Please note: This topic is for discussions paid for by Mumsnet clients. If you'd like to have your own paid for discussion thread, please feel free to mail us at insight@mumsnet.com. If you are a start-up or student and you want to request feedback from MNers, please post in Media Requests topic.

Watch our last episode of Shop Talk where CarrieMumsnet discusses surviving the Christmas shop with Ruth Langsford. NOW CLOSED

(342 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Nov-13 14:00:43

Last week MNers were asked how they get the best deals on Christmas food and present shopping.

Watch episode 4 of Shop Talk now for tips on savvy seasonal shopping.



Barclaycard Freedom Rewards, in association with Mumsnet, created a new weekly online chat show, Shop Talk, and this is the last episode.

Here's what Barclaycard have to say about the show: "This is the final episode of Shop Talk, a weekly chat show where weve tackled the big shopping stories that you're talking about. A different presenter has hosted each show, and for our last show it was Ruth Langsford. Two panellists, including shopping blogger Emily and Carrie from MNHQ, joined Ruth to discuss surviving the Christmas shop and stocking filler saviours.

With regards to the Barclaycard Freedom Rewards credit card, Barclaycard say: Freedom Rewards is a credit card designed to reward you for the way you already shop. Collect Freedom Rewards points everywhere, and double at UK supermarkets and petrol stations, to turn into vouchers to spend at our huge range of high street and online shop.
If you loved Shop Talk and want to see the highlights from all four shows watch out for them here from Monday 18th November.

Thanks,

MNHQ

CrewElla Tue 05-Nov-13 22:07:55

I make a list of all the people who will be getting a gift and decide what to get them.

As much as possible I try to do my shopping on-line as it is more convenient, less stressful, and easier to comparison shop.

Then, when I've finished my shopping, I usually find more to get and keep spending up until Christmas Eve.

mirpuppet Wed 06-Nov-13 00:28:30

I like amazon black Friday deals and usually get a couple of things from that site.

I also use forums and code. Besides mumsnet. I go to MSE grabbit; UK hot deals etc.

I also try and get my DH to do as much of the gift buying as possible. He's brillant does it in 2 hours one random day in mid-Dec.

So in sum I try and stay out of the stores.

most of my shopping is done online I keep an eye on hot UK deals and the bargain pages for the best deals glitches and offers. I started my Christmas shopping in august and am yet to pay full rrp for anything grin im sure it will happen though. With food and drink shopping for Christmas I try and keep any coupons I can that can be used and save some money up on a store card from November time to help knock it down a bit. It is usually an asda card. I always reserve the things I want from argos as I hate going all the way there to find out something is out of stock! I think it's important to have a list and a general idea of what your buying otherwise all he'll breaks loose and I end up buying stuff that I then wonder why I did.

forgot to answer the other questions that yes I buy specific items based on what I think that person would love even if it takes a bit more searching. I hate buying gifts that won't be much loved and avoid bath sets like the plague

BoohPear Wed 06-Nov-13 08:30:27

I have a think about what I want to get everybody, or continually ask "what do you want for christmas?" I google to find out the prices etc, I use Facebook for independent crafters and the bargain threads on here for all the best deals and I started in September!

For food, we do a hamper for the in-laws every year and tend to just add a few bits to our shopping bill in the run up to Christmas to spread the cost and source a few fresh things from local butchers etc. I've no idea how to get a bargainous Christmas food shop though, my basket on Ocado is £150 at the minute!

BoohPear Wed 06-Nov-13 08:31:30

Oh and I google voucher codes for every online shop I go on now!

It takes over doesn't it booh I needed something from a real life shop this week and found myself stood there thinking what no discounts or voucher codes. begrudgingly handed over the money feeling hard done too grin

BoohPear Wed 06-Nov-13 08:37:56

I know. You feel cheated paying full price!

MrsPnut Wed 06-Nov-13 08:55:01

I buy early and spread it out. I look for bargains and the thread on here is invaluable.
I bought my wine and fizz for christmas using the 25% off 6 bottles or more at sainsbury's last week - I also put my nectar points towards it.
I bought a couple of bottles of baileys when Morrisons had it on offer and will look out for similar deals. I have crackers, chocolates and biscuits already stashed and have been buying one or two extras each week.
My christmas food shop will still be nearly £200 but it feeds us for a few weeks.

AnnaConda Wed 06-Nov-13 09:28:26

I buy appropriate gifts from the January sales onwards - if I see just the right present for someone and it's a bargain I buy. Storing things round the house can be tricky and on occasion I have "lost" presents blush so a list of hiding places is useful.

I'm going to have a look at the tesco clubcard site and try and use vouchers for present maybe magazine subscriptions or memberships. I bought some discounted Christmas chocs at Sainsburys this week.

I buy loads at my local Marks and Spencer Outlet store. Last year Debenhams had some great half price kitchen electricals online.

I do a last minute top up shop going round the shops for stocking fillers and things that catch my eye especially if they are already discounting just before the 25th.

Willemdefoeismine Wed 06-Nov-13 09:32:55

Spread out buying presents and Christmas food. Start in September and budget a certain amount every month with a higher spend on food than pressies in December. I am an avid bargain hunter and becoming ever more so as the money in one's pocket seems to go less far.....

Really keeping an eye on Reastie' s fab threads and just looking out for any ways to save money (free P&P, % off....) and 3 for 2 offers. Checking in to Martin Lewis's Moneysavingexpert website early am and late pm for additional good offers.

It can take over your life though - bargain hunting....

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 06-Nov-13 10:18:18

Well, obviously we use the lovely Reastie's bargain thread....

Doesn't everyone? grin

That aside, I never buy anything online unless there is a code/% off/freebie, use Quidco/TCB and regularly peruse MSE/HUKD etc etc.

Real shops I leave to a few days before Christmas when they've reduced the tat.

JaquelineHyde Wed 06-Nov-13 10:38:11

Drank I was just coming on to say that..

Reastie's bargainous Christmas thread (now on thread 20 I believe) has been a life saver for me this year.

Thanks to that thread I started my shopping super early and have managed to access some of the best deals on the internet and be first in line for <shock horror> real life shopping bargains.

The last few bits I need will be bought in the next week or so and everything is wrapped so I really can enjoy the entire festive season.

Top tip - Ignore all the moans about it only being July etc START EARLY and never pay the full price if you can help it (starting early means you have time to find deals on everything you need).

manfalou Wed 06-Nov-13 11:10:39

Make a list of all the people we need to buy for and go out to the bargain shop to get them a gift set or something.

For the kids we start super early and don't buy anything unless its reduced or has a discount code attached. We have loads of presents already this year and havnt spent much. HotUKDeals is the site I use, got a Vtech switch and go Dino reduced from £33 to £13 yesterday.

Xmas food shopping... we always eat at someone else's house or out around xmas so don't do an xmas shop.

BornToFolk Wed 06-Nov-13 11:35:30

I'm always on the look out for bargains. I got lots of good toy bargains in the Boots sale back in October when they were heavily reduced. That pretty much sorted all the children I have to buy for!
For DS, I buy little gifts and stocking fillers as I see good deals. If I have something in mind for his main present, I'll search online for the best deal and use vouchers/cash back sites. I put things on both our Amazon wishlists so that I can keep track of price fluctuations and swoop in when they go down.

Adults can be a bit trickier as it depends what I see, or what they want but I do try to get bargains when I can. However, I'm going to a craft fair this weekend and hope to get some presents there. They are unlikely to be particularly bargainous but I'm hoping to get some unique gifts and support local businesses in the process, which will offset the guilt of buying lots of plastic toys shipped in from China in the Boots sale! grin

For food, I start stocking up early, again when I see good deals. For example, Tesco recently did a 3 for 2 offer on baking ingredients so I got things for the Christmas Cake then. If they do a good deal on wine before Christmas I will stock up (and try not to drink it before the festive season!) I save Nectar points and Tesco vouchers for the big food shop. I know it's not the best way to use Tesco vouchers but getting a bit of money off your Christmas shop does ease the pressure a bit.

Things like wrapping paper, cards and decorations are bought in the January sale for the following year. I've got quite a stash ready and waiting and it's one less thing to buy in the run up to Christmas.

Spirael Wed 06-Nov-13 12:20:08

Planning, lots of planning!

For gifts, I start with a list of everyone we're buying for and a rough estimate of the amount of money I want to spend. At the same time, I normally try and come up with some ideas of what I want and grill my own family for similar ideas.

Then I contact each person on the list or their immediate family and check whether there's anything in particular they'd like or a collaborative gift they'd like me to join in for getting. That normally resolves at least half the list straight away!

For the remaining people, I then brainstorm the sorts of things they'd like and then spend a few evenings researching the ideas and seeing what the best deal is I can get them. I then order these, online usually but sometimes arrange to pick up in store if possible.

Anyone left after all that, I then spend some of my lunch hours browsing likely shops for inspiration on something I could get them before repeating my researching step once I have an idea.

For food, I've already sat down and planned the meals over the festive period, making a big list of everything we're going to need. I'm now slowly acquiring the non perishable items in weekly shops as and when I see them on offer. Wine was on a good offer last week, so we now have a well stocked wine cupboard all ready.

My food delivery is already booked (but can be edited) for the 23rd Dec and the Meat order is going to the butchers this weekend!

supergreenuk Wed 06-Nov-13 12:40:46

I visit discount stores and use offers when I see them to save money. I am an early Christmas shopper so I can spread the cost.

Christmas food shopping is done at morrisons and they do a money coupon scheme.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Wed 06-Nov-13 12:50:53

For food shopping I check prices on mysupermarket and buy as much as possible in advance when it's on offer.

I start looking for good deals from around September and compare prices online first before buying anything.

MadMonkeys Wed 06-Nov-13 12:58:38

I buy a lot in the previous year's sales... And buy the rest online where it is easier to compare prices, or go to cheap places like TK Maxx or The Works.

CMOTDibbler Wed 06-Nov-13 13:14:47

I work out what I need to buy for everyone, then price check it. No random buying bits just to have more either - thats a way to spend loads without noticing.

I save my points from Boots/Nectar or whatever to spend at Christmas

IncaAztec Wed 06-Nov-13 13:26:42

I shop smart by having a list and sticking to it. My family don't seem to like surprises anyway!

I allocate gifts to each person to get a great deal, however, some things are not really available in the shops locally (very rural) and I have to factor in the petrol to go and fetch them from different places. This is where online shopping comes in...

I use Reastie's Bargain thread on here from about July. I have a vague budget for each person I buy for but if I can get something as a bargain, even better. I don't feel obliged to spend extra (e.g. If I have a budget of £5 for someone and I get a £7 item for £3.50 I don't feel I have to then buy something else for £1.50).

I buy food stuff early too. I know it's not hugely popular on here but I buy my turkey early (either frozen or fresh - in which case I freeze it) as they seem to go up in price in December.

Thinkingofmyfabfour Wed 06-Nov-13 17:18:52

Never buy anything full price- either find a voucher code or shop around for a deal.
I tend to choose a theme eg clothing, books etc and get everyone that.

CheeseTMouse Wed 06-Nov-13 17:56:20

I make sure that what I buy is something that I know is really wanted by the recipient. I keep a list as people (close family) mention things across the year so that I am confident I am not wasting money on something they don't want. I also don't buy things for the sake of it - so resist the mounds of Christmas tat there is in the shops!

I have agreed with relatives that we will only buy for children rather than the money-go-round that has typified past Christmasses. I also make sure that we always check for a voucher and check online for the best price...where appropriate asking the retailer to price match.

Basically this all boils down to planning and being disciplined about what to buy and not being sucked in by impulse buys.

AChristmassyJerseySpud Wed 06-Nov-13 18:37:14

Start buying in June during the summer sales.

BlackberrySeason Wed 06-Nov-13 19:10:22

Use mn threads and buy steadily from August onwards

clubnail Wed 06-Nov-13 19:15:02

I am a huge bargain hunter, I enjoy getting a good deal.

I buy for Xmas or birthdays whenever - not in the week or so prior, but whenever I see something suitable, at a good price, I get it and store it ready.
I always google for a voucher for online shopping, check HDUK. I also use price match where offered. Because I am not rushing or panicking, I can also spend time comparing prices online so I know I am getting the best deal I can.

wonderingsoul Wed 06-Nov-13 20:02:44

i have a rough idea on what i want to get people, usually make lists.. then i re write them.

i tend to do most my shopping online as you can always find it cheaper some where else, ethier by their sales or with a code. it also makes me really think about the object. if it would be loved. so it stops me from just buying with out thought.

i start early, but do tend to add little thing on. esp if its a good deal and i know it'll be loved.

3bunnies Wed 06-Nov-13 20:09:15

I mainly look on Reastie's thread! I order something if it is a bargain. camel camel camel is good for price alerts on amazon too. This strategy works well for the dc as they can be persuaded to need most things! For other family I have a rough limit and some ideas then search the web for the best deals. I try to find discount codes before ordering too. I venture into the real world occasionally for bargains. I can't do as much in RL this year as ds is now 4 and more aware of things I am picking up though he hasn't started reporting back to the girls yet. It will be easier next year when he is in school but I am getting used to the bargains coming to my door now!

Theimpossiblegirl Wed 06-Nov-13 20:36:28

I try to buy as early as possible as prices start to creep up around mid-November.

Sometimes I have something specific in mind and look for the best deals online, sometimes I see a bargain and get it then allocate it to someone.

This year I have been an avid follower of Reastie's thread and have saved money and been inspired, so a big thanks for that.

Usually I do a lot of real life shopping too but have been unable to yet because of illness, so everything has been done online so far.

I often wonder how people coped before the internet.

Also, I only buy what I can afford. I don't want to be paying for thigs after Christmas.

MollyBerry Wed 06-Nov-13 20:53:22

Buy all year round - as long as it's not perishable - then you get the best prices on things!

I buy in January sales if I know soething can keep!

