Keeping the festive cheer in Christmas shopping

Keeping the festive cheer in Christmas shopping

10 top tips for getting the best Xmas bargains! on Xmas paper background

 

Black Friday (week) and Cyber Monday are now over. How do we get the best prices for our Christmas gifts this year?

 

Here are my top ten tips to help you save money and make sure you are getting the cheapest deal when shopping either online or in stores this Christmas!

 

 

  • Make sure you have a list, even if it is just a list of names, budget and possible ideas. This will stop you panicking, over spending and buying unnecessary items!
  • If you know you will definitely be buying from certain stores or before you shop online check out Zeek* where you can buy and sell gift cards. You could literally get free money! Discounts usually range from 2 – 10% off, depending on popularity of the store.
  • Look out for discount vouchers and codes. There are numerous websites out there, just search for the store you are shopping from with the words “discount” or “voucher code” and look through a few. For the bigger stores there’s usually something, even if it’s just a free delivery code!
  • Use cashback sites such as Topcashback*, Quidco*, and Kidstart (Kidstart cashback goes to your nominated child’s bank account).  Sign up for free and use which ever one gives the biggest cashback! (Be aware that some may not work with additional discounts so don’t rely on this).
  • Install Pouch which is a browser extension which was shown on Dragon’s Den. It claims to notify you any time you are on an online store for which there is a discount code.
  • Use price comparison sites which aren’t just for financial products, such as Pricerunner and Idealo. These will cover the well-known and less known online stores for the price on the same item.
  • Sign up for emails to get the best offers first, many will email you early with discount codes, so you can use before they go out of stock!
  • Don’t be tempted to buy the accessories with the item from the same place! When the pop up flashes “buy the batteries” don’t do it just for ease. Any saving you make will get spent on the batteries, so buy them from somewhere else. Unless they are cheap!
  • Remember you are always covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, where goods must be of satisfactory quality, be fit for purpose and match the description, whatever price you paid for the item!

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

 

Don’t forget How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! makes a great present!

 

 

 

*referral links which means when you sign up (for free) you’ll get a few quid and so will I. then generate your own referral code and share on social media and you’ll make a bit more!

Make Light Work of Black Friday

Black Friday is coming around again, that day in the calendar which marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Black Friday is 24th November this year, but are there really bargains to be had? Last year a Which? investigation into Black Friday revealed that 49% of products on offer were actually cheaper in the months before or after Black Friday and the prices it checked last year showed that only 8% of the Black Friday deals were actually the lowest prices. In September Argos was lambasted for its 3 for 2 toy offer where many of the toys worked out cheaper if you bought them the day before.

So how careful do we need to be of Black Friday? Are there really bargains to be had or is it all hype?

1) Write a list! Write down all the things you need to buy. This can include: the people for whom you have to buy presents, possible ideas and a budget. This will help you not go over a budget if you are easily carried away with possible bargains and gives you choices.

2) Do your research. Armed with your list, look up the likely stores for those people/items. Make a list of the prices that you find.

3) Use comparison websites. Do an Internet search on specific items and use sites which will compare prices. You may find that there are other stores which stock the items you are after and some may have a better deal regardless of Black Friday!

4) Get right ahead! Put items in baskets! Go online and put things in baskets and don’t checkout. Make a note of what stores you have done this with! Then when Black Friday comes take a look at all the online baskets and see who has what for the cheapest. This way, not only will you have done all your research but you’ll be ahead of others shopping that day for popular items likely to go out of stock!

5) Black Friday isn’t just about gifts for others! Often people will say it’s only a bargain if you need it. Twaddle. We don’t need half the clothes and shoes etc. that we own, but if we see a pair of boots reduced it makes the purchase far more attractive. So, have an idea of what items you would like for yourself, if they are reduced.

6) Check for further discounts. Internet search your items with phrases like “discount codes” “discount offers” and “vouchers” to see if you can get more discounts. There are a number of sites that provide discount codes for numerous stores.

