It’s the most wonderful – and expensive – time of the year. Although no one wants to miss out on their favourite parts of the celebration, there are a few ways you can trim a little off your outgoings. Here we share some of our favourite Christmas money saving tips.

Use your loyalty points  

Take advantage of any reward points you’ve earned on loyalty cards throughout the year, such as Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, or Boots Advantage. Check out the benefits and offers currently attached to each scheme before you spend to make sure they go as far as possible. Tesco Clubcard points, for example, offer great values when redeemed with a Boost Partner. Likewise, you can make your money stretch further by registering your Nectar card with Sainsbury’s My Coupons site.

Get a video message from Santa

While some companies charge a hefty £10 fee to get a letter from Santa, the big man himself will make your little one a personalised video for free. Head over to the Portable North Pole website and your child can have their own special message in minutes.

Misspelled eBay listings = savings

Most people are aware that eBay is a great place to pick up bargains, but the really good deals often come a result of an accident of the seller’s part. Wrongly spelled listings are more likely to be missed by bidders, so sell for lower prices. You can search for spelling mistake combinations using www.fatfingers.co.uk and www.goofbid.com.

Make the most of coupon and code sites

Check for money off codes and coupons at sites such as www.codes.co.uk and www.hotukdeals.com. Different coupon sites tend to feature different deals, so it pays to check out a few.

Quality, not quantity

While it may seem fair to spend the same amount on each child, it is the quality of the presents that matter to kids, not their cost. Focus on buying things you know they will love is much more in keeping with the spirit of giving.

Get extras from discount shops

We all love our Christmas treats, but much of our everyday shopping can be picked up cheaper from discount shops or cheaper supermarket. There is typically a good range of items like store cupboard essentials, Christmas biscuits and toilet roll are often of high quality, while extras like frozen food and alcohol can be picked up for budget figures without comprising on taste. Don’t forget to use the internet to hunt around for bargains, such as Supermarketwine.com which features recommended plonk that is currently on offer.

Beware of gift cards

While vouchers or gift cards may seem like the perfect present for fussy family members, they may not be as advantageous as they first seem. They are easily lost or forgotten, and most need to be redeemed within a certain time frame. Occasionally even big name retailers can go into administration which will render a gift card useless, so ensure you know it will used quickly before you take this easy option. If you really can’t think of anything to buy, cold hard cash always popular with recipients.

Check your entitlements

If you haven’t checked your entitlement to certain benefits or tax credits lately, you may be missing out. Remember to update your information whenever there is a change in your circumstances to ensure you don’t end up with a hefty repayment bill at the worst possible time.

Set a spending limit

Whether you’ve been buying since September or are yet to begin, it’s not too late to set a spending limit. It’s easy to pay out more than you intended when you hit the shops without a clear plan in mind, so make sure you have a good idea what you are buying and who you are buying for. Set a maximum price that you are able to afford and don’t go over it no matter what.

Online discount outlets

Shopping at retail parks such as Freeport Braintree and Lakeside is one way to save money on big brands. Another is to visit their online equivalents, which offer up to 90% off RRPs. Companies that have these outlets include Mothercare, Shoeaholics, and Figleaves. For heavily discount jewellery try John Greed, and check out eBuyer for cheap ex-display electrical items.

Buy memories, not toys

When it comes to children, we all know the drill. They open a small mountain of presents only to consign most of it to the bottom of the toy box never to be seen again. This year, ditch the pile of gifts and spend your children to days out instead. Look out for lost cost community events or plays, visit an attraction that is usually out of bounds, or create IOUs for a fun family night in or a trip to their favourite restaurant. These are the gifts that children will remember into adulthood, not plastic and wrapping paper.

Avoid losing money on shopping around

Although it can make sense to shop about for great deals, sometimes the extra travel costs and parking fees can leave you paying more. Make sure you take this into account before buying your Christmas goods from multiple locations.