Bag your last minute Christmas bargains

Where did the time go? Just weeks ago many of us were looking around the high street and contemplating starting our Christmas shopping only to shrug our shoulders with a dismissive, 'nah, it's not even December yet'.

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How time flies. Last Monday was “Mega Monday”, the most lucrative day of the year for online retailers when total receipts are expected to have hit £450million. Now, those same online retailers are hastily reminding customers about their delivery deadlines urging them to place their orders now to avoid disappointment on the big day.

Amazon.co.uk for example gives customers until Dec 18 to place orders and qualify for super saver delivery, and until Dec 20 to have presents arrive on time via express delivery. Play.com meanwhile lists Dec 20 as its last postage date.

Are there bargains still available?

The good news is that in these tougher economic times, retailers are competing more furiously for your business and there are a host of attractive deals out there. As you probably won’t have time to trek from one store to another the easiest way to ensure you’re getting a good deal is to use our shopping channel to compare rates from dozens of retailers with one simple search.

For example, if a loved one wants a games console this Christmas, you can make some real savings by using our shopping channel to compare prices on a Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 Arcade or Sony PS3.

Tips for last-minute shoppers

If you have left your Christmas shopping to the last minute then don’t panic – you can still be savvy about the way you shop if you follow these simple tips:

Buy online
Nearly all retailers offer their cheapest deals online due to lower overheads. You can use a comparison website such as ours to compare deals with other retailers meaning you don’t even need to leave your home and battle with other shoppers on the high street.

Buy with caution
If you are buying online do remember to double check the cut-off dates for deliveries and read the small print because even if an item is stated as being in stock, you may find you have to wait longer than normal for delivery.

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Take advantage of sales
Many stores have launched a ‘battle of the bargains’ thanks to the collapse of Woolworths. The high street giant launched the biggest closing down sale ever by slashing prices by 50% across the majority of its 813 outlets with other prices falling by 80%. As a result Woolworths enjoyed its biggest ever retailing day and other established names such as Argos, Halfords, Boots, Toys R Us, Comet and B&Q have since launched discount sales of their own. Remember that most of the sales apply online as well as in high street stores.

Use discount vouchers and codes
If you shop at a store, you should try to take advantage of their loyalty cards (not to be confused with store cards, which have dangerously high interest rates) and also take a look at vouchers and discount websites to enjoy exclusive offers. At moneysupermarket.com we have some exclusive codes of our own – such as 20% off at Borders when you enter the code ‘moneysupermarket20’. Click here to visit our community forum and find some amazing codes. If you add codes that you’ve found, you could win up to £100 worth of Love2Reward vouchers in our Weekly Prize Draw.

Think of something a little different
You don’t have to scratch your brains thinking of a CD or DVD to pass on to a loved one. Instead why not send them on the adventure of a lifetime? We’ve teamed up with Virgin Experiences to offer discount prices on Experience Days such as driving an Aston Martin around a racetrack or taking flying lessons.

So don’t panic. You still have time to make Christmas special for everyone around you – just don’t wait any longer.

Disclaimer: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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