Hopezibah Wed 06-Nov-13 20:54:52

Start early is so important so you can catch any amazing offers throughout the year. And stock up when you do see those good offers. There are certain food products that we only ever buy on BOGOF and store them for xmas - things like nice sparkling drinks. Catch the boxed /tinned chocolate in the run up to xmas and not at the last minute as often the best deals for that are in November. (but that does mean you'll have to resist eating them early).

We often save our nectar points and use them to buy all those secret santa type gifts.

I tend to pick up certain type of items eg nice toiletries, books, games for the kids as and when I see them and then spend an evening allocating them to the various people we need to buy for. That usually only leaves a few final bits and pieces to buy nearer the time.

Don't underestimate the power of creativity! I love to receive handmade gifts and so do others. A lavender pouch, homemade soap or homemade candles and cards can all be easily made and make great gifts. Saves a small fortune too.

We buy the whole set of school photographs (as they are usually good value), then buy some cheap frames and frame the photos as gifts for grandparents and relatives.

Although I hate the idea of wasting money at Christmas, the kids do really enjoy opening some silly presents but rather than spend several pounds on each of their silly gifts, we pop to the 99p store for those items, leaving more money available for their main gift.

GetKnitted Wed 06-Nov-13 21:08:47

I try to think more about what the person likes than what I like.

Dededum Wed 06-Nov-13 21:14:15

I give the boys a budget, they spend 3 months changing their lists! Then I buy a couple of other smaller / surprise gifts for them.

Food - I buy it from about now, when I see a good offer: eg just bought a Christmas pudding for half price. I only buy the things that we're unlikely to raid before Christmas Eve though! We save Nectar points to buy a nice bottle of wine for Christmas lunch, and a few 'treats' too.

Gifts - again, I start mid-November-ish, but then resent the crowds. If it can be bought on Amazon, it will be!

neddle Wed 06-Nov-13 21:34:34

I only ever buy my turkey on christmas eve. I normally get it at least half off, if not more.

sharond101 Wed 06-Nov-13 22:01:21

I always start early and scour the moneysavingexpert site for deals throughout the year. I use pricecomparison sites and make use of discount vouchers and events that are on instore. I have a present cupboard I add to throughout the year and I make some of my own gifts too.

leesam Wed 06-Nov-13 22:19:27

What I do now we are a family of six is from January I buy all reduced xmas cards ,paper etc in the sales . Then spend £10 a week on food stamps for 10 weeks ,and also spend £20 on Argos vouchers a week rather then saving the money instead as I only go into it on a rainy day ,this way I can't spend it. As my 4 children are still under 10 Argos works for me . Then when 3.for 2 deal comes up or a sale item comes up I always can use the voucher if I haven't got the money. This wAy I can pick up little stocking fillers as I go all throughout the year knowing the bigger stuff is all took care of. This way leaves me money to do all the nice things in December with the children like ice skating,Santa steam train etc and enjoy the xmas build up. Works perfect for me

leesam Wed 06-Nov-13 22:20:32

Sorry £10 a week on food for 20 weeks.

defineme Wed 06-Nov-13 22:57:25

I have made my extended family convert to Amazon wish lists..everyone gets what they want and it's very satisfying.
We prefer chicken to turkey so dinner not a big expense, especially as one set of grandparents bring drinks and other brings pudding.
I have used the bargain thread too, but storage is a problem!

LaTrucha Thu 07-Nov-13 06:50:08

Start early - I look in the toy sales at the time of DS's birthday in July.

Use camelcamelcameluk to track price drops of things you want on amazon.

Reastie's Christmas threads!

Dolallytats Thu 07-Nov-13 07:08:48

I make a list of everyone I have to buy for. Each time I find the item I want to get for them, I do an internet search to get the best price. I do all my shopping online (agoraphobic), but never shop from a site with no address in their contact details. I am also very cautious about shopping on sites I don't know.

I also start my shopping very early. Summer is the time to start for me, although if I see something I thing someone will like before then, I will get it!!

shelley72 Thu 07-Nov-13 07:40:57

For gifts - I have an idea of what to get the children, and start looking quite early on for any offers. I also use voucher codes where possible, reasties thread, and any discounts and by post. I make use of 3 for 2 offers in shops but mainly I shop online.

For food - non perishable items I buy when on offer and I see them, and but a few items a week in the run up months before to spread the cost. I have a Christmas book / planner which I use to make life easier. It contains food lists, present lists, Christmas recipes so I work to a list when I'm buying.

We also set a budget and that's our limit. We don't go overboard on presents for the children. They are still young and while we try and get them something they wish for, Christmas isn't really about the gifts, more about spending time with our family.

QOD Thu 07-Nov-13 07:45:01

I buy stuff in the 75% off boots sale and allocate thru the yr for dd friend birthdays
I look on Martin money saving expert every day from October
I google for vouchers when I have something specific in mind

I just spotted a 20% off Office on Facebook and bought dd the white converse she wants for Xmas for £36 with free delivery instead of £45 plus delivery too

LittleBallOfFur Thu 07-Nov-13 07:46:54

Aldi for Christmas food - and I've started to buy bits now in my weekly shop to spread the cost and avoid a big financial hit near xmas.

For presents we've set a really strict budget this year and will be searching online for the best deals rather than the shops. Also signed up to enewsletters for shops I think I'll buy from so I can hopefully get any deals to come to me!

LittleBallOfFur Thu 07-Nov-13 07:47:38

Oh and cashback websites are great for extra savings!

I write a list, and then look for offers that match it! I get v cross with all the 3 for 2, because that means I can't buy one thing, and all the things have to be the same price- I practically go into boots with a calculator. And it has to be on a points day! The stress is grim! Always end up with something not quite right.

milk Thu 07-Nov-13 08:23:50

Listen to the extremely wise Reastie smile

MooseyMoo Thu 07-Nov-13 08:38:17

I am a list person! I also have 6 winter birthdays before Christmas so I plan and shop early. I check Money Saving Expert and HUKD for deals, glitches, codes and when sales are coming up (Boots, Next, Sainsburys, Argos 3 for 2).

The best thing I did last year was to sign up to Quidco for cashback on internet shopping and discover camelcamelcamel which lets you check the lowest and highest an item has been on Amazon (and third parties).

Some people are easier to shop for ie kids and others need more inspiration/ideas and searching ie grandparents.

telsa Thu 07-Nov-13 08:51:40

I do a mixture of everything. Must admit that I do trawl charity shops and ebay looking for some things. Found a whole stack of new childrens books in one charity shop the other day. I like to support local shops and festivals, so always go to these too and look for decently priced unique stuff. I have been using the offers...buy one book, get one half price judiciously. I also buy relatively ordinary things in pretty packaging from Chinese, Indian etc food stores.

Happiestinwellybobs Thu 07-Nov-13 09:02:02

I start with an idea of what I'm going to buy each person - or a general theme. I start early. As my daughter is only 2, I can still get away with buying things I think she will like, rather than having to deal with a list which might change at the last minute. Hence my loft being full of presents in September smile

I use camelcamelcamel to track prices of toys particularly for my nephews. I also shop around at places like B&M, home bargains etc for cheaper toys and stocking fillers.

I also use cashback sites when purchasing online.

This year I will be doing my food shopping at Aldi to try and save some money.

My absolute best tip is to trawl the Chrismas bargain thread on here though - I have had some corker bargains from there smile

i use the christmas bargain threads on here, shop all year round if i spot something perfect. i always look for vouchers, codes and discounts if i can, and always check prices online if i am out shopping.
the only tip i can give for food shopping is that i shop at sainsburys and save nectar points all year ready for christmas, currently i have just over £95 on my nectar card, with 6 weeks still to go. that will be well over £100 by christmas week, which will pay for around half of my christmas food shop.

MARGUERITE18 Thu 07-Nov-13 10:05:58

I look on money saving expert and the bargain thread here and do comping and always check amazon prices using wishlist

wamabama Thu 07-Nov-13 10:07:07

I make a list at end of August and start buying then to spread the cost. I buy things every week, the bigger things on pay day, right up until the end of November when most of it will be done (with the exception of food and alcohol). I try not to buy anything that isn't on the list or add anything to it.

I look for voucher codes where possible, bargains on eBay and I do actually use my Freedom card points on Amazon! Also try to buy things when they're reduced in price. I sign up to newsletters so I know when sales are happening and keep an eye out on Twitter.

Food wise I shop in Morrisons and buy a couple of saver stamps a week throughout the year plus I've been saving the vouchers they're doing this year so my food shop will practically be free.

I bake and make a lot of things myself so for example for a garland in the style I wanted it was £40 so I bought all of the things needed to make my own and it cost me half of that.

For wrapping paper I just buy brown paper (£1 for two rolls!) and add pretty ribbon and gift tags to it.

BigGapMum Thu 07-Nov-13 10:27:08

I get stuff in the January sales if I can. This year I had some wonderful gift packs in the 75% off Boots sale so some presents sorted then. Likewise I pick up suitable bargains throughout the year and put them aside as gifts. Handily this also gives me a cupboardful of presents I can search through for last minute birthday presents too.

If I buy anything online I search for a voucher code and use cashback websites.

I got some great deals from the book people last year, so will be checking them out again, but don't like to buy books as gifts for anyone twice running as no one I buy for is a massive reader, apart from DS.

Dad kindly always buys us a turkey, as he knows someone who rears them.

Food shopping is done gradually, taking advantage of offers as I see them.

AllThatGlistens Thu 07-Nov-13 10:29:51

Start early, and always, always shop around.

If I know a particular store usually has a sale on at certain times of the year I'll budget for that as well.

I'm almost finished buying all of my Christmas gifts now, and have started stockpiling non perishables, spreading the cost is so much easier - the thought of dashing around in a last minute panic would fill me with horror!

Kipsy Thu 07-Nov-13 11:31:52

I We love Christmas shopping! I am a shopaholic, so Christmas is a lovely excuse for me to shower my child with gifts!

I buy stockings, fillable crackers, reusable advent calendars, wrapping paper etc in January when I spot them in the shops (usually when I'm returning surplus gifts)

The main gift is usually bought end Nov. I use HUKD, Camel, Mumsnet bargain threads or just trawl through my favourite shopping sites to find something bargainous and age-appropriate.

For Santa's gift, it's always a mad panicked scramble to real shops [shudder] as DD decides what she wants only by Dec 20 or even later!

Elainey1609 Thu 07-Nov-13 11:43:13

Start early ....look for bargains (not only cheaper but you do get a bit of a thrill from it)
Never buy anything full price use as many voucher codes or discount codes.
Make you you keep n track with Reasties christmas bargain thread which Is a huge life saver
Don't be afraid of using charity shops, eBay amazon ect. Second hand dosnt mean crap
Because a book has been read once before dosnt mean it's no good as a present.
Keep track of what you have bought via lists or apps
Make sure you ask for ideas from ppl don't waste money buying things people won't want

Start buying not perishable food stuff early couple bits a weeks and store so you don't have a massive shop closer to Xmas.

Spaulding Thu 07-Nov-13 14:43:49

I start at the beginning of October, making a list of the things I definitely want to buy my son and partner. I then have a rough idea of what I want to buy family members although this can change depending on what I see when all the Christmas brochures come out! I usually look on Amazon and put things in to my wishlist, and keep an eye them as the prices tend to go down in November. I look out for vouchers and discount codes as well as snapping up items in my "definitely to buy" list if I see them on offer.

I start adding extra food to my shopping every week from mid-October onwards. Things like chocolate, biscuits and drinks and food cupboard items that I know will have Best Before dates beyond Christmas. I make a list of all the food I'll need to buy including fresh and freezer and cross them off as and when I add them to my weekly shop, so come Christmas week all I have left is the fresh stuff.

Food, I look out for discounted items or items on offer that are ok to freeze. I have a huge chest freezer and tend to buy or make things a month or two in advance of Christmas and then freeze it so that I have lots of things all ready for the holidays that just need to defrost or cook from frozen. You can often get good deals on prawns, smoked salmon, joints of meat and party food, you just need to check carefully if it is suitable for freezing and how long for. Cakes, sauces and even pastry will also freeze really well and are useful to have on hand to whip out when you need them.

Presents, I make a list, allocate a budget for each person and add it up to make sure I have a total budget to keep to. Then I leave it all to the last minute and blow the budget anyway!

This year will be different however... This year I WILL be organised!

I have to do a lot of mine online due to lack of time -so I try to get people's suggestions early so I can start getting things ordered early and get all the stressful bit out of the way. It doesn't always work though!

Bubbles85 Thu 07-Nov-13 21:25:27

I always shop (online) I the January sales for next year. Also, don't forget to look for voucher codes or for cash back deals to save even more!

2kidsintow Thu 07-Nov-13 22:38:13

I have a spreadsheet that helps me keep track of what I've bought this year, how much I've spent and what I still need to get. It goes back to '09 so I don't risk getting someone the same thing twice.

My family are open and ask each other what they'd like- yes there's fewer surprises, but you don't risk buying something for someone and then they don't like it.

sealight123 Thu 07-Nov-13 22:38:32

I am a early bird with present buying to stretch the cost bit by bit over a few months...I already have all of my daughters presents!!!

I also make a lot of homemade and personal gifts for my family, which sounds pretty lame but they enjoy them and I enjoy making them smile

One favourite last year was christmas tree decorations made from my 2 year old daughters handprint, we then painted the fingers as santas beard and the thumb was the hat. They were just little stocking fillers but it's a little piece of Livvy for each family member to cherish when she is all grown up smile

I also have a huge clearout of old toys, electronics, clothes...everything we no longer use or need, before christmas...to make more space but also make a little bit more spending money for some christmas fun and donate some to our nursery and charity shops too smile

nobalance Thu 07-Nov-13 22:42:57

I like to fill in surveys in the hope that I might win some money / vouchers in the prize draw to buy the presents with smile

daisybrown Thu 07-Nov-13 23:00:21

Always compare the internet and shops in order to get the best deals. Always look for online voucher codes for relevant items.

