Have a stress-free December with our strategic Christmas shopping guide

Learn the tricks of the trade from our very experienced shoppers

The official Christmas window displays have been showcased, every store has been rolled in a delightful sprinkling of fairy dust and the Christmas floor has officially become the busiest. Welcome to Christmas shopping 2015.

Most people dread it, a few survive it but just a handful masters it. Imagine gifting your entire family presents that you bought in just one day, were all under budget and no one wanted to take anything back or re-gift…

That may be a little optimistic, but we’re confident that if you follow this strategic shopping guide you’re in for a chance of rivalling even Santa Claus on the present front…

Be on budget

Know your budget. Calculate how much you have saved and how many people you have to buy for (accounting for that favourite sibling who you want to spoil) and go from there. It’s also helpful to spot the bargains early – know when shops are providing weekend discount deals and get in the Black Friday know. You will be happy that you stayed on budget and receivers will think you splashed the cash.

Lust after lists

Even if the family aren’t list lovers, or indeed you hate organisation, get present ideas from everyone and take them shopping. Don’t be scared to go a little off piste and try a different colour or shop than they specified, but generally stick to the wish list and you can’t go wrong. Come Christmas day you will be hailed as the greatest gift giver.

Internet investigation

Once you have an idea what you’re buying, do some online research before you trawl the streets with what feels like the rest of the world. If you scourer a shop’s website beforehand, you will know whether they are worth a stop or if you should wonder on by. You will also get a taste of their pricing and products too.

Remember to reserve

If an alarming ‘low stock’ icon appears when you are doing your online research then snap it up there and then and get it delivered to store. This way you are sure to get everything you want in one shopping day and won’t be faced with any ‘Sold Out’ surprises. Equally, call the store ahead of time and reserve an item – they will usually allow you to put it aside for 24 hours.

Loyal follower

Are you a loyal John Lewis shopper, go crazy for HoF’s advantage card or are yet to reap the rewards of your century old Boots card?
See if you can manipulate your shopping so that you can purchase from those stores you love best. Your loyalty card will gain a truckload of points, you may have some to discount against your bill and if you don’t have a loyalty card, get one!

Download Apps

Make sure you are getting the best deal and Ho Ho Ho yourself to the bank this Christmas. If you download apps by the big players, as you’re queuing in a store you can check that these competitors don’t have a better deal by browsing the app – you can even buy there and then using your phone.

Don’t be tempted

Christmas lights and festive deals can be more tempting than the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but try not to buy stuff for the sake of it. If you have spent your budget on your loved ones than that’s enough, and if you spy a special something for yourself then add it to your letter to Father Christmas.

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