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Christmas best savings for a Christmas spent well

Written by Salman Haqqi, Senior Personal Finance Writer

29 July 2020

To fully enjoy Christmas you need to make sure that you make it ‘a Christmas well spent’. The strategic shopper will take advantage of reduced cost items available from retailers everywhere well in advance of the big day.

Graphic of 12 saves of Christmas

Christmas shopping in July you ask? 

Yes! While shopping for Christmas so early might feel a little strange to the uninitiated, it really could shave hundreds of pounds from the total cost of your Christmas wish-list. 

So, don’t wait until November or December to start your Christmas shopping. That’s when you’ll pay top whack for your Christmas gifts. Get it done early and you’ll be quids in. 

Savvy shoppers will take advantage of the numerous primetime bargain dates between now and the festive season to stock up on gifts, at reduced prices, to give the family and loved ones this Christmas. 

Just follow our money.co.uk guide to getting the most out of your Christmas budget early – and you’re more likely to be Christmas king than Christmas turkey once December 25th rolls around. 

Brits managed to save £2,879 per household on average during lockdown this year with a raft of new saving habits – and you could add an extra £8,000 to your Christmas kitty this December if that new savings regime is continued. Why not check out our guide to exactly how much you could save by Christmas if you continue your lockdown savings until the end of the year here:

Also, make sure you check out our 12 Saves of Christmas guide to maximising your festive budget below.

In the meantime, retailers, both online and brick and mortar shops, will flood the calendar with days when they reduce the cost of gift items – enabling all shoppers with an eye for a bargain to seriously benefit and get more from their Christmas budget.

 Here are the significant sale dates to put in the diary:

July

What are the hot sale products this month?

Clothes, sporting goods, holiday items, jewellery 

Technology and jewellery manufacturers are preparing to ship new season stock so it’s a great time to pick up a bargain as retailers look to clear shelves of old-stock at bargain prices to make space. 

Dates for your diary:

  • Summer Sales – UK Summer Sales usually start in shops and online at the end of July, but this year - due to lockdown - most retailers have already started sales, so get out there and grab a bargain while you still can. Savings potential: up to 50% of RRP.

  •  Eid al-Adha - July 30 - As with other major religious holidays, Eid is becoming more of a commercial opportunity every year with a few particular industries performing exceptionally well, including food, jewellery and electronics. Savings potential: up to 60% of RRP

  • Graduations and school summer holidays – end of July - This time of the month is great for bagging a bargain as retailers re-price in the hope of earning a buck from the end of school year celebrations and families enjoying summer days out. Savings potential: up to 50% off RRP. 

August

What are the hot sale products this month?

Summer holiday items, electronics

Summer clothes are a bargain right now – you can stock up on summer bargains and when you gift them at Christmas, you’re only 3 months away from Spring and the warmer days when we’ll all be looking to shed the heavier winter wardrobe and slip into something a bit lighter.

Dates for your diary:

  • The first weekend in August, Saturday August 1st – Sunday August 2nd - is the last chance for most retailers to promote the last of summer-themed sale items. So, they can be hugely generous with even more massively discounted prices just so they can take advantage of that final chance to clear shelf space in preparation for new stock arriving. Savings potential: up to 70% off RRP. 

  • Summer bank holiday, August 31st – Bank holidays are a great time to run offers and promotions for retailers, as buyer expectation for picking up a bargain is in overdrive. Be prepared to search for the best deals in the firm knowledge that determination will be rewarded with rich pickings. It’s a great opportunity to stack up those clothing presents for Christmas gifts at a ridiculously discounted cost. Savings potential: Up to 75% off RRP.

  • Mid-Late August , W/c August 17th - Back to School. Most people start preparing for the kids going back to school around 2 weeks before school starts. For many retail businesses who supply this sector this is a hugely important time of the year. They regularly offer promotions that attract both parents and children and savvy shoppers can pick up plenty of BOGOF school essentials if they’re prepared to shop around either online or in-store. Christmas pens or stocking fillers like calculators, school bags and trainers are all rich pickings for bargain hunters right now. Savings potential: Up to 50% off RRP.

September

What are the hot sale products this month?

Winter wardrobe, new season technology 

Keep your eye out for the new season stock arriving on shelves from September – both in fashion and technology. Keen social media scanners are in pole position to take advantage of introductory offers. 

Dates for your diary

  • Autumn Sales, Saturday 19th September - Most retailers are expecting to start their autumn sales on Saturday 19th September this year. So put the date in your diary and you could snap up plenty of Christmas treats at basement prices leaving just one problem for Christmas…where to hide your treasure chest of cheap festive presents till then. Savings potential: Up to 40% off RRP.

  • New Season launch offers, September 23rd – Stores often launch their new season collection across their website with a few tantalisingly discounted launch offers. Watch your favourite brand’s social channels at this time too because, more and more, these offers appear first on their social media. Savings potential: Up to 40% off RRP.

October

 What are the hot sale products this month?

Homeware, appliances, Jewellery 

October gives shoppers the opportunity to snatch bargains in new homeware, appliances, jewellery and even some seasonal fancy dress to bring the kids’ Christmas Day dress-up to life.

Date for your diary:

  • China National Day, October 1 – It is traditional for Chinese communities to buy each other gifts on this day, but also to treat themselves, so many brands will focus on promotions on some of their biggest selling products, including jewelry, homewares, and appliances. Get down to your nearest Chinese quarter or check online for some great bargains. Savings potential: Up to 50% off RRP.

  • Halloween, October 31 – Some scarily cheap prices are available during the annual Halloween in-store and online promotion period. Lots of brands run a special promotion on costumes or decorations – it’s also primetime for picking up a jewellery bargain! Savings potential: Up to 40% off RRP.

November

What are the hot sale products this month?

Electronics

November is the time to get out there and bag an electronic gift and save loads on the RRP.  As Christmas preparation moves into gear officially, retailers lure shoppers in with loads of introductory offers. It’s time to take advantage. 

Dates for your diary:

  • Black Friday, November 27 - Arguably the biggest retail date for the Christmas bargain hunter’s calendar and one you simply can't ignore. Black Friday was originally a shopping holiday in the US, though with the e-commerce boom in recent years, it has become an international event and there are tonnes of reduced cost items available online and in-store everywhere. Savings potential: up to 60% off RRP.

  •  Small Business Saturday, November 28 (Saturday after Black Friday) - Small Business Saturday usually takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is designed to encourage shoppers to support small and local businesses, rather than industry giants who tend to cash in on the BFCM. So check out your smaller independent stores right here in the UK, as Small Business Saturday is increasingly becoming a thing over here, with great offers to be had. Savings potential: Up to 60% off RRP.

  •  Cyber Monday, November 30 - Cyber Monday was created more than a decade ago as an online counterpoint to the brick-and-mortar-heavy Black Friday event. It’s the big day to bag an electronic bargain ahead of December 25th. Savings potential: Up to 60% off RRP.

December

What are the hot sale products this month?

Electronics, fashion & toys 

You may have left it late but there’s still an opportunity to bag a bargain in advance of December 25th. Hold your nerve and you could get last minute discounts from retailers looking to shift Christmas stock in the few days before Christmas Day.

Dates for your diary:

  • Hanukkah, December 10 - Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights lasting for more than eight days and is traditionally a time for gift giving – so retailers will have prepped lots of bargains to lure you in to spend. Savings potential: Up to 50% off RRP. 

  • Green Monday, December 14 - Green Monday takes place on the second Monday in December, and is centred on the panic that sets in when people realise they’re running out of time to buy Christmas gifts. It started in the USA but UK retailers also use it as an opportunity to extend the excitement surrounding the holiday shopping season with deals on everything from electronics to fashion and toys. Amazon and eBay have huge discounts available for those prepared to search. Savings potential: Up to 50% off RRP. 

Help stretch your budget that little bit further by making the most of your savings.

Compare savings accounts

The 12 saves of Christmas

 

1. Try to avoid vouchers

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.

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

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.

Protect your home and belongings for less by comparing home insurance policies to cover a range of property types and individual circumstances.

3. Secret Santa at home

If you have a big family and lots of friends, you can end up spending loads on Christmas shopping. So why not take Secret Santa out of the office and into your home?

If everyone agrees, you can avoid splashing out on unwanted presents. Just 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.

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. So, using a credit card can save you the hassle of having to replace a present later.

6. Check before you travel

Planning to visit family and friends over Christmas? Ticket prices, journey times and crowds will always increase during the Christmas period, so 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.

You can also save costs if you travel very early in the morning or very late at night.

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 specific days 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 specific days 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.

At Christmas 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 it 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 incentive 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.

11. Online Outlet Stores.

You don’t have to drive to an outlet village to snap up end-of-line bargains. Loads of high street shops now have online outlet stores. Take a look on eBay or check out their special websites for bargains galore.

12. Christmas Cashback.

Sign up for free to a cashback site, then click through to buy something. The site will get paid for sending traffic to the store and you’ll get some of it back, saving many who do £100s on their Christmas shopping bill.

Always search out the cheapest deal, then check to make sure that cashback is available.

You can also use a cashback credit card, earning you cashback on your purchases throughout the year, that you could spend at 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

Gifting budgeting calculator

You can also use our Gift Budgeting Calculator to plan your spending throughout the year including Christmas:

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