Pogosticks Thu 07-Nov-13 23:04:30

I just go to MN bargain thread and buy stuff that people suggest and have found great deals for. Sounds sheep-like I know. But it works and Christmas will be awesome as no worries over shopping or expense, can just enjoy carols and mulled wine and all the rest of it with no stress smile

Tyranasaurus Fri 08-Nov-13 07:15:41

I do as much as I can online. I usually have a few rough ideas per person and see what the best thing i can find is

I save my points/rewards at various places throughout the year, nectar points, boots points etc so I have a little more to spend.

I always do my research and look online before I go to the shops, though apart from eBay and amazon, I buy in the shops! I love to see the things I'm buying, to physically pick them up and put them in the basket is strangely satisfying!!

lolancurly Fri 08-Nov-13 08:12:30

On my husbands side of the family, they send round specific lists of things for each person, which have already been bought and you just have to pick something and hand over the cash. I hate this! It doesn't give me any scope to be creative and thoughtful and try to get the best deal possible. On my side of the family, I think about Christmas presents all year - in the back of my mind, when the sales are on in places like Cath Kidston during the summer, I pick up little bits and pieces for people as we go through the year. I also shop for vintage items in charity shops as a number of the ladies in my family have a thing for vintage china.
I also like to make things for people - damson gin, home-made truffles and shortbread etc Sometimes I do just buy something I have seen in a sale or on offer and then try to figure out who I can give it to, but I do try to give gifts that will be valued and not tat that will end up straight in the bin!

moonbells Fri 08-Nov-13 08:54:24

I'm a last-minuter. I loathe surprises and prefer a) folk to ask me what I want and b) to tell me what they want. Then I can happily go out with a list or preferably go online. Endless browsing round crowded shops is a layer of hell to me as is trying to work out what to get folk. I don't do shopping at the best of times. I don't want to buy stuff which will be wasted, I'd rather get stuff which is needed/wanted.

DS's main present got click and collected into a local supermarket last night and I shall pick it up tomorrow. I know he's planning on writing to Santa for it and I can get it cheaper now before the inevitable Christmas hiking of toy prices which are almost as bad as hiking holiday prices when schools are out. Everyone else's? Um! Am waiting for someone to have an idea and tell me! We have asked!

Foodwise, we get John Lewis vouchers as cashback from credit cards, and use them to buy most of the fare from Waitrose. It may be more expensive than elsewhere but it is effectively free so we can treat ourselves. We also have Nectar points so we can use those too.

Little things like crackers I get in the week after Christmas when they are ridiculously reduced and then shove in a cupboard for 51 weeks. £15 boxes I'd never normally buy were £3.75 last year. Much better!

spababe Fri 08-Nov-13 09:27:32

I have a list in my diary of everyone I have to buy for, what I think I might get and what I have got (if done) then I know exactly where I am when I am out shopping or shopping online.
Also I make sure to shop online early as deliveries can be delayed nearer Christmas by bad weather

AndHarry Fri 08-Nov-13 14:00:40

I have a list of people to buy for and a plan of what to buy. I usually make the list in October so I can look for deals in the half-term toy sales, the Amazon black Friday flash sale etc. I'll do lots of Internet research to find the best prices before I buy most things but sometimes I'll come across a real bargain that's better than my original idea and I jump on it. I also have relatives living abroad so their presents need to be sent in the first half of November to get there on time.

DH goes shopping on Christmas Eve. His presents are 'interesting' hmm and rarely wrapped!

hunhun007 Fri 08-Nov-13 17:31:33

I start my shopping year before.. yes you are reading it right...
Just after last Christmas we started preparation for this year... we bought lovely high end Christmas pudding after Christmas last year on sale - it cost us 1/10 of the original price and it has almost 2 years best before date
Same with wrapping paper and decorations... I always get it year before
and gifts...
I "hunt" for them all year round... there are always some new items on the wish list which are the latest edition or just come out but most of the things I am able to buy much earlier when I see them on special offer
This way I don't have to spend a huge amount of money in one go.
I like my system.
It works for me.

RosaParksIsBack Fri 08-Nov-13 17:39:32

I shop all year, starting in the January sales for wrapping paper and staples.

I use camelcamelcamel to track prices at Amazon and get email alerts when the price of an item drops to what I want to pay. You can also use it to track the price though the year and see whether the latest 'offer' is actually that good - I just used it to buy the Playmobil Hotel (RRP around £100) for £66.

MSE is brilliant for linking to flash sales on Amazon as well, it's a lifesaver.

lissieloo Fri 08-Nov-13 17:42:12

I also shop all year. I have a strict budget and I make sure I stick to it. I write a list with the max price I want to pay for something and save a few quid each week to do my presents shop.

gwencooper81 Fri 08-Nov-13 17:45:59

I start buying in the summer holidays to spread the cost. I also check prices online before buying.
I save my Tesco points and double them up to buy electrical items .
I like to buy from independent crafters to make a gift unique, these are often found on Facebook.
I Google voucher codes and discounts. Argos 342 is a lifesaver!

DinoSnores Fri 08-Nov-13 17:58:58

I make a list of everyone. With my siblings, once you have children, you don't get presents any more so we each just buy for our nieces and nephews. We give to and receive from our parents. I try to think ahead about what to get as presents and get them as I see them.

In terms of food, I use a veg box for Christmas day veg as that gives me about the right amount of everything.

jennifercrafting Fri 08-Nov-13 18:02:48

I start my Christmas shopping in the January sales! I then gradually buy presents throughout the year to spread the cost. I could not afford to buy all my presents in November/December.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 08-Nov-13 18:19:30

Amazon Black Friday is brilliant for impulse purchases that are then allotted a recipient afterwards.

Beccie77 Fri 08-Nov-13 18:32:47

I buy as many birthday and Christmas presents from Boots in the 3 for 2 sale that starts just before Christmas - they are just as quick on delivery, and normally come just before, if not, they go for birthday presents for the year up into the cupboard. I buy on a 'Cash back' site, and collect points that way, and you also get the boots points so you get a double win. Every three years or so I get enough points that it pays for the fourth years' gifts!
I also do the Argos 3 for 2, even if some of them go up for birthdays and don't make it to Christmas. I make my own hampers as the stuff that's in them you can usually get for cheaper from B&M and Home Bargains, or the local supermarket, and that way you can spread the cost across more weeks. Tesco offers usually make it cheaper to get chocolates and things for those in the run up to Christmas, and I always get the free magazine on the way in, as there is usually an extra voucher in there to get another discount.

10thingsihateaboutpoo Fri 08-Nov-13 18:34:59

I think it's definitely cheaper the more organised you are. I keep a b-day/xmas gift list and picks things up when i see them, be that in the jan sales or nearer to xmas.

And for food we make a list and stick to it, otherwise you end up buying stuff because it's tempting not because you need it.

mamof3boys Fri 08-Nov-13 18:47:37

I try to be organised. I sell unwanted items on eBay to raise a bit of extra cash that goes into a separate bank account for Christmas. I try to find any discount codes and make sure that I get the best deal. Online shopping makes it much easier to do this.

I've started keeping lists of what I've got as with three children it's all too easy to forget and then go overboard.

We do try to budget, especially as my husband is self-employed and so we need to cover his time off work over Christmas too. It can get difficult, but we just want our children to enjoy it so we manage. We don't buy much for each other and just focus on the children. We also try not to spend too much on food and drink, and just get what we need.

DoctorGilbertson Fri 08-Nov-13 19:08:48

I do like to buy early so that I know that the cost isn't going to come as a big shock.

My only hint is the list from the mumsnet Christmas bargains thread as I did buy a couple of these offers ...

Oh and all my relatives have had the same Christmas card for the past 5 years as for some now lost in the mists of time reason DH and I bought 400 of them after Christmas that year.

It's quite a nice design, but it is exactly the same every year. I have asked a couple of people who have claimed not to notice, but I do wonder what they think.

katiewalters Fri 08-Nov-13 20:16:29

For my nieces and nephews I will ask their parents what to get them. For my kids I ask and growth ideas from catalogues, online etc. once I know what I want, I will check out all the places that sell it and buy it from the one that's the cheapest. Amazon tends to be cheaper, so use them a lot. Also I try to buy things when on offer, such as toys 3 for 2 etc

MoogDroog Fri 08-Nov-13 21:05:32

I'm a bit of a panic buyer for everybody but my dc's. With them I'm super organised and always look around for the best deal. I use cashback sites where possible and always look for a code to get money off if I can. It really makes a difference.

choccyp1g Fri 08-Nov-13 21:23:14

When I was younger I used to buy lots of stuff that I loved and then share it out among the various recipients. After a few years I realised that I was buying a devore scarf for SOMEONE every year, so I changed tack, and bought one for myself!
Now I think more about what suits the people. For family who I am less close to, I do keep a list every year, as otherwise you can become the aged auntie who gives gloves every year!

For small children I send cheques and/or buy vouchers for the parents to spend. This is because when DS was small I never got to choose his style as so many Aunties used to send him clothes.

My other trick is to buy hardback books; and read them myself first!

Iggity Fri 08-Nov-13 22:22:50

I always buy online and use the site where I buy the present to send it as I live in a different country to friends and family. I don't really shop arpund for deals. I tend to buy all children same or similar presents from one website e.g. books and really only buy for adults in my family i.e. My immediate family and generally I give them money rather than trying to choose something.

goldenretriever Sat 09-Nov-13 08:21:47

I leave things to the last minute and only buy people what they want. I don't spoil the kids as they are spoilt by others. I don't stress about it as I am not a worrying type.

I am almost done this year thanks to an epic amount of bargain shopping and good luck. I never know what to get for my big brother though he is always left till last.

4yoniD Sat 09-Nov-13 09:31:34

Organized Christmas (website) sorted me out a few years ago. I have a Christmas Book which includes a present list, carried over each year, budget and notes on what worked and what didn't on previous years. Now I know who I need to buy for and how much to spend. I can buy presents during the year when I see something good and tick it off my master list, so I don't need to remember what I have or haven't bought.

December is generally good for special offers on biscuits and chocolates but often worst for prices on presents and wine. And obviously January is best for wrapping paper and crackers!

Eve Sat 09-Nov-13 10:20:32

Write a list

Order online

Hotbot Sat 09-Nov-13 11:36:38

Start early. Advent cake dears bgt last year. Buy online, set up a wish list.
Don't buy for adults, on Dhs family.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 09-Nov-13 11:40:03

buy things all year when they are reduced in sales. i am still using stuff I bought in early leaarning centre when they closed 6 years ago, before ds was even born. if you are buying for you own childen, stuff with damaged packaging is ok as you can remove it and just wrap the present. it is a lot less frustrating when they open it too.

keep a list of what you have bought and check the contents of the present cupboard early so that you can top up on the stuff that is not in there.

DragonPaws Sat 09-Nov-13 12:28:11

I start buying for Christmas in the end of the summer sales in August. Presents are all bought by November and so in December I only have food to buy.
I try to buy as many presents in the sales as possible and regularly check the cost of items I have my eye on until they go on offer. I use wish lists (eg on amazon) so it is easier to check the price of items. Also I regularly check money saving forum sales section to find out any new sales.
I have a list to keep track of what I've bought. For the DC I will buy second hand of ebay if item is expensive.

ParkerTheThief Sat 09-Nov-13 12:33:02

I have an ongoing spreadsheet. Whenever I think of something a person on my list would like I add it to the list.
I try and buy throughout the year, sometimes things on the list are carried over from one year to another (if I had lots of ideas for one person I'd get one gift but leave the rest on the list)

HootyMcOwlface Sat 09-Nov-13 13:03:49

I save up reward points to use at Xmas time for food, alcohol, presents. As for what to get people, I've got quite a small family so its not too stressful. I jot down ideas for birthday and Xmas presents in my diary throughout the year as things come up in conversation, then I often buy online to get the cheapest price.
Having said that I do go into the shops when it all gets mad in mid December as I love the atmosphere, and I like to buy little treats to go with the main presents.

Im back again to tell you to look at trading in old electricals , if you upgrade your handset your old one could make you some extra cash towards christmas with some companies if you agree to have an argos voucher you also get a higher amount than you would in cash, also grainger games offer a much higher part exchange ( a balance to be spent at grainger games) than they do cash which is handy if you were buying from there anyway!

nextphase Sat 09-Nov-13 14:27:58

Tesco clubcard vouchers doubled up make for cheaper presents.
Stockings for small kids have fun stuff bulked out with "essentials" like socks, but usually a price bracket up form normal - so patterns rather than basics plain ones.
For the kids presents, we went to Argos 2 for £15, and looked what would suit the kids on the list, and then bought it all with the gift swap for £5 off every £35 - so switched a toy, got a £5, spent over £50, got another £5 voucher, switched another toy, and then spent the last £45, with £10 off.

For the kids, we don't worry about balancing the prices - if someone needs an expensive present one year, and the other just wants jigsaws, thats that happens - it balances out over the years.

tinypumpkin Sat 09-Nov-13 14:51:08

Repeating what others have said I think but:

1. Early Christmas shopping. Grab a bargain when you see it.
2. Devise a spreadsheet with everyone to buy for on it. Note what is bought and cost. Stops me forgetting who I have already bought for (either double buying or missing people out).
3. Quidco all the way
4. Home bargains etc for stocking fillers etc for the children
5. Nose at people's wish lists on amazon and then shop around as cheaper prices for items elsewhere often.

YoniRotten Sat 09-Nov-13 15:49:49

I shop around a lot before any purchase of more than say, a fiver. And do most of my shopping online, it's so easy to price compare. I use voucher codes wherever available. I buy enough to qualify for free shipping, and store anything for later use if I don't need it immediately.

CheeryCherry Sat 09-Nov-13 17:17:57

Lists lists lists! And start early...that way I can be looking out for bargains and offers. I keep a notebook from year to year so I don't buy the same items each year for the neighbours/great Aunts etc!
I use my nectar points and Tesco points to buy gifts, have just ordered 3 tops and some slippers for free (well, sort of) from Tesco, plus some Thorntons chocolates. Very pleased!

I've been so much more organised this year due to been on maternity leave: more time; less money.
The best thing I've done is buy a second hand dolls house for DD and I've had many happy hours after bedtime 'pimping' it up with off cuts, haberdashery etc. it now looks like her room! Cost not important i think, personalising is way more important. That takes time.

florencebabyjo Sat 09-Nov-13 18:04:24

Ebay is great for cut price often new toys and clothes. For food shopping, I make a list and buy a couple of things each week and keep in a cupboard.

Maiyakat Sat 09-Nov-13 19:19:22

Decide early what you want to buy, then keep an eye out for sales, 3 for 2 offers, bonus points offers etc (even better if you can combine these!) Use voucher codes and top cash back or quidco.

missorinoco Sat 09-Nov-13 20:36:07

Have an idea of how much you want to spend on each person. I start looking early to spread out the cost; it also means I catch early sales, although they drag them out for longer now.

If relatives are going to visit you pre Xmas, make sure you have your gift in for them to save postage; the ones who turned up on the first week of December caught me out once.

sabretiggr Sat 09-Nov-13 21:44:58

I try to work out what each person will want in advance and then hit the (online) high street. Use reward cards where possible, and a cash back credit card, I find I end up saving money overall... And never have to waste a day or two in the shops queuing and waiting!

janekirk Sat 09-Nov-13 22:35:17

I always plan to pick up some bargains in the January sales but like the majority of people my finances become stretched by that time. Pre christmas I always google the items I'm looking for.

Lurleene Sat 09-Nov-13 23:06:39

Don't go over the top buying in food -people seem to buy food like they are preparing for a siege but the big shops are only shut for a couple of days and there will usually be a local shop open on Christmas Day for at least the morning in case of emergency.

I buy bits throughout the year to spread the cost & to avail of bargains when I see stuff on sale. I keep an eye on sites like Hot Deals and Groupon as well as the Xmas bargain threads on MN!

ataraxia Sun 10-Nov-13 00:54:01

Where possible with friends we go for low-cost but high-fun gift options such as pound store challenge (e.g. £5 to buy 5 items - weirdest/biggest/best value or whatever agreed theme is).

With family, I use internet to look for ideas and compare prices. High street if it gets too last minute!

I keep track of annual events, Sainsbury's/Tesco/Amazon/ELC etc for toys/electricals.

I also save my club card and nectar points until Christmas towards gifts/food.

I use quidco or top cash back every time I shop online too.

I usually make a list and think of a suitable present for each person before I start shopping.
I start around November time and pick up bits that I find in the sales and shop online for specific items.
We only buy for the children in the family which really helps keep costs down and means we have that bit extra to all spoil our own children. After all its really all about the kids! I couldn't care what I get I just love seeing my little ones faces when they open their presents.
If there was a specific item I wanted for one person I would spend ages tracking it down. I also tend to make a lot of my Christmas gifts, decorated cakes, cushions, pinnies - that kind of thing which definitely saves lots of money.

FrantasticO Sun 10-Nov-13 10:43:59

I know in the main what I want to by and use comparison sites and camelcamelcamel .
Have joined quidco and topcashback
Follow reasties thread and picked up some great bargains!
Look at hduk and mse
Food shop is harder as they eat it!
Have started to put by extra bits and freezer is filling.
Couldn't afford it all off one pay its just too much.

I love christmas though!

starlight36 Sun 10-Nov-13 11:24:55

For the first time we bought Christmas cards and gift tags in the sales last year and got good quality cards for a bargain price.

I also picked up a few bargain toys which we put aside. Reastie's bargain thread has also helped a lot - particularly with some great books. The 3 for 2 sales at Boots using advantage points stored during the year has also helped.

For food bargains I stock up on biscuits and chocolates when we see them. For the last few years we have bought turkey crowns, rather than a whole turkey, which drastically cuts the lunch budget. We also buy prosecco and wine /beer whenever there is a good deal on.

woodchuck Sun 10-Nov-13 11:26:21

I also try to stay out of the shops as i only buy mmore than I need, with all those tempting displays which leads to budget disaster. I tend to shop online, and usually get only what i need using a list. I also collect loyalty points and rewards such as tesco Clubcard, nectar, advantage card and Topcashback to get a few extra little treats for Christmas. I like to hit the shops with my vouchers and bring home a couple of bags of bits that cost nothing.

Saying that i do love the shops at Christmas and used to do a big shopping day out to one of the big retail centres. i just can't afford to do that anymore so have to plan much more carefully. I usually shop for Christmas from my October, November and December paydays to spread the cost. DH gets a small bonus in Novemvber which gets the kids pressies and means I don't end up owing anything on my credit cards after Christmas.

melmo26 Sun 10-Nov-13 12:17:11

We start present shopping in Oct so by the time Xmas comes we are not running around trying to find everything at once. We always go to shops, hardly ever do present shopping online. We like to see first hand what we are buying.

For food shopping we have a seperate chest freezer we only use for Christmas food. We start putting bits and pieces in at the start of November. We always end up with too much food for the day smile

Meanderer Sun 10-Nov-13 13:25:27

..buy bargains throughout the year as and when I see them and especially in January sales.

MissRee Sun 10-Nov-13 13:55:32

Amazon Black Friday deals are where I buy most of my Christmas presents grin crazy discounts!

AtticusMcPlatypus Sun 10-Nov-13 15:50:59

I do most of my shopping online and search for vouchers/glitches/offers first. I also use loyalty points and vouchers for presents. Tesco Boost has really helped out this year. I also keep an eye on HotUKDeals and MSE for deals.

Hate the stress of real shopping at Xmas so unless i absolutely have to force myself to a shopping centre, all my purchases are online and I find this helps to control the budget and its much easier to resist a lot of the festive crap stuff that is churned out by the barrel load at this time of year.

feelingcalm Sun 10-Nov-13 17:43:08

I have found Reastie's thread sooo helpful

DH has converted some of his wages to Sainsbury's vouchers - so our food shop is 10% off.

We still have some Tesco vouchers left from pre-Sainsbury days, so we'll be doubling them up to get the DCs some toys.

I use Quidco everywhere I can. I plan to never pay RRP.

I have a list of people I am buying for and I spend hours surfing for ideas and then looking for the best prices.

This year we are doing up DS's bedroom to make it into a proper boys room - some of the extra accessories (which I would have bought anyway) will be appearing as Christmas presents to bulk out the number of presents he gets to unwrap. TBH I often slip in some presents that I would have bought anyway (new PJs, pants etc.) to add to the mound of wrapping paper.

I buy wrapping paper and labels in the January sales.

NotCitrus Sun 10-Nov-13 18:15:29

If you're going to buy food/drink/toiletries type generic gifts for people you aren't going to see until after Christmas, buy them after Christmas. Ditto most of your food and drink for the festive period.

And just don't over-buy. Unless you risk being snowed in.

whattodoo Sun 10-Nov-13 20:05:24

I have a list of people I need to buy for. Start early(ish), Aug/Sept and pick up things as and when I see them. Or find ideas then look online to get them cheaper.
I use reward deals (such as clubcard boost) and special event such as Sainsburys toy sale.
I then generally have one day in a shopping centre, finishing up all those gifts I've yet to find. Looking at the stores for inspiration but mostly getting ratty and frustrated.
I'm usually still panic-shopping for the sticking right up until the last minute.

IAlwaysThought Sun 10-Nov-13 20:08:33

I put a LOT Of time and thought into getting presents. I use MN bargain threads, Money Saving Expert bargain threads and HotDeals. I don't buy anything unless I actually want it.

I don't buy stuff just for the sake of it. I can afford to spend what I like but I hate to be wasteful so I only want yo buy things people will like and use.
I keep receipts just in case I am wrong. I won't buy for companies with a poor returns policy.

I generally shop online but if I am in a store I will double check the online price. I don't mind paying a little more in shops though.

We spread the cost throughout the year - we keep an eye out for bargains here and on MSE forums and then put them away. We need to get better at making a list of what we actually have, though.

With my parents and my grandparents, we recommend them things to buy for the children. We know what they have and what their current interests are, and if we can't think of anything they are happy to send a cheque for the bank accounts instead, or they buy one of the gifts we have bought already. It's much easier, we find that the toys all get played with for a long time (rather than used a couple of times and forgotten) and it limits the amount of tat stuff we have lurking in the house.

Pumpkintopf Sun 10-Nov-13 20:50:17

Agree with earlier posters -
- start early, gives time to find the best bargains and reduces the risk of the dc's must have toy being oos and you then having to pay £££ for it on ebay been there
- I do make a list of everyone I have to buy for, then jot down ideas next to their name and tick off once I've bought, and once pressie has arrived (if online shopping). This avoids the situation of getting all the presents out on Christmas eve and wondering who the hell I bought that for yes, been there too
- definitely google for codes for money off and the bargain thread here is fab!

caramelapple Sun 10-Nov-13 21:09:32

The biggest part of my Christmas is thinking about how someone will feel when I give them their present and spending as much time with my loved ones as possible.

I will ask friends and family if there is something special they would like and then hone my ideas down to two each. The internet is a wonderful way of finding the best prices for presents and I will pick the item that is right. I don't actually buy the presents until a week before the big day because that is when I feel most Christmassy. As well as this working in a London department store means I can get the best deals and get them gift wrapped all at once.

With the food shopping I am much more prepared, every week for the two months before we add in items that will be part of the festivities like the meats, chestnuts, goose fat, fish, biscuits and chocolates. This is a great idea for two reasons it is cheaper with earlybird deals and it means less stress in the week of Christmas.

grannybiker Sun 10-Nov-13 22:26:21

If you're super-organised and buy pressies during the year when they're on offer / MSE announce a glitch, DON'T forget where you've hidden them, or be so chuffed at getting a present you know your loved one will adore that you can't resist giving it to them early... Slinks off in shame

prwilson Sun 10-Nov-13 22:56:29

Work out your budget, work out what you can get for that budget that is suitable, then search around for the best deal. Don't forget Cashback sites to shave a few more pounds off.

glennamy Sun 10-Nov-13 23:05:59

Set a budget and they do comparisons online for the cheapest...

Ganne Sun 10-Nov-13 23:12:50

Start early. Stockpile prizes. Have a nice safe secure hidey-hole. Plan ahead. Enter lots of competitions. Read Mumsnet for more advice!

nikstew Sun 10-Nov-13 23:19:01

I tend to do the majority of my shopping online for various reasons, the main one being you can usually find it much cheaper than on the High Street. I also go through a cashback site for all my purchases and over the lad couple of years I have made £1500+ by doing this. It really is 'money for nothing'!

lizd31 Sun 10-Nov-13 23:44:34

I look out for my favourite items when they're on offer, either BOGOF or 2 for 3 etc then stock up so I never run out & get them at the best possible price

wingobins Sun 10-Nov-13 23:47:39

I enter as many competitions as possible for presents that my kids would love throughout the year. If I win it's a bonus and one less thing to worry about! I look out for bargains at the start of the year to put away and tend to share the cost with family members on 3for2 etc. as for food, I buy what I need to buy at Xmas and not go overboard on stuff that will go to waste and I freeze what I don't use if I can.

rainbowvalley Sun 10-Nov-13 23:48:41

I buy bargains I see during the year and also take advantage of offers where you buy one get one free etc. Some items have a good expiry date and it is not as if they eat any bread or cheese, so I am happy to bring them home! Some items are bought in the January Sales the previous year, if they are not perishable items. I also do competitions throughout the year which brings a few bits and sometimes, I buy shopping vouchers throughout the year as and when I can afford them, which is handy to top up presents or if you get unexpected extra visitors over the festive period you can write them a card and give them some vouchers!

helenthemadex Sun 10-Nov-13 23:53:37

I write a list of what I want to buy and also what I have already bought its easy to overspend because you forget what you have already bought. I research online for the best prices and use Moneysavingexpert and hotdeals to try and get the best prices

custardo Sun 10-Nov-13 23:57:07

ebay is my best friend - i can get it delivered to somewhere else.

hate shopping

Happyjad Sun 10-Nov-13 23:57:48

I shop around on line and note the best deals on food and if there are foods which can be frozen, I stock up on those in my freezer. I take advantage of deals such as buy 1 get 1 free and a couple of months before Christmas, I often look in the shops for some bargains. I do competitions which brings a lot of bits and pieces throughout the year which I can use for Christmas and birthday presents. I sometimes buy gifts by bidding for them on e-bay if they are new and unused. I also recycle some presents given to me!

smolaki Mon 11-Nov-13 00:02:58

I really get a huge amount of joy and hapiness when I see my favorites to open my gifts and Christmas is a great opportunity...........

angell74 Mon 11-Nov-13 00:16:51

I try to make lists throughout the year of things I think people will like then keep my eye open for bargains throughout the year.

I try to buy on-line because it easier to compare prices and find discount codes ... I try not to leave it too late though because delivery becomes more of an issue as you get closer to Christmas and savings can be wiped out by expensive delivery charges,

snowbean Mon 11-Nov-13 00:33:37

We have a strict budget for both food and presents, and I buy gifts throughout the year whenever I spot a suitable bargain!

seanbean Mon 11-Nov-13 00:40:12

The key is to spread the cost - start buying presents on an opportunity basis early. We start buying ours in the post Christmas sales (some great bargains to be had) and throughout the year. Come Christmas it's all done - and more importantly - paid for!

kateandme Mon 11-Nov-13 03:01:48

dont wait until christmas season.if i see something i get it because the price can sometimes be lower when they dont want it to seel as a present.
quidco for if they want mobiles or bigger items.
online food shopping is very helpful.and better for not getting carried away by isles of chrismtas goodies.
starting a xmas shelf in the cupbarod to put jars of sauce,non perishable etc.
amazon are great.and i try to wait until there are a few items i want so i dont get charged delivery fee over and over.
chekcing amazon against play.com too as that can have offers.
check comparison sites for big items.espceically technology.making sure you have a made thew right choice is important.

bdeegan597 Mon 11-Nov-13 03:51:28

go online to check prices before hitting the highstreet

TracyKNixon Mon 11-Nov-13 04:53:50

I start my shopping early then use a supermarket price comparison for my food shopping. I also use comparison sites for gifts too - to check which stores, either online or offline sell the items I want at the cheapest price. I also use coupons and discount vouchers and I save points throughout the year on my Sainsbury's Nectar card and put a £1 a week on my Iceland card - then spend at Christmas!