7) Check out Zeek*. You can buy and sell gift cards on Zeek. Choose from a range of monetary value gift cards for hundreds of stores with varying discounts.

8) Black Friday is not just for Christmas. Many retailers spread their deals over the month and others throughout the year. The idea is that consumers will spend the same amount over a year whether the majority is across all year or concentrated over a few weeks. So don’t just look for bargains on Black Friday. There will be Cyber Monday and places like Amazon have daily deals which also need to be checked. Use the Camel Camel Camel website which is a price tracker that provides price drop alerts and price history for products sold by Amazon.

9) Emails and social media. Sign up to newsletters now. You can always unsubscribe later but often newsletters are the best way to be the first to learn of any discounts and offers. “Like” Facebook pages and follow on Twitter as many retailers will announce their offers and discount codes through these methods too. Follow money bloggers who will frequently share discounts and deals. Join forums and money saving groups if you really want to get everything going and check with others if so-called deals are really deals. You could set up a separate email account for all these emails and then allocate some time each day to look at just the deals!

10) Store versus shops. If you intend to go to the stores on Black Friday take your list with you and check the online prices either with that or on the phone. Then you have the double whammy, as sometimes items are in stock online only or in store only.

11) List upcoming events. Think of future, parties etc. You can pick up some bargain toys for children’s parties that you know you will have in the year and just put them away. (But remember toys will be discounted a lot in the run up to Christmas and after Christmas sales too).

12) Avoid the mobs. Possibly impossible?! Certainly if you are setting out early for certain stores! But this is where you need a) your list so you don’t get carried away and b) to be sure that that store will have items you want. Remember too that offers written on doors are often just a way to get you in and there may be limited stock!

13) Take care on seasonal items. Things like Winter coats are likely to be in the sales and discounted further when retailers want to get rid of their stock and Christmas decorations will still be cheaper after the event!

14) Use Cashback sites. Sites like Topcashback*, Quidco*, Free Fivers*, Kidstart* (Kidstart cashback goes to your nominated child’s bank account). Others that I’ve not used are  Imutual, Give or take and there are others. They all provide cashback when you go through their sites and make purchases from the stores listed. Check them all, as they have different retailers and different percentages! Do this before filling your online baskets so you’re all set to go! Most have apps so you can do this whilst out shopping when you see a bargain and can order and get it delivered instead! Don’t rely on this though as there may be terms and conditions that you miss (such as using vouchers) negating the cashback.

15) Make sure that a promise is a promise. Some places have a price promise which is great. But read the small print! Some stores such as John Lewis won’t match an online price, for example. Others will only match the price if it was on sale that exact same day and most, if not all, will tell you it has to be exactly the same item/bundle. So, exactly the same colour, make, model, free gift, warranty etc. (Although remember your consumer rights provide more protection than any “free warranty”).

16) Check the model. Black Friday is usually good for getting the latest technology, but check the release dates for the next model. Will you still want that ‘phone or laptop if the newer version comes out a week later?

17) Stay up late! If you have done all your preparation, be ready to go online just after midnight on Black Friday morning, so you get your bargains before things go out of stock.

18) Security. Check that the site is secure and bona fide to prevent any fraud. Don’t just click on the first site that comes up in a search engine query unless you’re sure where you’re going.

19) Add ons. A lot of the items may need additional things such as batteries. Don’t get these at the same time, you will more than likely get these cheaper when you do research on that at a later date!

20) Articles. Every so often Google “Black Friday offers 2017”! This will bring up store pages and online newspaper articles which reveal where some of the best bargains are.

Remember your consumer rights are just the same when buying items in the sales.

Should you have need to complain see Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

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*Referral links.  I’ll get a few pounds if you sign up once you’ve made more than whatever their minimum is. (Topcashback is the one I really use and that’s £10) Depending on when you click on this link you should receive a bonus too but that depends on the offer on at the time. You can then use your own referral link and send to friends too! Free money!