I am usually super organised when it comes to Christmas shopping but for the past two years I have found it rather difficult. This year I am determined to stick to a budget and not over spend. Christmas shouldn’t be about how much you spend on presents anyway! With a couple of years practice, I have figured out a couple ways to help you stay on track which I hope can help you out if you still haven’t tackled Christmas shopping yet…

Organisation is key. Trust me on this one. I always start off by writing lists. The first is full of all the people I am buying for and the second is any ideas of gifts for that person – whether it’s something I have thought of myself or something they have told me about within conversations. In fact, ever since the first year of doing this I have kept a little notebook since the end of August so I have plenty of ideas of what people would like. Every time I buy something, I write down what it is and how much it is next to the names. This makes such a difference when working to a budget too.

Budget! It’s something I am hopeless at doing in every other aspect of my life but I can certainly do it when it comes to buying Christmas presents. Firstly, how much can you actually afford to spend? Not only in total but also think of how much you can afford for each person. I usually put a total at the top of the page of how much I want to realistically spend. In addition to this, I usually write a price next to each name.

Gratisfaction UK is a really good website to use. You can get samples of beauty and skincare products or free tickets to events. The website is updated daily so there’s always new things to save money on. The voucher codes feature is my favourite part of the website as it saves money when you are shopping online. Most recently, it has had an offer to save 20% on Marks and Spencer’s including clothing and beauty. There’s no need to sign up like with most other companies too. I have followed them on Twitter so I can stay up to date with the latest offers and freebies which they share daily.

Loyalty cards are my best friend. Whether it is to collect points whilst doing your weekly shop at Sainsbury’s or signing up to receive a rewards card, guaranteed it will take the ease off the Christmas shop. I had saved up £20 on my Boots advantage card which saved me a fair few pounds the other day. There are usually vouchers for doubling up your points at Boots too. It might also be worth finding out if you can use your student discount if you have one. It’s just another way of saving some pennies.

You can find some great bargains by shopping the sales. I actually found my aunt’s present in a closing down sale but I know she is going to love it. There are always going to be things being discounted around this time of year as well so it’s worth setting some time aside to have a browse. It is also super handy to shop around in order to find the best deal. Do you know those Christmas Gift Sets you can buy in the 3 for 2 offers? Don’t be fooled by them! You can probably save yourself some money by purchasing all the products separate and wrapping them up with other things like a personalised mini hamper. Charity shops are another great way to find some bargains especially if you have time to shop around a little bit. Just because it is already second hand doesn’t mean it won’t make a nice present either.

Lastly, make the experience enjoyable. Plan your day (including where you are going to go for something to eat). I love being able to go and explore a different city when I go Christmas shopping especially if there is a market on at the time. I am usually equipped with comfortable shoes, a camera, my notebook and a pen, and Google maps in case I get lost or can’t find a particular shop. If you leave in plenty of time then you can really take your shopping trip steady and slow. You don’t have to rush the process.

So that’s my top tips for saving money this Christmas. Do you have any Christmas shopping tips? How do you save money when buying Christmas presents? Let me know your tips and tricks.

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*This post was a paid collaboration with Gratisfaction UK.