The festive season is almost upon us, so it’s time to get shopping. According to GoCompare, the average household spends an average of more than £700 over the Christmas period, with more than half of that going towards presents for friends and family.
That’s an awful lot of money.
But by being a little savvy with your shopping habits, you can actually make a little money back this Christmas while picking up the gifts for your loved ones.
Many of us prefer to do your Christmas shopping online rather than hit the high street, and with good reason. Not only do you have far more retailers to choose from, but you can also dodge the queues and congestion that comes from busy shopping centres in the run up to the festive season.
Even better, shopping online opens up the chance to make a little cashback on the money you spend by using cashback websites.
The main two in the UK are TopCashback and Quidco, and the process is really simple. Let’s say that you know you want to buy some presents for mum from Superdrug. Rather than go straight to Superdrug’s website, you instead go to your cashback website of choice and follow the link on that site over to Superdrug.
The money you spend is then tracked, and you get a portion of it back in cashback. Basically, the cashback site is paid a referral fee because they ‘introduced’ you to the retailer, and the cashback site then gives you a chunk of that fee.
It’s a tiny change to the way that you shop online, and while the cashback from each individual shop will be quite small, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they can add up. Both sites have free memberships, though moving up to a paid membership tier unlocks additional benefits.
Cashback credit cards
You can ensure that you get something back on the Christmas presents you buy, no matter what the retailer is, or whether you shop online or in person, by using a cashback credit card.
With these cards you get a percentage of your spending back in cashback, which you can then spend on whatever you want - you can even make a start on next year’s gifts.
Often these cards will offer an improved cashback rate in the first three months, so it makes sense to take one out shortly before you have a big spend coming up, such as the Christmas period.
While some cashback cards charge an annual fee, there are fee-free options too. Be sure you understand exactly what fees are involved, and how your cashback is calculated, before applying.
It’s also important to remember that these cards are really only suitable if you can afford to clear the balance in one go at the end of the month. If you can’t then the interest you will be charged on the outstanding balance will quickly erode the cashback you’ve built up.
Check your bank account
Some bank accounts offer cashback when you shop with certain retailers.
For example, The Barclays Blue Rewards scheme offers cashback when you spend money with the likes of Oasis, Debenhams, B&Q and Boots. So keep your present shopping to those retailers, and you’ll build up a nice little cash bonus that you can devote towards an extra present for yourself.