Countdown to Christmas

With just 36 days left until Christmas Day (yep, it's true), some of us are probably already getting uneasy about how much we're likely to spend in the run up to the big day. To help with this, we've come up with a few money-saving tips which may just get you through the festive season in one piece.

  • Download 'Quick Scan - Barcode Reader'

  • If you normally leave Christmas shopping to the last minute it can lead to overspending. Luckily, there is a way to shop a bit smarter; by downloading "Quick Scan - Barcode Reader" to your android or iPhone . If you're browsing on the high street; by simply scanning a product barcode or QR code using the app, it will gather lots of information about that product, as well as reviews and compare prices too. It will even provide links to the product online so you can buy it for a better price right there and then.

  • Start shopping now

  • Seems obvious, but with autumn sales in full swing, it's the right time to buy any last minute gifts for a lot less. If it's the Christmas food bill that you're concerned with, why not add one or two food items into your weekly shop from today, and start a 'Christmas cupboard' at home? Both approaches will easily help you spread the cost of Christmas over the next few weeks and, hopefully, avoid panic shopping in December.

  • Secret Santa

  • If the amount of money you spend on family and friends leaves you in the red after Christmas, why not introduce secret Santa this year? It's easy to organise and you can agree an affordable limit to spend on your recipients.

  • Homemade gifts

  • Whether you're a keen knitter, take fantastic photographs or you've just completed a chocolate-making course and would like to put your new skills to the test, making something for a friend or loved one is the perfect solution to keeping the cost down. Not only will your family and friends receive meaningful gifts but kids will enjoy helping out too.

  • Discount shopping

  • Stuck for gift ideas? Using 'flash sale' websites which offer big discounts on getaways, experience days and even home and garden purchases, could allow you to buy fantastic gifts which might otherwise be outside your budget.

    Know what you want to buy? Before you go to the checkout, make sure you take a look at voucher websites (or apps if you're out on the high street) - they could save you up to 50% at your favourite shops.

  • Get involved in Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  • If it's an electrical gift you're after, look out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from big stores including Amazon, Apple, Tesco, John Lewis (to name a few!) Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and is always the first Friday after Thanksgiving. The shops that do get involved promote special discounts they wouldn't offer over the year, so make sure you don't miss out.

  • Shop at outlet villages

  • Another savvy way to shop for this year's Christmas gifts is by heading to your nearest outlet village, especially if your family and friends like designer gear. You'll be able to buy gifts from well-known brands for up to 60% less than if you were to go to the same shops on the high street.

  • Credit Cards

  • If you're looking to spend on a credit card and pay it off after Christmas, it's worth checking what your credit card can do for you in return. For example, you could get 0% interest on your purchases or collect Avios points for a holiday later in the year. Of course, here at TSB we offer both credit cards , but if you'd like to compare or shop elsewhere you could check Money Saving Expert or uSwitch to find the right one for you.

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