Money-saving expert reveals how to save money on your last-minute Christmas shopping & fill up stockings for free12/17/2020
AS much as we'd all like to be, we're not all super organised Christmas shoppers who finish months in advance.
Luckily, money-saving expert, Tom Church, Consumer Expert and Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, has offered his top tips on how you can still save on your last minute shopping.
This year has been a little tougher than most, with many people budgeting£20-50 per person for Christmas presents, according to a Latest Deals poll.
But that doesn't mean you can't gift your loved ones with amazing buys, with Tom revealing how.
Same goes for festive decorations and delicious food, too – so here's what the money-saving expert has to say.
Make a list and check it twice
“If you’ve set a clear budget, don't get derailed by last-minute impulse buys,” says Tom.
“If you're out shopping on that super busy last weekend before Christmas, take your list with you and don't deviate.
"Shops will be pulling out all the stops to catch your eye and while it’s tempting to grab a few extra stocking fillers, or trade-up your gift idea for something bigger and shiner, those extras can quickly mount up.”
Fill up those stockings for free
“You can get your hands on a fantastic range of freebies that make excellent stocking fillers on the freebie site LatestFreeStuff.co.uk,” says Tom.
“Currently, there are some real gems available, such as a Fenty Skin Toner, personalised storybook for kids, and Dior beauty samples.”
Hunt down speedy delivery services
“Generally speaking, when shopping online you would need to order your presents from UK retailers at least 10 days in advance of Christmas Day to ensure you get your hands on them in time. However, there are some exceptions,” says Tom.
“Amazon Prime customers can get their orders delivered by the next day, at no additional cost."
Tom says it’s worth checking around, as other high-street favourites such as Argos, Next and Marks & Spencer can take orders to the wire.
"But there may be an extra delivery charge, " he says," so do double check dates, fees and availability before you place your order.”
“You don't have to spend a fortune on decorations for your home,” says Tom. “Be inspired by these creative people who have made their own for less.”
Mandy Mowbray, from Bishop's Waltham, made a 7ft-tall Christmas Nutcracker decoration without spending a penny.
She used cardboard tubes, a lick of paint and some leftover craft supplies to make the handsome figurine and with the aim of spreading some Christmas cheer.
Likewise, Sarah Whiteley, from East Yorkshire, “didn’t want to pay a fortune” for the festive door arches she’d seen in the shops for £250 so made her own for £47.
She used a metal arch from Amazon, some wet foam brick blocks as a foundation, and foliage from her own back garden.
“If you’re travelling to see family, it's easy to get stung by transport costs at the last minute,” says Tom.
Compare the best deals on train tickets
“If you’ve missed out on Advance tickets, you may be able to still get a discount with a Railcard by National Rail, which offers a third off selected train fares,” says Tom. “You can buy one online and use it immediately.”
Clamp down on extra car hire costs
“If you need to hire a car to make your journey, consider any added extras that may save you money in the long run,” he says.
For example, you can sometimes opt to pay a slightly higher daily rate to dramatically bring down the excess you’d need to pay in the event of an accident.”
Catch the coach
“National Express coaches are travelling over Christmas, including on Christmas Day and you can save a third on the cost with a National Express Coachcard,” says Tom.
“Before you set off, however, be sure to check your luggage capacity, which is limited to your ticketed allowance.”
If you can’t save yourself a trip to the supermarket, you can still speed it up
“The majority of supermarket food delivery slots are now booked up. If you missed the boat, you can still save some precious time by ordering online to click and collect in store,” says Tom.
Seek out the best money-saving food offers
“If you’re on a strict budget, Tesco has the answer,” says Tom.
The supermarket is offering five different festive vegetable packs for 29p each, and the offer expires on Christmas Eve.
"But you could pick up extras to prep and freeze to use beyond the festive period and cut your food bill into the New Year” Tom adds.
Cook some treats from scratch to crunch down the cost
“Making your own versions of festive favourites, such as mince pies, can work out cheaper than buying them ready-made. Plus, it's fun." Tom says.
You can get some ideas from the Latest Deals community's new Facebook Group Cheap Supermarket Cooking – Bargain Meals and Deals!, wheremembers are sharing their money-saving recipes.
"It’s a great place to pick up a few tips” he says.
Meanwhile, we revealed the easy swaps to save money on your Christmas dinner while still cooking up a feast & why you should raid the freezer aisle.
Plus the supermarket secrets YOU need to know to save money and time – and why you should always weigh your veg.
And money-saving tips to help you save a fortune online this Christmas – including how to avoid costly delivery fees.
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