With less than a week until Christmas many of us will be panic-buying presents in time for the big day. Here are some tips on how to take the stress – and strain on your bank balance – out of last-minute Christmas shopping.
Christmas Eve haul
Katie Burton, from Telford, runs her own business, Maisie Moo gifts, and the run-up to Christmas is the busiest time of year for her.
“Often I can be working 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, so finding time for anything other than eating and sleeping is very hard,” she said.
“Every year I tell myself I’ll finish my Christmas shopping by mid-November ahead of the rush but inevitably things are left to the last minute.
“With a week to go I always manage it. It just takes some planning.
“Keep a list in a notepad or on your phone so every time you think of an idea for someone you can jot it down.
“I get some online shopping done whenever I get a moment, like on a lunch break – click and collect is very handy.
“By Christmas Eve I’ve normally got a list of well thought out gifts I need to purchase.
“I often find shops have already started discounting things and my Christmas shopping trip is a bit of a smash-and-grab, racing round to get everything.”
Natalie Oakley, from Sedgley in the West Midlands, manages to stay away from the shops by making gifts at home. She shares her tips on her blog Lady Like Momma.
“There’s nothing more warming to the soul than knowing someone will be receiving a gift that you have poured your heart, soul and time into,” said Ms Oakley.
“Making your own gifts is a great way to save money as you can usually recreate gifts seen in stores at a much lesser cost.
“You can also relax knowing your gift is unique and your friends and family will not receive one quite like it.
“Crafting is also a great way to unwind and ‘take a moment’ during this hectic time of year.
“So take an hour, put on some Christmas tunes and get your glitter and glue gun ready and start crafting your way to gorgeous Christmas gifts.”
Ashleigh Swan, from Walkergate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was made redundant three years ago. The mother of three set up www.ashleighmoneysaver.co.uk to help other families save money.
Her Christmas shopping technique could help avoid panic-buying next year.
“I try not pay full price for gifts, ever. One way to do this is to start buying gifts in the January sales, then keep this going throughout the year during sale events,” she said.
“Buying presents throughout the year is easier to do for adults rather than children.
“This is because children’s toys go in and out of style, so you don’t know what children will want later in the year.
“A way to get around this is to buy toys that will always be popular. Board games, action figures and dolls are good ideas.
“Some of the best bargains I have ever had include 90 worth of clothes from a high street store for 14.
“I bought 50 boxes of well known chocolates for 2p each – they were perfect for gifts throughout the year, I obviously kept a box or two for myself too!
“I got 75% off many gift sets including Soap & Glory, Jack Wills, Nivea, No7, Estee Lauder and many more.
“I bought these in January sales and put them away for the following Christmas. It saved me tons of money and meant I didn’t have to go Christmas shopping later in the year.”
This story was inspired by questions sent in by readers of Christmas Markets: Will Brexit have any effect?
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk