sale.
Stig Tshirt – should have been £11.99, I paid £3.60 from the BBC online shop sale.
Me To You Christmas bear and photo frame – should have been £15 and £9.99 each, I paid £2.99 and £1.99 respectively from Home Bargains.
Paw Patrol Puppy Training Centre – should have been £29.99, I paid £14.99 from the Entertainer in a flash sale
Storm Trooper and Kylo Ren sound effect fancy dress outfits – should have been £16 each but got them reduced to £6.40 in Sainsburys
Small Minion soft toy – RRP £4.99, I paid 20p brand new in a charity shop!
Loopin Chewie game – originally £29.99(!), reduced to £4.99 in Argos
Inside out ‘Disgust’ talking soft toy – RRP £16.99, I paid £3.99 in Home Bargains
So the deals are certainly there, it’s just a matter of finding them. My best bit of advice is plan ahead. If I see something at a really good price I will often pick it up even if I’m not sure who to give it to. The kids are forever being invited to friend’s birthday parties so I have a ‘spare pressie’ box to stash things away in.
In the January sales its a great time to stock up on gift wrap, tags, bows, ribbons, gift bags, crackers and even clothes. I often buy the next size up for the kids – Next Boxing Day sale is my fave! Also any gifts you see that are a good price. Just don’t forget to note down what you’ve got! If you’re really sad like me you could set up your own spreadsheet to track your savings too. Trust me it does become addictive once you start seeing it add up! See how much you can save by next Christmas!!!