It's December, and as the festive season approaches during these challenging times, parents are looking for ways to delight their children with the perfect toys without breaking the bank. With inflation and economic issues, finding budget-friendly options is more important than ever. Here are several strategies to ensure a joyous yet economical Christmas for you and your little ones.
Early Bird Discounts & Sales
Starting early can lead to significant savings. Retailers often offer early holiday discounts to attract shoppers. By planning, parents can take advantage of these deals. For instance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are excellent opportunities to snag toys at a fraction of the cost. For more in-depth information on buying toys on Black Friday, check out our guide to buying Christmas gifts on Black Friday.
Supermarkets are an excellent place to stock up on toys before Christmas due to their pre-Christmas sales. Whole aisles are dedicated to Christmas gifting, with gifts of various sizes, from quick stocking fillers and Secret Santa presents to board games, LEGO and more. You can also earn reward points on top of your purchase.
But check prices on comparison sites first to make sure they’re real.
Leverage Price Comparison Tools
Speaking of comparison tools, they are invaluable in the digital age. Websites and apps such as PriceRunner and camelcamelcamel that compare prices across different retailers can help find the best deal for a desired toy. Doing this can not only save money but time.
Embrace Second-Hand Options
Second-hand stores, online marketplaces and local community groups can be goldmines for quality toys at a lower cost. Many gently used toys retain charm and functionality, offering an eco-friendly and budget-friendly choice. Plus, many toys and kids' items nowadays are tech-oriented, such as Amazon Fire Tablets, Interactive children's computers and remote-control vehicles, which stand the test of time far better than a plushie and are often sold second-hand on eBay.
Utilise Cashback and Reward Programs
Some credit cards such as American Express, Barclay Card Reward and Santander All-In-One offer cashback on all purchases made through them, which gives you that little extra you may need in expensive times like Christmas.
Stores such as Argos, Nike, Currys and Sainsbury’s all have great options for gifts for children and have the additional benefit of rewarding you with Nectar points, which you can redeem at Nectar for additional things such as gift cards you can add to your child stocking or gift to another family member. Tesco also has the Clubcard point program and offers a bunch of toys for cheap prices in their kids' aisles. Regarding reward programs, check out our article on saving with supermarket reward schemes for more information on maximising your reward point value.
For more expensive items, consider a group gifting approach. Family members or friends can pool resources to purchase a larger or more expensive toy that would be out of reach individually. This also saves time and money on wrapping and delivery costs.
Shopping during off-season sales can lead to unexpected bargains. Toys not explicitly tied to Christmas can often be bought at a hefty discount during other times of the year. The downside is that you have to hide a toy for much longer, which can be stressful, and shopping for Christmas so far ahead can snowball quickly, so make sure you still adhere to your budget. To get an idea of what things you could buy off season take a look at our 7 Christmas gifting rules for kids.
Set a Budget and Stick to It.
Speaking of budgets, it’s easy to get carried away during the holiday season or if you spot a great Christmas idea in October. So, setting a budget and adhering to it can help overspending while still making Christmas special for the kids. For more information on how to better budget during Christmas and the rest of the year, check out our article on essential apps for budgeting.
Be Mindful of Marketing Traps
Finally, it is crucial to know marketing strategies that influence emotions, such as FOMO (fear of missing out) around holiday seasons businesses know that creating a sense of urgency makes them far more likely to make a purchase, so they advertise timers, etc. to coerce you into buying something you don’t need or can’t afford just before Christmas or during Black Friday. Keeping a level head, being aware of this practice, and remembering your budget can save you money. Also, the item will likely be on sale again; check PriceRunner, or camelcamelcamel as we mentioned before, to ensure you get a real deal.
This brings me to the other popular marketing strategy around Christmas time: price inflation. Stores have been known to show inflated prices with huge ‘discounts’ that make you think you’re getting a fantastic deal, especially during the holiday season. Staying informed and mindful can help parents make wise choices that align with their budgets. For more information, visit our blog to ensure you save during Black Friday.
By employing these strategies, parents can navigate the festive season with less financial stress, ensuring that the joy of giving remains the centrepiece of Christmas. For more tips and updates on holiday saving, check out our tips for buying Christmas gifts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I joined MyVoucherCodes as a Deal Expert, searching the web and sourcing the best deals, discount codes and sales to benefit our readers. I decided to combine these money-saving skills with my love of writing and become an Editor, sharing what I have learned to help you get the most out of your money. Having been a student for four years, I understand the need to budget and get more for less.
In my spare time, I love playing video games and later writing reviews at GameReport. I also enjoy anything to do with technology and cool gadgets, and I'm constantly adding extras and components to my home gaming computer. Additionally, I love DIY, having worked in a tool store as a student, I have grown to enjoy fixing things, whether it’s my car or home.