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Top tips for last minute shopping this Christmas

It’s all too easy to burn a hole in your budget –and let good shopping habits fall by the wayside –when you’re scrambling around for presents at the last minute.

If you’re likely to be found at the mall on Christmas Eve, here are a few tips on how to get yourself (and your debit card) through the festive shopping maze unscathed:

1. Choose debit over credit

The New Year will be here before you know it, and so will any credit card bills you’ve racked up over the silly season. To get the New Year off to a flying start, consider choosing debit over credit when you make Christmas purchases so you’re only spending what you have available.

Downloading your banking app onto your smartphone could help keep your balance front of mind, allowing you to track how much you’re spending as you go.

2. Compare offers

Those Christmas window displays may look great, but if you’re running around for last minute gifts they could be tempting you to take the easy option rather than the cost-effective option.

If you have some gift ideas in mind, do a quick search online to compare offers from different retailers before you head to the shops.  Retailers often have special offers in the run up to Christmas, so you could find yourself in line for a better deal

3. Consider your options

Extended warranties can be useful if you’re shelling out for a large purchase that you expect to keep for many years. But if it’s a lower cost item, such as a toaster, that you expect to replace in due course, consider whether you really need that additional protection, which could add significantly to your bill. Many items come with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty which could be sufficient for your needs.

4. Think before you spend

Whether it’s overstocking the cupboard in a rush to stock up on last-minute Christmas goodies, buying unsuitable gifts, or forgetting to check refund policies because you’re in too much of a rush – leaving things to the last minute could see you throwing money down the drain.

Even if you’re pushed for time, spending a few minutes writing a list could help you focus on what you need to buy, and save you time (and money) in the long run.

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