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10 ways to save this Christmas

Christmas shopping is not everyone's idea of fun. It can be time-consuming, stressful and very expensive. Use our top 10 Christmas savings tips to avoid blowing your budget.

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1. If possible, avoid vouchers

The high street is going through some challenging times with even strong brands like Thomas Cook going under. Buying gift vouchers for Christmas might seem a safe option if you're not sure what present to buy, but they can be risky. If a retailer goes bust, they will often stop accepting gift vouchers and it will be more difficult to get your money back.

It might be safer to get a prepaid gift card if you want a loved one to be able to choose their own Christmas present this year.

2. Check your insurance policy

Christmas is a great time to let burglars know you have something worth stealing. Some of the most expensive Christmas shopping we do this year might be on phones, tablets or other gadgets, so you will need to keep your presents safe. Keep your gifts in a secure place and set any intruder alarm systems when you are away from home.

Theft might seem unlikely but if the worst does happen, save yourself the cost of a replacement. If you're spending money on expensive gifts or gadgets this year, make sure your home contents insurance can cover it.

3. Play present roulette

If you're looking to make savings this Christmas, it might be a good idea to take the office Secret Santa idea outside the office. If you have a big family and lots of friends, you can end up spending loads on Christmas shopping.

It's one thing to buy gifts that people want or need, but if everyone agrees, you can avoid splashing out on unwanted presents. Put names into a hat and have everyone pick out one person to buy for. Ask people to write down their top 3 preferred gifts and you're already on your way to a quicker and cheaper Christmas shop.

4. Check if you can get discounts with your account

You don't always have to pay full price for your Christmas gifts. Some current accounts will offer discounts or cashback when you spend at specific shops. If you have a packaged current account, check which shops you can benefit from.

You may also get discounts or offers with the type of credit card you have. Priceless Cities is a program exclusively for Mastercard holders offering unique offers and experiences. Check what's available in your city and you could find the perfect present to share with someone else.

5. Pay with a credit card.

If you already have a credit card and can afford to pay it off each month, you may want to use it for your Christmas shopping. This is because of the Section 75 regulation which protects all your purchases costing from £100 up to £30,000.

If there is an issue with the gifts you buy and you are not able to claim money back from the retailer, you can use Section 75. Here is how it works. Using a credit card can save you the hassle of having to replace a present later.

6. Check before you travel

Ticket prices, journey times and crowds will always increase during the Christmas period. If you know in advance that you have to use public transport to get somewhere in time for Christmas Day, it's worth booking your ticket early.

This goes for trains and planes. You can also save costs if you travel very early in the morning or very late at night. If you absolutely have to travel on Christmas Eve, prepare for the crowds by taking your own snacks and drinks. This will help you avoid the higher prices charged in train carriages or plane cabins.

7. Get everyone to make a list

Typically, only children make lists for their Christmas gifts but it might be a good idea if others did it too. Once you know what people want for Christmas, you can plan ahead. Take advantage of pre-season events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This will often save you time trying to work out what gifts to buy. You can look online to find the best deals and avoid the Christmas rush by getting them delivered. It will also stop you overspending to overcompensate for a last-minute present!

8. Dedicate a day for your Christmas shop.

One of the reasons we overspend on Christmas shopping is because we leave it until the last minute. If you can, find a time when you can set aside a whole day to get all the gifts you need.

Start early and plan to get to the shops when they open. On Sundays, some shops will open half an hour earlier for "browsing time". Under the Sunday Trading Act You won't be able to purchase anything until official opening hours. But starting early means you should be able to find what you need without fighting through the crowds.

9. Sign up for email lists for shop discounts.

If you plan in advance, you can avoid getting sucked in by overdressed shop windows this Christmas. During this time, it's easy to get tempted by seemingly unmissable offers. But you will benefit by being more intentional with your spending.

Most shops will send regular discount codes to customers by email. Sign up to emails from the shops where you will spend the most money in the weeks leading up to Christmas. You will get notifications for discounts, free delivery and in-store promotions. All of which could potentially save you money on your Christmas shopping.

10. Is time to switch?

Changing your current account is easier than you think. With the Current Account Switch Service, you can move over to a new account in seven working days. This is a free of charge service which also switches your direct debits, standing orders and income.

Most banks will offer an initiative for you to switch. You could get a lump sum of money, account benefits like insurance or rewards like free cinema tickets. These can help you save money on your spending this Christmas.

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards