Keith Tully, of finance and insolvency experts RBR Advisory, shares some advice to make sure working dads don’t break the bank this Christmas
The bitter cold of Winter has settled, festive-themed shopping bags have hit the high street and the first of many pre-Christmas sales are soon to be launched. But when’s the prime time to begin shopping for working dads on a budget?
The key to cautious spending and bagging the best deals is to make a shopping list which ticks off all the recipients for this year’s Christmas gifts, from the showstopper presents, stocking fillers, to the gift packaging, all of which adds up. By doing so, you can thoroughly think about your core, more costly gifts, rather than panic buying on the shop floor and totting up your bank card. The next step is to allocate a budget, ensuring that you don’t overspend and have reserve funds to meet any unexpected costs throughout Christmas and New Year’s.
If you’re feeling the rush to begin completing your shopping list, remember that buying at the wrong time may cost you as if the gift is available at a significantly reduced price later down the line, you may be missing out on a bargain. We take you through the best times to buy for Christmas if you’re a dad on a budget.
During the year – For those on a tighter budget during the festive period, you may benefit from providing some breathing room by planning your shopping list ahead. If there are any discounts on any higher value gifts throughout the year, invest in them early by taking advantage of the discount and spreading the cost. Prior to the launch of new collections, a sale will typically fall to clear old stock. Stay in the know by signing up to newsletters which will provide a countdown to the date.
Black Friday – This falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US and has in recent years been adopted by brands operating in the UK. Prices typically nosedive as shoppers find their best buys at reduced rates whilst stocks last. Although this can be tempting, it’s worth noting the quality of the product, the value for money and whether this is on your shopping list.
Money Saving Expert has already made predictions for this year’s Black Friday offers based on last year’s analysis. If you do purchase on Black Friday, ensure that you retain the receipt as if the price fluctuates, you may be able to return the product and buy it again at the reduced rate. The sales typically continue over the weekend, into Cyber Monday.
Christmas Eve – If you’re a last-minute shopper, you may decide to hold off until Christmas Eve when shops issue their final plea to sell stock ahead of the Christmas break. You may find that stock isn’t replenished over this period but any remaining goods may be heavily discounted, especially festive-themed products as Christmas Eve typically marks their expiry date. If you have the will to leave it this late, you may be in for a few major bargains.
There are many intuitive platforms which actively track the price of selected goods, such as Google Shopping which highlights any drop in price, ongoing discount codes and promotions. By actively tracking prices, you can pinpoint dips in price and get the best value for your money. Check for availability of any new customer discounts, newsletter sign up codes or loyalty points you may have racked up.
Here are some schemes which may contribute to your overall cost savings at selected retailers:
Work incentive schemes: If you have access to an internal incentive programme, including the likes of Perkbox, you may be able to marry up discounts with upcoming purchases.
If you have access to mobile reward schemes such as 02 Priority, Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards and 3’s Wuntu, you could be eligible for additional discounts.
Price Match schemes: John Lewis takes pride in their slogan ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’, allowing you to submit price match requests if you find the exact same product elsewhere at a cheaper price. The Fragrance Shop also offers a price match service by beating a selected list of seven authorised fragrance retailers.
Outlets: If you’re looking for products from a dedicated brand, visiting an outlet store may trim the costs as these will be cheaper than the main store. Keep note that selected brands may produce cheaper versions of a product to be sold at their outlet stores, sell overstock or end-of-line stock.
Donation-based gifting – It’s more than common for certain family members to dislike the custom of gift-giving and would prefer a more charitable tradition. If you’re shopping for a family member who fits this, consider giving a donation-based gift which is essentially a donation made on behalf of the individual. This can include the likes of donating towards a life-saving vaccine, safety parcel, Christmas dinner for a family in need or an olive tree to provide sustenance for generations to come.
Advance Booking – If you’re gifting an outing or holiday, take advantage of advance rate payments to save around 10 per cent on hotel bookings. Flights are also typically cheaper if booked between 16 weeks to three weeks before departure. The most expensive time to book is typically five days before departure.
Regifting – This option is one for the economical thinkers as many may shy away from regifting. If you’re driven to find a better home for a particular gift, this may be the way to go. You may consider re gifting if you previously received a duplicate gift, you already have one like it or if it doesn’t live up to your taste.
The etiquette of gift-giving typically consists of retaining the gift in the original packaging and ensuring that the new recipient has no connections with the original gift-giver to avoid bad feelings and awkward encounters.
If you take an informed approach to Christmas shopping, you’re more than likely to strike a few lucky savings, however, remember to do one last instrumental check. If you wouldn’t buy the product at full price, it’s probably not worth purchasing the gift just because it’s at a discounted rate. Shopping in the run-up to Christmas can be stressful, however by planning ahead and scouting hawk-eyed, you can skate through Christmas with more pennies in your pocket.
Keith Tully is a partner at RBR Advisory, a multi-disciplinary platform offering corporate and commercial insolvency solutions, financial consulting, forensic accounting, restructuring and turnaround services to businesses and organisations in the financial sector.