Vals2402 Mon 11-Nov-13 06:22:07

I always shop around for the best prices and ifi see something throughout the year I'll get it

renas Mon 11-Nov-13 07:12:00

Make sure you just take money with you that you can afford to spend, leave your credit cards at home that way you won't be tempted to go over drawn it's so easy to get caught up in the festive spirit and after Xmas when your credit card bill lands on your mat you will regret it if you have run up a Huge bill on your card.

redfuchsia Mon 11-Nov-13 07:12:34

I Christmas shop from October onwards and use my loyalty store points built up over the year. Other gifts are bought on impulse but I rarely stray from the same few shops and generally try to either use a discount card or get more loyalty points.

puczinix Mon 11-Nov-13 07:21:26

Start stocking up on food and presents early and I'm also more likely to shop around and visit discount retailers like Aldi and Lidl.

Pud1234 Mon 11-Nov-13 07:23:10

Always write a list of names, budget and ideas. Always stick to the budget. Look in sales for bargains. Compare prices on the internet. Use the topcashback site when buying online to get cash back on purchases. Don't just go and buy, you'll always find it cheaper elsewhere.

Shellsterooney Mon 11-Nov-13 07:24:27

shop everywhere for food and gifts and know your prices so you know if something's a good deal - last year i got alot of the kids pressies from charity shops, good stuff with the added bonus of being greener and easier for them to get into when unwrapping because all of the packaging had gone!

sassy165 Mon 11-Nov-13 07:36:25

Listen.....people will give you clues without realising it. Then go online and see if you can find what you want, if not get wrapped up against our inclement weather and get out there!

maryandbuzz1 Mon 11-Nov-13 07:37:38

I write a list and then research online. Depending on what the present is I might then buy online or look at the article on the high street and decide whether to buy or go home and order.

jojopo Mon 11-Nov-13 07:39:21

Every year I start Christmas present shopping in February to get hold of the best bargains throughout the year to ensure my kids get the best of what I can afford for them

watsoa Mon 11-Nov-13 07:42:17

I have a reasonably good idea of what the people I buy gifts for would like to have so I start shopping early (September'ish) when you have more chance of being able to get what you want to buy. I also use 'loyalty points' where possible whenever they are giving double exchange value for them - this can save lots of cash.

Roraima Mon 11-Nov-13 07:44:46

I Christmas shop at the end of Christmas for next year. End of the season is where my savings come from. I've also got the loyalty point of my cards to rely on. If all this fails I shop around for the best bargain. I keep on the move for good buys all the time!

SaltySeaBird Mon 11-Nov-13 07:46:09

I have a spreadsheet with a list of who I need to buy for. I then have columns for ideas / costs and then a brought / received / wrapped / delivered to recipient. Being organised does help me keep a check on my spending so that it doesn't get out of control.

I mainly shop online but we do also do one big Christmas shop session where we pick up bits and browse for inspiration too.

I do wish I started earlier though, I tend to start last week of November.

marcc82 Mon 11-Nov-13 07:54:01

If your not seeing someone/family until after Christmas then buy their presents in the sales after Christmas - you will save loads and they will never know!

pootler Mon 11-Nov-13 08:04:37

One of the best ways I save money is by not buying presents for EVERYONE. My family plays a dice game on Christmas day in which we roll to win presents. Everyone buys three gifts for the game, costing no more than £10 each. That means that everyone in the family get three presents, but nobody has to spend more than £30. It's fun and a good way to bond too.

I save a little every month throughout the year for Christmas and birthday gifts.

I decide in early Autumn what to get everyone and watch ebay and Amazon for the best prices.

If I see something I know someone would like at a good price, earlier in the year, I get it and put it away.

I start seriously buying gifts in September. I usually have everything bought and wrapped by mid December.

I put my accrued cashback (from topcashback.co.uk) towards larger gifts.

If I know someone wants an expensive item, I may buy it second hand. I'd let them know of course and give them the choice between say, a second hand ipad, or a new Huddl.

I almost never buy on the high street - it leads to impulse buys and overspending. They almost never have what I want in stock anyway. Buying online means that I know I'm getting the best deal.

katelo10 Mon 11-Nov-13 08:17:53

We do secret Santa with some of the family so we are allocated 1 person, that way, we can spend a little more to get a great present rather than wasting money on pointless things.
We also chose to go to centre parcs as a family, the cost of this was put present to each other.

maemaesmummy Mon 11-Nov-13 08:17:54

I decide in advance what gifts I am buying then stick to the list, I also use the internet to search out the best price for the items and look for any money off offers too

diane56 Mon 11-Nov-13 08:18:22

I always check online before shopping.I love me and my Hubby making a day of shopping,just us two with a nice lunch.Try and do it all in one day.

lorna1104 Mon 11-Nov-13 08:22:50

i buy items on offer thoughout the year and put them away ,also go thought the christmas book and if i see an item i compare online to see if it cheaper elsewhere x

bil93 Mon 11-Nov-13 08:36:06

thank for sharing, i often buy online uk voucher codes at http://hot-voucher.co.uk/

26jibby Mon 11-Nov-13 08:38:40

I look to buy presents from October onwards. I do have a list and then try to stick to it. I try and plan before I go shopping what I want for each person.

abigailflo Mon 11-Nov-13 08:41:39

I do online surveys throughout the year and get paid in high street vouchers or paypal which I save towards Christmas which is a great help

lfc4eva Mon 11-Nov-13 08:48:33

I always leave it late, always saying I will do it early the following year but never do. I do allocate what each person will get and then go searching the net for money off codes, check different cash back sites to get the best bargains I can. I always buy loads of silly stocking fillers too.

finleypop Mon 11-Nov-13 09:00:28

I buy as much as I can through the year, starting with the January sales. I make sure not to buy early for the fussier recipients, as it could be a costly mistake, something which I know they would love in April, they may hate by December!
When I have my list of gifts for people that I still have to buy for, I then hit the moneysaving & voucher websites, to see if I can trim some more off the cost

southernsun Mon 11-Nov-13 09:02:35

We start shopping early and are on the look out for bargains/deals from September onwards which helps spread the cost plus gives us more time to look for the best deals. For the adults in the family we set a budget and put the money together and then make hampers which include food, cosmetics and little keepsakes our son makes. This allows us to buy stuff when its on offer or multibuys. This year we allowed £100 to make 5 hampers and so far we have only spent £30 and they are almost finished and look great.

Elletee71 Mon 11-Nov-13 09:02:37

Have a budget and stick to it. Search online for the best price for your items ... but most of all enjoy it!

badgermum Mon 11-Nov-13 09:06:00

Start planning as early as possible, I set a budget for each person then look for ideas suited to them and within budget, compare prices online, and most importantly dont leave it until the last minute when you end up paying more.

glowgirl Mon 11-Nov-13 09:08:50

Think what you want for each person and stick to it, discount codes are your best friend smile

CathBookworm Mon 11-Nov-13 09:18:04

I start looking for presents in early November, and will check prices online to see the cheapest place to buy them. I cashback sites to save a bit of money too.

Chopstheduck Mon 11-Nov-13 09:20:36

I keep an eye on discounts posted online, buy any bargains, stash them in the loft and then worry about who is having it later! It's really handy too for last minute birthday party invites, etc. Then when it comes to Christmas, I go up there and choose a selection to gift. The stash never runs completely empty and I only have to worry about the children's main presents nearer the time.

lovelykins Mon 11-Nov-13 09:33:08

I plan what I want to buy, then monitor on-line and when shopping to see when there is a genuine price reduction. If I think it is about the best I'm going to get, I buy it.

I don't spend my time worrying that it isn't the best price. If I see it cheaper later on, well you can't time any market!

girlybags Mon 11-Nov-13 09:33:24

I save so much a month all year round in a seperate bank account. This means that if I see something I know someone will like or if I spot a bargain I can buy it without worrying about the money.

Usually I start in the summer and will have an idea of what to buy for each person. I can then bargain hunt for each present and use websites like Hot UK Deals and Money Saving Expert

qwerty123qwerty Mon 11-Nov-13 09:35:56

Use shopping forums like UKHOTDEALS etc to make sure I get the best price for things, have saved my Sainsburys points all year to help with the big shop. TKMaxx and Home Sense are great for getting things cheaper.

halfthesize Mon 11-Nov-13 09:47:59

I use forums like Hot uk deals, love Amazon daily deals and black fridays. I also try to spread out the food shopping so it does not hit us so hard at the last minute.

I always write a list/have a budget for presents and stick to them.

All Tesco vouchers are saved via the Christmas club so they can be used to save costs.

jools401 Mon 11-Nov-13 09:53:55

start early, pay attention to comments from people throughout the year to get an idea of presents they will like and shop around for the best prices using a mixture of the internet and the high street.

jillwebb Mon 11-Nov-13 10:22:12

I save money all through the year and try and buy as I see something that people will like as I go along. lists are important and I do try to stick to that, But I allow a bit of money for extra bits. I also make things for family and friends

shellywkd Mon 11-Nov-13 10:24:50

I always start early and allocate an amount of money per month towards Christmas so I can spread the cost.

suewho Mon 11-Nov-13 10:27:14

I look online and in magazines for ideas and then start to buy presents from October onwards - always searching for the best price before actually buying.

Gbear0382 Mon 11-Nov-13 10:31:43

Self-confessed panic-buyer I'm afraid!

aless02 Mon 11-Nov-13 10:31:47

shop around as there's always loads of sales in the run up to Christmas. Definitely keep an eye on HotUKDeals as sometimes things will only last 24 hours!

julieef Mon 11-Nov-13 10:41:28

I start at the beginning of the year, and when I see an item in the sales or on offer, and I know I want that item for a member of my family then I will buy it, after checking on the internet for the best possible price

MikeLitoris Mon 11-Nov-13 10:48:28

Check hotukdeals daily this time of year.
Never buy anything before checking prices online.
Lists list and more lists. Most importantly stick to the list!
For food I start buying non perishables in Oct. When I do the weekly shop I buy a box of chocolates or some tins or a bottle of something. No need for a big xmas shop then.
I save all year with a voucher scheme. Im rubbish at saving so this works for me. I start in October for the next year and save £50 a month. Vouchers come te next November.

hiddenmichelle Mon 11-Nov-13 11:29:25

I shop around online for stuff first and then get a very organised list together before hitting the high street

createbeauty Mon 11-Nov-13 11:33:50

I Christmas shop for the next year starting in the January sales and pick up more presents throughout the year.

carriecomp Mon 11-Nov-13 11:39:47

I usually have a rough idea what to buy people for Christmas, I make a list and have a budget to stick to. I always use comparison websites and research online to ensurre Im buying at the lowest prices and getting the best deals.

montiefletcher Mon 11-Nov-13 11:58:09

I start my present shopping early, I keep looking on the internet checking latest deals, 3 for 2 etc, and comparison sites for the best prices. Using moneysavingexpert is also useful

gazzalw Mon 11-Nov-13 11:58:56

I would say shop around, particularly with foodie things for Christmas. Keep an open mind whilst sticking to your budget. We tend to go to Sainbury's, Waitrose, Lidl, Tesco, Morrison's, M&S and Asda to get together a truly eclectic variety of food! Lidl is brilliant for some very smart-looking, delicious dinner party items (including the wine!) at knock-down prices. Don't be snobby about where you shop just what you buy....There's cheap, good quality items in all the supermarkets...

Also, if you shop near closing times in the run-up to Christmas you can often pick up brilliant bargains (including meat joints!) to put in the freezer. And don't forget going to your local market for fruit and veg too - so much cheaper and there tends to be a bit more Christmas Cheer in a market than a supermarket...

iut044 Mon 11-Nov-13 12:25:44

I Look on price comparison sites before I leave home to make sure that I get the lowest price.

upsydaisydont Mon 11-Nov-13 12:30:23

I try to bargain buy right throughout the year,its surprising how much cheaper you will find certain items. It also takes the pressure off during the festive shopping ritual.

pennwood Mon 11-Nov-13 12:47:09

I do paid on line surveys and save the gift vouchers to use to purchase gifts for Christmas presents using price comparison sites to achieve the best prices

Alidoll Mon 11-Nov-13 13:14:27

I try and buy little things throughout the year and keep a note on an excel spreadsheet of what I've bought and who I can give the item to. Means that by the start of December I've bought about 90% of the presents I need.

layla1979 Mon 11-Nov-13 13:39:32

I always buy through out the year when there are sales or offers

Ikea1234 Mon 11-Nov-13 14:12:19

We shop throughout the year, and things that have a long date or no date I buy in the January sales (eg- Xmas puds, crackers and wrapping paper) I then save our Nectar points and clubcard vouchers all year and use them to buy the big food /booze shop as well as some presents for people (like books, cd's and hampers) it's very satisfying to wheel a trolley out of the supermarket and only have paid pennies for it and the rest in Nectar points!

Loubsiez Mon 11-Nov-13 14:13:17

I buy early, throughout the year in fact, whenever i see anything in a deal that would be ideal for someone i snap it up and hide it away for Christmas.

BadlyWrittenPoem Mon 11-Nov-13 14:14:25

I buy all year round whenever I come across things which suit a particular person. January sales are great as is the MN Christmas bargains thread.

Follow the MN Xmas bargain threads...Reastie must've saved us all a fortune by now!

callkiki Mon 11-Nov-13 14:21:23

I tend to plan out what I want to give to each person and then spend a lot of time researching on the internet before purchasing. I do tend to save up all year long so that nothing goes on credit cards and we usually have everything paid for, wrapped and ready to go weeks before Christmas so we don't impulse buy items at the last minute.

StarryEyed50 Mon 11-Nov-13 14:24:59

I guy gifts early on, especially for my boys. If I can find them on offer, all the better.
I buy wrapping paper, cards, decorations etc in the sales after Christmas so I don't have to worry about them or how much they'll be next time.
Most of the food will be bought with supermarket vouchers.
I also shop Boots 3for2 gifts in the sales with points so I can get good bargains for smellies.
I always use a cashback site if I'm buying online and use a comparison site to check I'm getting the best deal.

happysouls Mon 11-Nov-13 14:37:23

I spread the cost over November and December, buying gradually, using coupons and shopping around. I look up comparisons of prices on the internet before buying larger items. But I think the biggest and best saving is just by not buying much extra! Meal plans and treats are only slightly adapted for Christmas and we don't buy many presents. Its just not necessary and not what its all about for us.

brocher Mon 11-Nov-13 14:43:47

Buy things as and when I see a good deal, have an idea for what I want for each person and try to get the best price possible. I put some money away on a separate debit account during the year which is only for presents and emergencies, so everything doesn't come out of my main account and give me a shock.

cootuk Mon 11-Nov-13 15:29:07

Some people are spur of the moment, but bigger items I pricecheck and look/wait for the best deal.

Fillybuster Mon 11-Nov-13 15:40:33

I start buying things in the January sales...normally just little things for my own dcs (like 'fancy' scarves/hats/gloves that I wouldn't normally consider buying), then try to pick up nice cosmetics/wash stuff/cook books etc in the summer sales.

Apart from that, its a bit more ad hoc, but MN is always a good place to start: it's a great source of inspiration, reviews and suggestions for tricky dh family members. I'm enormously grateful to the MN Christmas bargains threads as there are some brilliant bargains to be found on them grin and to the discount codes topic....!

rachelmccraith Mon 11-Nov-13 16:11:12

I get a rough idea in my head of what I'd like to buy people (eg I might think Barbie, but haven't decided what Barbie toy to get) then in October/November I keep my eyes peeled on money saving forums for any deals that people post that I can snap up quickly. I save money, and starting earlier means you won't have the disappointment of shops being sold out

chrin Mon 11-Nov-13 16:57:19

I pick things up throughout the year a bit at a time and save a little every month for larger presents and food but I always have everything done and dusted by the end of November present wise

JoJoY Mon 11-Nov-13 17:06:22

I always know what I'm going to buy early then look for it on offer from September onwards. I use a combination of online and high street to get the best deals!

FUZZ62 Mon 11-Nov-13 17:23:16

I start looking for what i need to buy in october, first purchase generally made then, then in November i ensure the products like tablets, game consoles etc are bought from black Friday deals on amazon, the only problem with this is you have to know a product but not a specific item. other than that i use UK hotdeals to try and get things that are relivent to the person i am buying for.
All my shopping is done online unless a better deal can be found in store, and as nearly 95% of stores have a website with prices its easier than you think.

snowted77 Mon 11-Nov-13 17:27:53

I spread the shopping out, get a little each month, spreads the cost that way

joanf Mon 11-Nov-13 17:31:00

I start early and buy bits and pieces throughout the year.

Steffanoid Mon 11-Nov-13 17:40:04

I try and pick things up as we're going along, and try and plan things such as home made gifts like oils and spirits as far in advance as possible to allow them to infuse

LonelyGoatherd Mon 11-Nov-13 18:04:10

I make a list, and use quidco when buying online.
I buy presents when I see them - esp on offer - and save them til Christmas. Mainly buy online, as can't think of much worse than crowded shops.

wendybrown Mon 11-Nov-13 18:44:42

careful sifting of comparison web site and strategic use of vouchers and coupons, maximising 'price match' offers from large firms such as john lewis ensures i pay as little as possible for the bigger gifts at christmas.

Gilla01 Mon 11-Nov-13 18:52:05

I do my best to get things throughout the year, but if I'm missing presents for anyone I do tend to panic buy at the last moment.

Oldbiddywilkins Mon 11-Nov-13 18:56:37

I save all year so I don't have to use credit, then I buy bits and pieces during the year (especially if I find things on offer) and put them away. Then I shop around as much as possible.

alsproject Mon 11-Nov-13 19:51:22

I use smartphone apps to scan the barcodes of items that I would like to buy as presents which then compares prices with other shops

M0naLisa Mon 11-Nov-13 20:04:11

I decide what I will buy each person getting a gift then price check against websites where I could buy that item. I usually buy for my children first their main presents then move into the other family members.

JoJoBaldwin Mon 11-Nov-13 20:10:04

I check price comparison sites daily, and the grabbit forums on MSE to take advantage of any sudden price reductions or online glitches. Over the year I build up loyalty points and try to hang on to them till the January sales so I can re-stock my present drawer really cheaply - the Boots 75% off sale is great for this!

jeddentad Mon 11-Nov-13 20:10:32

honestly, I just don't "do" Christmas like that.

My family spends the day together and that's it. No presents, just dinner and company. Dinner doesn't cost all that much more than a normal week's shop, so it's not hard to budget for that. If people want to bring a food or drink to share, it's very welcome. It's been a lovely way to introduce new people to the family. I still remember the home-made spring rolls we had one year!

littleme96 Mon 11-Nov-13 20:50:29

Any Christmas consumables such as wrap, tags, decorations etc are purchased in the January sales.

Gifts are purchased throughout the year. I have an app which lists all of the people that I have to buy for, ideas and budgets and so I buy whenever I see something suitable on offer or when I can get it cheaper using an offer code etc. This means that the cost is spread throughout the year and I don't have to hit the heaving shops in December!

hazelangell Mon 11-Nov-13 20:59:35

I use comparison sites to find the best deals on things I would like to buy. I've bought too many things in the past for top dollar only to find them cheaper elsewhere the next day - it's so frustrating so now I always check around and it saves me so much money.

twinklenic Mon 11-Nov-13 21:02:44

i use coupons throughout the year which can save a lot . i have savings with park hampers that help towards christmas , i get a lot of gifts in the sales and then save with supermarket saving stamps for food shop

mummylonglegsme Mon 11-Nov-13 21:09:53

Find hidden eBay local bargains! Youngers kids especially do not care if it is pre-loved by someone else. Infact a boxless toy is much more practical as you won't need to spend 15 minutes detatching the toy from the packaging with a screwdriver which drives me (and my children nuts)!

cheekychicken24 Mon 11-Nov-13 21:20:27

I never impulse buy. I have a 'Christmas' document on my phone where I keep a list of people I'm buying for and the sort of present I'm looking for, and put an x next to each person/gift as I get it through the year. That way I'm not tempted by something that seems a bargain, but I might have nobody left I need to buy for!

kilcrea Mon 11-Nov-13 21:35:10

Forums like Hot UK Deals are fab for finding deals - have used it for loads of presents for the kids and there seem to be some really good deals at the moment. I do most of my shopping online and tend to buy things when they're on offer, even if that means buying Christmas presents in April!

cheryl100 Mon 11-Nov-13 21:48:18

I buy specific presents for my son according to his list. But for everyone else, I simply buy when I see especially when on offer. I find that the 'quick grabbit' forum of the MSE website details lots of bargains!

VictoriaSt Mon 11-Nov-13 21:57:03

I start by using comparison searches online for big items to see which retailer sells at the cheapest price. I try to start this process early and watch prices fluctuate until they're at an all time low, then buy! I tend to buy online however I do check instore as sometimes there are local deals :D

serin Mon 11-Nov-13 21:59:29

I save £50 a month in a Christmas account and have £600 to spend on the 3 teens.

I don't worry about splitting it evenly at all, last year DS1 got a kayak that was £340, he really, really wanted it and has lived in it all year! This year DS2 is getting an xbox and DD is getting a digital piano (off ebay), DS1 is just getting a cheapo archery set but he understands why!.

It all evens out in the long run.

We also save money by being careful regarding which works do invitations we accept, some of them are extortionate so we make sure we are already busy on those dates. grin

We are lucky that my DM always pays for our National Trust membership for Christmas as we can enjoy free days out all year.

Dh and I rarely buy much for each other, I have everything I could ever want or need in my family and would rather flowers in my hair than diamonds on my fingers anyday!

Cherryjellybean Mon 11-Nov-13 22:25:38

I write a list of people, decide on a budget, then buy things as early as I see them. Most things are bargains, or on sale. There always a few men on the week before Christmas that I have to rush to buy things for.

Racoon0075 Mon 11-Nov-13 22:47:59

I save up all year and fly to New york , I found an amazing discount outlet about an hour outside manhatten it has over 200 stores its amazing , my son is the main one that benefits from my trips as his just 3 , but boy does he have a christmas I go with two empty cases and sometimes buy another one if need be its amazing xxxx

shop online so i don't get tempted by bargains I don't need. I also make homemade gift.

marieangel76 Mon 11-Nov-13 23:02:38

I always make a list and try and stick to it as best I can. I also buy things when on offer if I see something I know someone will like and price check online. I save up my supermarket points/vouchers all year and use them on the Christmas food shop

beb73 Mon 11-Nov-13 23:44:38

I put a lot of thought into giving presants but I am very careful with my money. I shop around, research online and try to get as many offers as possible.

tinkertink2010 Tue 12-Nov-13 02:48:40

If I see a bargain I grab it whether that be in the shop or online!

peanutmum11 Tue 12-Nov-13 02:50:09

Thought and planning are the keys

*I am always thinking if I see a nice 'gift' throughout the year who it would be suitable for. Some just sing their name!!
* Keep a list of what you have (especially with my memory)
* Special deals / will they become treats at Xmas, but only if you hide them to stop the family eating beforehand (problem is your will power)
* don't over-buy, its amazing that you don't need the food mountain !!!
* use your left-overs in exciting ways, so the family do not get sick of turkey!!
*plan your parties / guest visits and use a similar menu, that way there should be less left-overs as you will be buying the same 'extra' type ingredients.
*I do plan my shopping, all the non perishables, tins and packets are bought at the beginning of the month or earlier if possible
* Perishable foods in the last week, if it is possible to prepare them before the 'day' like peel and chop carrots, it will not matter if the vitamins are lost from one meal
*get everyone to plan with you, hopefully you will not buy food no one will eat
*remember the shops are only closed a maximum of 2 days !!!

stewaris Tue 12-Nov-13 06:44:21

I spread the cost throughout the year generally starting in the January sales. I find that if you buy classics they suit just about everyone except stroppy teenagers of course. For them I try and pick up on what they say they like Oct/Nov time and then start trawling the shops for the best deals. A friend and I have boys he same age so we tend to collaborate on any get the second half price deals etc.

Jinty64 Tue 12-Nov-13 08:16:04

I rarely buy anything full price. I save Tesco vouchers, nectar points etc until Christmas. I mostly shop online so that I can compare prices and look for discount codes and I shop through quidco.

jeniferjamie Tue 12-Nov-13 08:52:24

If you shop online always go via cashback websites ie Topcashback and Quidco. It's worth if you use the Chrome browser to also download the Nectar card toolbar extension, not only do you get points for your net searches, you're also notified on websites if you can collect nectar points when you shop there. You might as well collect them if you're buying anyway!

Another tip for the High Street is download the Vouchercode, Vouchers, o2 Moments (if your on o2!), Savoo & vouchercloud apps on your phone - which offer great deals for retailers and restaurants. Hope that helps! smile xx

phillie1 Tue 12-Nov-13 09:09:20

Use Sainsburys half price toy sale. Buy things like xmas cards, crackers, tableware etc in Jan sales, and then keep eyes peeled constantly for offers.

Rocky3 Tue 12-Nov-13 09:29:35

We spend Christmas 200 miles away with our son, so instead of lugging presents on the train, I allocate each member a certain value of voucher and they get what they want. Son and wife get vouchers for their special interests. Then I know know exactly how to divide up my budget.

And, as I am disabled, I don't have to do lots of tiring shopping. Simples!

cagsd Tue 12-Nov-13 11:23:47

I set a budget for each recipient and try to buy something within that price range that I know they will like.
I also save up points from survey sites all year round and exchange them for Amazon vouchers wherever possible, which helps with the budgeting!
Lastly, if I'm buying online, I always 1) look for discount codes and then 2) go via a cashback site.

worriedmum46 Tue 12-Nov-13 11:46:24

We only buy gifts for the kids. The adults get a £10.00 secret Santa My kids get one pressie from Santa plus a stocking which I fill with bits and bobs picked up all through the year. Food shopping has began. I pick up non perishable items early to avoid it all coming out of Decembers money.

mwatmough Tue 12-Nov-13 12:03:43

I do plenty of research online looking at hot uk deals, other sites like groupon and mysupermarket for the best prices. if it means the best delas ate in town i go into the shop and try to haggle.

TJCB68 Tue 12-Nov-13 12:42:22

I buy two presents a month, starting in January. Then, come December, I only have to buy the last minute little bits and bobs.

k8vincent Tue 12-Nov-13 12:56:11

Buy things as I see them (starting early). By Nov I have a list of what I am giving people. This year I have regularly saved to avoid that horror when I realise I am paying for Christmas for the rest of the year.

Using amazon wish lists for gift ideas for relatives, rather than wasting money on a gift I might think perfect but they won't like. Set a clear budget for presents. DH's family do a grown up Secret Santa. We all buy for one other person and spend a max £25. It has worked v well in the past.

Persuade another relative to host Christmas day!

dawdyman Tue 12-Nov-13 13:18:51

buying early... better deals on gifts in September. Trawling the internet and comparing prices...

Vouchers, promo codes, nectar points, clubcard vouchers..... anything to scape a few pounds off!

