1. Don’t get sucked in by paid-for TV subscriptions
During the Christmas and New Year period, subscription satellite TV providers like Sky and Virgin really up their marketing on TV. "Really consider whether it’s value for money for you. uSwitch.com found that people spend £398 per year on TV packages, but only watch 25% of channels," says Paul Gilshan at Freesat. "If you’re unsure, consider non-subscription TV packages like Freesat. A Freesat set-top box providing over two hundred channels starts from around £70."
2. Get insured for your big presents
If you’re going all out and buying expensive presents for a loved one this Christmas, make sure you let your insurer know so it’s insured. "There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful new present and then losing or breaking it," says Adam Powell from home insurer Policy Expert. "We found that the average family spends over £480 on Christmas presents, so if you’re buying an expensive gift like an iPad or jewellery, let your insurer know."
3. Protect your online purchases
If you’re buying presents online worth between £100 and £30,000, use your credit card. "Section 75 law of the Consumer Credit Act means that if you use your credit card (not including debit cards) the card company is jointly liable for the full amount of the purchase if it doesn’t turn up or is faulty," says Mario Lupori from Aqua Credit Card.
4. Don’t forget your gift vouchers
According to the Gift Cards & Vouchers Association, 6% of gift vouchers go unspent. That’s the equivalent of £240m each year. "Check your Boots Advantage, Tesco Club card points and Sainsbury’s Nectar points and remember they can often be more cost effective by cashing them into vouchers rather than spending at the till," says Victoria Hollingsworth, presenter of the Women & Money show on Share Radio.
5. Embrace your baking and making urges
Inspired by shows like the Great British Bake Off and Kirsty’s Home Made Britain? "Why not use your talents to make gifts for the family?" says Victoria Hollingsworth. "The best way to get ideas and inspiration is to search for homemade gifts on Pinterest. There, you’ll get 1,000s of great ideas." For starters, take a look at Yours Pinterest here.
6. Get cashback on your purchases
You’re going to be spending lots of money during December, so make sure that you get rewarded for doing so. Look into cashback websites such as Freefivers.co.uk, Quidco.com or Topcashback.co.uk. When you buys gifts, a percentage of the purchase is paid directly back into your bank account. Find out which site offers you the most cash for a particular retailer using the Cashback Maximiser.