Leaving your gift-getting until a week before the big day is risky, but it is still possible to bag a bargain if you know where to look. Luckily for you, experts at money.co.uk have put together a handy guide with all the need-to-know information.
James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk, said: “First you need to make a plan. With such a short amount of time between now and Christmas Day, you don’t have the luxury of wandering the aisles browsing for a gift, hoping to spot something that will just be perfect. So make a list of all the people you still need to buy for and what you can afford to spend on them.
“The good news is that while Black Friday is the highest-profile of the winter sales, it’s not the only one - several retailers run major discounts to shift their unsold stock right before Christmas. So it’s still possible to get a good deal in the days leading up to December 25th.
“Some shops even run one-day sales on Super Saturday itself to try and make the most of the booming Christmas market, meaning you could end up with an even better deal than you would have got in November. If you wait even longer until just a few days before Christmas Day, you could still end up with a great deal, but risk running out of time and being left empty handed.
“Switching your mobile provider, bank account or credit card could also see you pick up a free or cheap present as a bonus, with brands offering gift cards, discount codes or cashback as incentives to switch. Just make sure you act quickly to get the rewards through in time.
“Sadly, you also have to be on the watch for shops taking advantage of the last minute buying frenzy by hiking prices. No matter how rushed you are, it’s a good idea to use a price tracking site like PriceRunner to compare costs across different chains. Tools like this can help you spot price hikes and stop you paying over the odds.
“It’s also wise to take the opportunity to spend any unused gift cards you have lying around the house. Shops make millions from people buying gift cards as presents that are never used, thanks to the expiry dates on them. Make sure you redeem yours before they expire so you don’t lose out.
“You can also look for discount codes to bring the cost of your Christmas shopping down. Some major retailers offer 5-15% off your first purchase if you sign up to their newsletter, for example. You can use this discount to purchase what you need before unsubscribing.
“Meanwhile, reward schemes for retailers – such as the Advantage Card at Boots or the Beauty Card at Superdrug – offer points that you can use in store. If you’ve been scanning and collecting all year, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much you can pick up without troubling your bank account.
“When it comes to what you use to buy presents, purchases made on credit cards give you extra protection. If there’s a breakdown in the supply chain and you're not able to get a refund, you can claim the full cost of your items back from your credit card company under Section 75, as long the purchase value is between £100 and £30,000.
“Just make sure you pay off the cost inside the interest-free period if possible, to avoid having interest added on top of the cost of the presents themselves.
“You can use money.co.uk’s credit card comparison tool to compare deals from all the top providers by visiting: https://www.money.co.uk/credit-cards.htm.”