Soosieboo Tue 12-Nov-13 15:05:18

I don't buy for many people any more. We have an agreement with Mother In Law that we don't buy presents for each other.
For the few presents I do buy, I seek out sales, special offers (usually via MSE or Hotdeals) or discount vouchers.
If I buy anything I always ask if there is any wiggle room on the price. I recently got a further 10% off 2 cabin cases that were already on sale at 50% off!
I also save Nectar / Tesco / Boots /Superdrug points and use them at christmas.

RavingFan Tue 12-Nov-13 15:33:05

1. I shop during the year, stocking up on presents like books etc for the Kids.

2. Pound stores are great for less expensive stocking fillers. After all, for a lot of kids, presents are about quantity not quality.You can get great colouring stuff, books, toys etc for younger children. Got some great Horrid Henry books for £1 from Poundland plus lots of other novelty items to keep them amused on the day. Then i get a few good presents for them from Amazon or Ebay. I have bought them some great watches on Amazon.

3. Lidl - excellent for stocking up on Smoked Salmon (much cheaper than normal stores) and other luxury christmas items like stollen, Prawns, Lobster etc.

4. I start serious shopping around October and am usually sorted by early December. Much easier on the purse to start early and less stress. Nothing worse than that January Credit Card bill with all the over spending. Need to keep the credit card clear in January for the Sales!!!

5. I always have emergency present wrapped and ready. Chocolates are good for this.

Mamafratelli Tue 12-Nov-13 20:54:30

I used to think I was getting bargains by buying things in the sale but in reality I wasn't keeping track of what I had bought and would end up with ridiculous amounts.

I now have a list of people I need to buy presents for in a small jotter I keep in my bag. If I see a bargain I check my list. If it is suitable for someone on the list I buy it and cross them off, if not I walk away.

I also look for days out vouchers and use points I have saved on loyalty cards etc to reduce the cost.

I look out for deals on Christmas food and try not to buy everything in sight.

My main tip is if you don't need it then it's not a bargain no matter how cheap it is! It will just sit gathering dust until you take it to the charity shop.

chellio1 Tue 12-Nov-13 21:18:04

We always make a list of all the people we need to buy for. We then look around for deals, instore and online. We take advantage of 3 for 2 offers as well as half price sales and tesco boost points.

MaureenFry Wed 13-Nov-13 03:23:49

God that video is lame and cringeworthy.

<thinks I've missed point of thread>

soozybee1 Wed 13-Nov-13 11:28:19

I browse online selecting ideas for people and sometimes order online sometimes go into town to buy them

Liquorice13 Wed 13-Nov-13 20:51:55

I do my christmas shopping in September looking for offers and using the points on my Boots Advantage card which I have saved up throughout the year. I buy the alcohol and store cupboard items in November, again shopping around for the best price using comparison websites. That leaves just the fresh food in December. I spread the cost over 4 paydays which is better than taking a big hit in one go.

juju3 Wed 13-Nov-13 21:33:20

I start looking for presents in October and buy something that would be suitable when I see it reduced. Failing that its Clubcard double ups if Xmas is getting near.

mclarkie Thu 14-Nov-13 08:52:24

I buy items through out the year, as and when I see something suitable.

barker99 Thu 14-Nov-13 14:56:06

I do most of my Christmas shopping online. Great to compare prices and keep an eye on offers while being cosied up on the sofa

marshgirl Thu 14-Nov-13 16:01:27

I find out what people want then shop around looking for the best deal. I use Quidco , MSE , emails , discount codes to get the price down. I am constantly looking out for deals as all companies have some kind of half price, BOGOF, % deals happening.

HelenSw4les Thu 14-Nov-13 21:14:16

My Mumsnet top tip is to plan during the year, don't leave it until November and then think I've got one pay day until Christmas (for those paid monthly), panic and get a payday loan. I buy some Christmas presents in the January sales and look for bargains throughout the year, online, in the shops and on my local FB selling page.

pipersky Thu 14-Nov-13 22:14:14

I search for the best deals online then search for voucher codes before heading to a cashback site smile It's very satisfying to save a little or earn a little on what you were going to buy anyway smile

cathryn1 Fri 15-Nov-13 07:34:30

I christmas shop all year, mainly in sales so to get value for me and my family - some great offers around and spreads the cost

slh5kids Fri 15-Nov-13 10:55:35

I start buying for xmas in january when all the xmas gift sets get reduced in price. Then i just shop throughout the year before prices become inflated for the xmas period.

matphil Fri 15-Nov-13 14:34:20

I like to start early and make a list of what I want to get for everyone.
I check around the shops and online for the best prices. I spend a lot of time trying to choose the right present and sometimes just rush around at the last minute buying anything suitable.

pfcpompeysarah Fri 15-Nov-13 14:34:52

I try to do as much comparison homework before I make my purchases so as to get the best deals. I tend to focus on what I am going to buy for each person rather than just heading into a shop and picking on any old thing, the best thing to do is plan well and ensure you stay within your budget by using cashback websites, clubcard/nectar rewards and so on.

sarahredfern Fri 15-Nov-13 14:38:34

We get the children to make a list, from pictures out of the toy section of the argos book. It has to fit on a A4 sheet of paper which makes them really think about what it is they want.
Once the list is done we then let family and friends know what it is that they have on their list, it makes it easier to buy something that is really wanted and saves us spending money on all the little rubbish bits and bobs that won't ever get played with.
We then shop around and wait for the discounts from toy stores to start.

Squina1 Fri 15-Nov-13 15:08:06

I do a lot of online research for their main presents (price comparisons, reviews, etc) and trawl the charity shops for the stocking fillers - it really is quite astounding what lovely items people throw away.

Daphne01 Fri 15-Nov-13 19:11:28

I'd say the same as most people, set a budget and stick to it, write a list (no extras!) and stick to it, save as much money as you can monthly and put away for Christmas. Buy bargains, use discount vouchers and points cards and more than anything~have fun!

Minnibix Fri 15-Nov-13 19:22:28

I like to decide what I am buying for each person ie Pj's for sister, then I look online at the major stores. decide how much I am going to spend for each person. I then start Xmas shopping about the end of November with everything wrapped and under the tree by the beginning of December, Bring it on lol

littleemiss Fri 15-Nov-13 20:00:46

Last minute and then panic buy :-S every time!
Ooops!

eloisemummy Fri 15-Nov-13 21:37:31

I enter competitions throughout the year for kids toys, vouchers etc and it helps towards the cost if i win. i use comparison sites to find the cheapest around. i also shop for bargains 3 for 2's, spend so much & get a voucher.I recently spent over £50 on peppa pig and got a free peppa pig item which cost £20 alone smile bargain. I would never spend more than we could afford.

chezvic Fri 15-Nov-13 21:55:17

I ask most people what they want so I know they're getting what they want but I always buy surprises too. I have a budget and I do stick to it, I like to get things when there is money off but I then spend the savings on the surprises. I like to be all done by the end of November so I'm not running round in a mad rush.

slbhill Fri 15-Nov-13 21:57:26

I start shopping in October - or at least thinking of ideas. Then shop around, mostly online.

Rugbylovingmum Fri 15-Nov-13 22:21:38

I use MSE, camelcamelcamel and Reastie's Bargain thread on here to watch for good prices. I set myself a budget per person, try really hard to stick to it and I if I see something great that is outside of budget I often buy presents jointly with my brother or sister-in-law. I have all my present shopping finished by the end of November so we can use Decembers pay packet to pay for food, drink and any last minute expenses.

Tonkatol Fri 15-Nov-13 22:25:04

I save money by searching online, both in terms of cheapest price and discount codes. Also I plan what I am going to buy for each person & stick to a budget. I have 4 children and I try to stockpile prizes/freebies throughout the year for stockings and fill up with essentials such as pants and socks.

Alley247 Fri 15-Nov-13 23:54:46

We only buy presents for our own kids because the family is so big. I allocate a budget for each of the kids and my mum. I use discount codes and sales to make my money go further. I try to stay within budget. We have a big family dinner (25 people) and all the adults make a contribution to the cost of the food and drink. We also share the cooking. For me, this is what Xmas is all about, spending the day with loved ones.

robyn297 Sat 16-Nov-13 00:09:45

I make my shopping list well in advance, then add them all to my basket on Amazon and check daily when the price drops and I'm ready to pounce. I have also taken the Amazon Family trial out now so that I get fast delivery.

m00nf1sh Sat 16-Nov-13 04:23:00

Come up with a budget....and STICK to it!! Christmas is a special time for everybody, but you are not going to enjoy it if all you are thinking about is how to pay off the loan or credit cards!!

If it is a small budget and you have to cut back on spending on other people then do let them know that things are tight, you could always be creative with your gifts and make or bake something, which will probably be appreciated a whole lot more than the smellies from Boots!! And most of all, HAVE FUN!!

blueberry88 Sat 16-Nov-13 07:31:33

I start my Christmas shopping early and always look for deals online and search where I can get items from at the cheapest price. I often look for discount voucher codes, 3 for 2 deals are a big bonus when Christmas shopping too smile

glmcall123 Sat 16-Nov-13 09:16:00

It's best to start early but there are still some bargains out there nearer to Christmas. We search for the best deals online for the bigger things and get stocking fillers from local shops, and always stick to a budget.

fazkin Sat 16-Nov-13 09:22:28

I have a rough list of things I would like for each person and then find the best deal either online or in store. But most years I end up leaving it last minute and panic buy instead

Jezzamk Sat 16-Nov-13 10:06:53

I try to start early by buying in the sales throughout the year. Not only can this save money but it is surprising how often you see things and think that would be perfect for someone and then when you want to buy it at Christmas it is no longer available.

I also compare prices on the internet for bigger items. Sometimes it is worth having the item giftwrapped and sent direct to the person you want to give the gift ot if you are not going to get to see them before Christmas

cooperpk Sat 16-Nov-13 10:25:16

as soon as Christmas is over I start again buying xmas cards and wrapping paper and then collect presents throughout the year no big shock on the credit card

PEBBLESMUM1 Sat 16-Nov-13 10:25:35

I keep my eyes open throughout the year for things that would really be appreciated by my children. The oldest are the hardest to buy for as I don't like to give money. I have managed to purchase an electric guitar and amp from ebay for the 14 year old, and discount hotel stay in London for the older 2 they are 17 and 19 with a trip to the o2 to see a band. The 5 year old has got toys purchased in the sainsburys half price sale... I also use online shopping to check prices and loyalty points to keep the prices down... As for hubby we have a new rule, something you want, something you need, something to eat and something to read.

angelabbie Sat 16-Nov-13 10:28:45

I have spent the last three months on the christmas bargain thread on here, its amazing. I have bought some amazing gifts at bargain prices all on line and therefore have perfect gifts for the whole family. I think you just need to be organised and not rush or panic buy. If you give yourself time it can be great fun and a bit of an adventure to find that great present.

Rcollins91 Sat 16-Nov-13 11:02:51

I start thinking about Christmas in January, I list everyone I buy presents for and then throughout the year when I spot a bargain I grab it and put it away until Xmas. I save so much money doing it this way, buying cards & wrapping paper in January & just being organised smile

Flagstones Sat 16-Nov-13 11:34:36

We do Christmas lists in my family, and then I try to get a discount code or cashback when buying things.

flapjack35 Sat 16-Nov-13 11:36:37

I agree with other posters, start as early as possible, gives you time to compare prices and shop around, I find the best savings can actually be found in the January sales, Boots tend to have really good beauty bargains in their sales sometimes picking up on the 3 for 2 offer, these can be put away for the following Christmas. Those discount vouchers that come in the post, don't bin then because they really do come in handy. I also spend a £2 a week on supermarket stamps so come Christmas I have enough to buy my food shopping!

tab1967 Sat 16-Nov-13 11:37:25

I always buy my wrapping paper and cards after christmas for the following year, you can get some really good bargains at that time of year.

bathtime1 Sat 16-Nov-13 12:21:59

I find out what the grandchildren want to search online for the cheapest. I also use my vouchers from my Tesco clubcard to buy some presents.

emmaspeers Sat 16-Nov-13 12:30:17

I think about xmas the whole year thing so I am able to get the best deals. I more often shop for smaller things and make up hampers of goodies I know the kids / adults in the family will love eg for the ladies smellies / cosmetics and the children items for a kids night in ie DVD, PJs some yum snacks, bedding perhaps. I also sign up to all the online sites for deals and compare prices where possible and buy items when in the sale if it seems a good price at the time and take advantage of buy 3 for 2 etc. I also save points on store cards like nectar and tesco and collect the year round to knock off the price off goodies at xmas even if it's just the xmas food shopping, it all helps! I like to think of myself as a savvy mum!

gamerwidow Sat 16-Nov-13 12:48:17

I make a list of everyone I need to buy a gift for with a budget and then stick to it. Going £1 or £2 over on a gift soon adds up otherwise. I also make good use of voucher codes and buy good quality second hand where possible for kids stuff.

sugarthief Sat 16-Nov-13 13:32:35

I save £20 a week starting from the first week in January.. I don't miss the £20 like I would most of Decembers wages if I left Christmas shopping until then (used to do that but soon learnt it's not nice being skint at Christmas, especially if you get asked to nice Christmas meals/nights out etc!) I do buy the odd thing throughout the year if a big bargain then use the money I've saved all year to buy the things that especially are requested by my children nearer the time! The only stress I have is wrapping it all haha! As I do buy things here and there on good sale through the year, I do find I even have money left over that I've saved all year once I've finished my Xmas shopping, and that normally gets spent on lots of lovely Christmas food (I go food shopping on Xmas eve as there are huge Christmas food bargains reduced then!) and voila! No December wages are touched by Christmas and no skint feeling on boxing day! Lol :-)

patchysmum Sat 16-Nov-13 13:49:37

I start shopping in the January sales and keep a look out for other sales throughout the year.Also I put a few pounds on a supermarket saving card every week for the Christmas food shop and any leftover goes on last minute gifts like console games released just before Christmas.

jrobbs Sat 16-Nov-13 13:52:15

I start my purchasing from October . . ish. I wait for the blue cross days and also tend to shop with loyalty cards. That way, there is always a little something for me in there as well !

yoeydavis Sat 16-Nov-13 15:33:06

this will sound awful and please dont tell my family!; i comp for my xmas presents and do quite well. what i dont win i look for on ebay. gumtree and freeads. its not second hand stuff, for example i just bought a yves saint laurent opium gift set, brand new still in original packaging. its over £50 in boots; i paid £30 and its no different

hammyhunter Sat 16-Nov-13 15:42:02

I save money every week for Birthdays & Christmas and then buy things in the sales or when they are on offer throughout the year.

jamme19 Sat 16-Nov-13 15:46:06

I usually just keep an eye out for yellow reduced stickers then decide whether i want that or not LOL

ali991 Sat 16-Nov-13 15:46:39

I write a list, start in the Christmas sales and make sure I know what I want before I go so I don't over spend

Ddpunk Sat 16-Nov-13 15:50:33

I usually start thinking about ideas in October but I always run out of steam and end up doing an emergency last minute buy on Christmas Eve! I'll never learn!

elizwall123 Sat 16-Nov-13 15:55:17

buy presents starting in the january sales

zoewowie Sat 16-Nov-13 16:10:44

I always leave it too late. Next year I intend of buying gift cards and topping up every mth to budge

Leiajulie Sat 16-Nov-13 16:37:30

i dont have a CC as they got me into debt before so i spread the cost through the tear and take advantage of online coupons

srobbo71 Sat 16-Nov-13 17:36:49

I start shopping for xmas in the January Sales. I then keep an eye on the bargain deal forums that are dotted around and pick up other little bits here and there. Then I use loyalty points that have accrued and try to maximize their value using the 3 or 4 x options. Then I panic over the last remaining few pressies and the food shop lol.

kel1981 Sat 16-Nov-13 18:21:54

I kep a list of what I buy so I don't overspend. I also use cashback websites and shopping toold online to find the best deal, and keep a record of what it would have cost and what I actually paid so I can see what savings I've made. It's a great incentive!

cluckyhen Sat 16-Nov-13 18:51:02

We save money every month to put aside for Xmas so that we don't have to panic financially, but I start buying in August to give me plenty of time to shop for bargains. I use cash back sites and compare prices via the net. I've usually finished in Oct, whereas hubby knows what he needs to buy (for me) but leaves it last minute and panic buys.

TiggersAngel7774 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:01:41

I love to buy thoughtful presents but have a tight budget and what i like is usually too much.
So i keep money for boots 75% off sale in january and usually do well there. Im always on hotukdeals looking for bargains and codes for discount.
Plus i spend all my free time entering competitions for items i can gift or give to friends and family. Plus anything i cant i give to local fundraisers

butterflyuk83 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:08:23

Start shopping at the beginning of the year in the January sales.
Buy a few presents each month so by the time December comes you're all sorted, presents are all bought and you wont have to brave the shops when they're packed full of panic-buyers!

JBH316 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:28:37

I try to plan ahead and make lists of what I want to buy. For gifts, I like to take advantage of special deals or voucher codes and also go through cashback sites if applicable. For food items, I find it useful to just add 1 or 2 things to my normal weekly shop in the weeks leading up to christmas. It may not necessarily save money but it definitely helps spread out the cost. I also keep an eye out for BOGOF deals etc

compy99 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:29:13

we buy 4 presents every month starting in January, so by the time we get to Sept. most have been bought.

always look for offers and discounts.

lynsey1978 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:45:09

I look out for bargains through out the year to spread the cost. I use hotukdeals for bargains. I try and know what I want to get people so I don't overspend.
I save up m Tesco clubcard and boots points through out the year and use them for Christmas presents.

snare Sat 16-Nov-13 19:48:12

I do a little of xmas shopping from October time smile

Compermo Sat 16-Nov-13 20:15:58

I only buy for immediate family now. During the year, I pick up things that I know people will like when I see them on offer, and put them in my Christmas cupboard. In October I ask for their wish lists, so that they are sure to get something they really want, and I shop around on the internet for these at the best price,

VickyRsuperstar Sat 16-Nov-13 20:17:29

I have a lot of children to buy for so I have to start very early, sometimes as early as in the Christmas sales for next Christmas and birthdays over the next year! If I see something my children or a family member would like on a good offer then I buy it and store it in my cupboard or even up the loft (out of the way of kids rooting around!)
I use the Hot UK deals website to keep up to date with any current special offers across many retailers - new deals are added every day & it's the first place I check when I need to buy a specific item. I am member of Quidco & Topcash back, so I always go and see if they have any other special discounts and/or cash back offers and then finally I check Hot UK deals website for any current online discount voucher codes like Free delivery, 20% off, £10 off etc. That way I can usually find the cheapest way to buy something. I rarely pay full price for anything. Half price toy sales in October/November supermarket are also very useful.

I also make sure I get loyalty points from my supermarket as Nectar points soon add up - some retailers also give you Nectar points for online purchases too. Then at Christmas I use the points to either help towards the cost of toys in the toy sale or else I use them against the cost of our Christmas groceries.

Another thing I do is to visit the supermarket when they are reducing items as they usually reduce all the over-priced top of the range items. I then freeze them and keep the treats for another day. This is even more useful at Christmas.

About a week or 2 before Christmas I get the stored presents out and do a quick check just to make sure everyone has enough and that nothing has gone missing!

For Christmas party trimmings like paper napkins, plates, cups, plastic cutlery, decorations, wrapping paper, crackers and bows we use Poundland as it is the most cost effective place to get most of these items and its no point in paying a lot more for stuff that is barely used or disposable!
All in all it helps to keep the costs down at a time of year when everything can be really expensive!

AnimalAddict Sat 16-Nov-13 20:23:38

I do try to be prepared for Christmas. In my head I do a list and think about who would like what. But then it gets to about a week before Christmas and I still haven't got anything, so I'm in panic mode and feeling sorry for myself. Happens every year! You'd think I'd learn. :P

jl81 Sat 16-Nov-13 20:33:14

lists, write ideas down then selectively research them. Buy when I know fully what I want

sweir1 Sat 16-Nov-13 20:33:55

i shop around all the time using the tinternet

smit23 Sat 16-Nov-13 20:56:45

Get it over and done with by the end of November! Have some idea of what you're going to buy everyone, or you'll end up spending more than you want to!

yclark Sat 16-Nov-13 21:04:12

I start my christmas shopping in the January sales. Boots always have some fab bargains when they drop their prices to 75% off.
Christmas cards that need to be posted I always make use of Funky Pigeons 50% off offers that they do near to christmas, they have some fab cards to choose from that you can add photos etc to and buying more than one card at a time means you also get free postage with them.
Over the year I will use cashback sites whenever I can for purchases like insurance etc and any cashback received goes into a separate account for other christmas presents that haven't already been bought.
Tesco clubcard points are good at christmas time too on their boost and can be doubled up on certain items to save even more either in store or on direct.
This year nectar are doing a double up promotion on various items including frozen desserts which i will double up £10 worth to buy £20 worth of desserts to put away for christmas. I will also combine it with an £8 off £30 spend and save coupon and a £5 brand match coupon meaning i will have £20 of desserts plus another £13 extra to spend on bits that are needed before having to put any real money towards my shop.
My turkey will most likely be a turkey crown from either aldi or lidl as they are looking to be the cheapest. Turkey crown is favoured over a full turkey as no-one eats the legs in our house so less wastage. Veg are also good value from either lidl or aldi.

lindyloo50 Sat 16-Nov-13 21:09:07

I do surveys etc all year and save up points and swap them for Amazon vouchers which saves a fortune on Christmas prezzies. So yes I do most of my Christmas shopping online though Amazon. If theres something someone wants in particular, I check TopCash first to see if I can shop through them saving more money.

louisexxx Sat 16-Nov-13 21:12:20

I make a list in January and then keep my eyes open during sales etc for things that I know my family would like. This also helps to spread the cost over the year. That way I can afford to get my family meaningful presents I know they will love while not going into debt at Christmas.

shellhughes27 Sat 16-Nov-13 21:14:17

The best advice I can give is set a budget and stick to it shop around price compare and remember loved ones wont care about the value its the though that counts. Prepare by buying all year round to avoid a huge debt.

sjw01 Sat 16-Nov-13 21:50:13

I use my tesco clubcard vouchers for the majority of the kid's presents that i've built up through the year - and for everyone else we always set a £5 limit each so the spending doesn't get out of hand!

hbakfam Sat 16-Nov-13 22:30:06

Buy things in advance gradually rather than buying them all at once

piggypoo Sat 16-Nov-13 22:40:32

I work out a budget for each person, then use loyalty points that I've earned through the year, and will use buy 2 get 1 free offers and combine that with points booster vouchers, that way I save quite a bit of cash. If I have to use my credit card, I make sure that I am getting 0% interest and rewards while I spend!

beehummingbird Sat 16-Nov-13 23:01:10

I just keep an eye out for gifts and deals in general from November onwards.

Also it's worth using the Amazon Prime trial in December, so that any gifts you order will get to you quicker.

pattiesplum Sat 16-Nov-13 23:21:16

I start shopping for presents in September looking something I hope friends and family will love.

Sticking to my budget is important so I am always on the look out for good buys and attend a few auctions where new/returned goods are auctioned and get some really excellent bargains. Usually manage to get most of my presents this way which means I can buy a "better" present than I could afford in a shop etc,

baconbap Sun 17-Nov-13 00:11:33

I keep an eye out for presents all year round. That way it's less stressful and the cost is spread out

sydroo Sun 17-Nov-13 02:57:03

I have to say I'm awful at planning, I tend to have a vague idea of what people would need, I don't like buying presents like Santa socks that will either never be used or, given away to a charity shop in three years time when the sock draw is full.
I do all my Christmas shopping in one go, usually at the end of second week of December when shops start reducing prices and introducing buy one get one free offers and take advantage of lat night shopping when it tends too be less crowded.

carriecakes Sun 17-Nov-13 03:50:18

When it comes to Christmas shopping,
I start very early on,
I normally start on Jan the 1st
I know some think that's wrong!
But I have four kids to buy for
so careful I must be,
its even harder these days,
(Thanks to lack of money!)
So first, I grab the bargains,
from the sales in january
Its amazing what you can get
Bargains, there are so many!
I also use the Charity shops,
My kids don't really care
if their toys been played with before,
as long as its now theirs!
I also make sure I budget
kids don't need too much,
its the memories you make with them
that give the magic touch,
The last thing that I do
is to swap the things our kids don't use,
Us mums and dads we all meet up
and swap toys. clothes and shoes!
This can be amazing, and
save you so much dough!
Just bag up all your kids old stuff
call your friends round and
then go!
But just remember if you're poor like me
that its not how much you spend,
its about the time you have at Christmas
Altogether, in the end. :-)

chrriss Sun 17-Nov-13 06:21:53

OK so I start my Xmas shopping in the January sales (best bargains). Hot UK deals have some great saving throughout the year. I see what I want and then 'mega shop bot' it to see if I can get it cheaper. I prefer to shop online and always look for discount and promo codes and 'free delivery'. I'm not adverse to asking the website for free deliver or discounts too! Lastly go through a money back site for that extra bit of savings! Check returns policy, gifts purchased early need to be able to return after Xmas if not wanted!

Juicyjo Sun 17-Nov-13 08:46:02

I'm always on the lookout for bargains throughout the year, and take advantage of offers, like 3 for 2, too. I have to admit that I'm not quite so organised with the wrapping of them though! Also, make sure you keep a list of what you've bought, if you buy through the year, or you'll end up like I did a few years ago...forgetting what you've already purchassed, and finding that you've got two presents for some people and none for others!

jennyn8545 Sun 17-Nov-13 13:28:13

We have a rough list of what the boys have asked for. From the end of august onwards we start buying to spread the cost.
For main presents or more expensive/ sell out items i usually compare prices online and then go with the best deals, As they say every little helps !

igu04366 Sun 17-Nov-13 15:21:54

I do occasionally buy some smaller Christmas presents on the spur of the moment throughout the year if I see a good deal, but generally shop around for the best price on my family's main presents. I will compare online prices with those in the shops as it can sometimes be cheaper in store.

In relation to Christmas food, I always just buy this from my usual supermarket but I tend not to go crazy as I don't want food going to waste.

tiddles12 Sun 17-Nov-13 15:36:59

I tend to buy things from charity shops or in the sales that I think people would like. I also use MSE forums and MN forums to seek out bargains and loo for gifts on ebay.

Widgetg Sun 17-Nov-13 17:14:26

I always intend to start christmas shopping early but usually never actually achieve it... But this year I'm pleased to say I bought my first christmas present at the beginning of September and have slowly been getting a few present here and there since then. I have nearly all presents bought and wrapped now which is great, much less stressful than other years and I've managed to get some great offers too!

FrenchieMum2Be Sun 17-Nov-13 17:22:26

I have a budget and set list of people to buy presents for. This helps keeping the budget on track, also we put money away each month to pay for Christmas a instead of waiting for December to pay it all. Well that's the plan anyway!

dragon60 Sun 17-Nov-13 21:03:04

Shop all year around. PIck up bargains in the Christmas sales for the following year. It is never too early to start.

custardcream1000 Sun 17-Nov-13 22:04:04

Firstly I allocate a budget for each person so I know what I can afford. I start looking for presents from August so I have time to find the best deals and think carefully about what I want to buy each person.

There is nothing worse than last minute shopping. I find it often results in overspending, stress and buying presents for the sake of it.

Happy xmas everyone smile

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Nov-13 16:05:25

Thanks for all your comments and tips.

The winner of the prize draw is...

wonderingsoul

Congratulations, I'll PM you for your details.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now