It’s almost that time of the year again, Christmas is nearing ever closer. The inevitable novelty Christmas jumpers, cheesy songs and mince pies should put a smile on everyone’s face (who isn’t a Scrooge).

However, with the credit crunch taking its toll on the financial world many of us are still feeling the pinch.

With less money in our pockets, the following tips should help make your money go further whilst reducing the risk of overspending and being left feeling sorry for yourself in the New Year. Here are 5 tips to successful Christmas Shopping.

Shop Online

With the growth of the online retail market, there is now a better choice than ever for potential customers, because of this increased competition every online retailer is out to get your business, this has resulted in massive price drops. Shopping online also makes it easy to compare sites offering similar products so that you ensure you receive the best deal possible.

Although it has never been safer to shop online, it is still imperative to be sure that the website you are purchasing from is legitimate and that it offers a safe online platform for your transactions. One of the safest methods to guarantee you don’t fall prey to online fraudsters is electronic money also known as “e-currency”. E-currency allows you to make payments online anonymously without the need to supply your bank and credit card details.

Make a List

Although this may seem boring it is an effective method whilst online shopping. It can help reduce the risk of impulse purchases. Businesses are out to get every penny from consumers this holiday season and well-crafted promotional techniques will tempt the most frugal of customers. Always stick to the original list and avoid being deviated and distracted by additional extras and special offers.

Set a Budget

A great way to do this is to set an allowance of how much you are going to spend on each individual person on your Christmas list. This will allow you to keep tabs on how much you are going to spend overall. Alternatively, you can use online pre-paid vouchers; these provide a fantastic method to limit the amount you can spend as it ensures you only can pay out up to the value of the voucher.

It is easy to get carried away on the internet when shopping as there is no physical cash to be handed over, which removes the consumer away from the reality of the purchase and, in turn, increases the risk of overspending.

Use Social Media

Follow your favourite retailers through social media to gain the best deals. Always search for discount codes prior to making the purchase online in which there are plenty of websites offering discount codes for retailers. The trend of social shopping is on the rise and to reflect this, retailers are assigning more resources, time and effort to promote their online social sites.

Don’t leave it Until the Last Minute

Avoid panicking and buying gifts for loved ones at the last minute. This can be very stressful, which can result in more emotional, unplanned purchases. Another reason to avoid last-minute purchasing online is the cost, it is likely to be more expensive as you will have to pay premium postage costs to ensure your gifts arrive on time.