CHRISTMAS is coming and the thought of having to splash out hundreds of pounds on food, presents and decorations is daunting for many.
But not for one mum, Nadine Barrett, who swears by simple tricks that can save you thousands of pounds.
Super saver Nadine, 35, a life coach and youth worker from Bracknell, has managed to save an incredible £8,000 by making easy, simple tweaks to everyday spending.
Nadine buys Christmas presents up to 12 months in advance, completes hundreds of surveys online which reward her with money, has entered thousands of competitions and won some fantastic prizes, such as a Michelin restaurant lunch worth £120.
Nadine told LatestDeals.co.uk: "For me, saving money is fun, allows me to achieve my goals and means I can avoid anxiety and panic!
"I moved in 2019 to my first home by myself and now have a mortgage and all the associated costs to pay for.
"Although I don't have kids, I have a big family, including 10 nieces and nephews, and friends I love to give to.
“Being organised and disciplined means I can do this and still meet my monthly commitments.”
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Nadine’s top tip for saving money at Christmas involves buying gifts throughout the year and looking out for sales.
She explained: “One of my top tips is buying gifts on sale throughout the year.
“When items are reduced in big sales like the end of season, New Year or Black Friday, I buy items I know my loved ones would love as well as some neutral gifts as backups in case a last-minute occasion comes up, like candle sets and glass sets that work for most people.
"For instance, my mum's favourite Marc Jacobs perfume went on sale in the summer from £60 to £30 with free delivery so I ordered a bottle and stored it as one of her upcoming Christmas gifts.”
Another way Nadine saves money is through competitions.
She said: “I also love entering competitions. Even the excitement of potentially winning gives me a buzz and there are so many great competitions out there to suit everyone's tastes.
"I use these to share with my family and friends as well as treat myself.
“I had a Michelin restaurant lunch for me and my sister on my birthday which meant I didn't have to spend money going out to eat as I usually do and only topped up my Oyster card which was less than £10.
"The meal would have retailed for over £60 each and we got a bottle of wine to share.
“I’ve also won books and skincare.”
Completing online surveys is another way Nadine earns money and she explains just how quick and easy they are to do.
She explained: “Another tip is to earn money through surveys online. I do these when I have spare time, like if I'm waiting for an appointment, commuting, watching TV and so on.
"You can build up points for vouchers or cash and use these to buy gifts, supermarket shops to reduce your food bill or exchange them for treats.
"The last six months I have earned enough to have a £40 takeaway each month via delivery apps just by answering questions and giving my opinion.”
You might think it’s obvious, but if your bills are racking up, Nadine recommends using comparison sites to keep costs down and have that bit of extra money for yourself.
She continued: “Keep household bills down by shopping around. I always use price comparison sites for insurance, wifi and utility bills.
"I switched to Admiral and used a multi-car policy with my boyfriend. We ended up saving £500 between us, plus free home contents insurance for a year.
"It's always worth looking around as new customers often get the best deals and extra gifts like vouchers to spend.
“Unfortunately, loyalty doesn't usually pay when staying with companies that provide our everyday services.
"This year, I've purchased 23 Christmas presents for this December worth in total £767.55, but which cost me £440.
“This means I can spoil everyone I want to without going over my monthly gift budget!”
Nadine also uses cashback websites and delivery passes, enabling her to earn and save money when shopping.
She said: “I always shop online through cashback sites and earn money on lots of shopping, insurance policies, holiday purchases and more.
"I get £100 of Primark clothes yearly via TopCashback earnings.
“I also search for voucher codes to save money on products, whole shops or delivery costs.
"You can find these by following your favourite brands on social media or becoming a member of communities like Latest Deals where people share these kinds of discounts.
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“Just some of the bargains I’ve got include free cinema tickets, a dress for £7.80 which was worth £28, which I bought with a sale and discount code combined, free products as a product tester, and an Amazon Fire Stick bought with Argos vouchers exchanged from Nectar points.
"Use delivery passes if you already shop often or think you will make at least two orders.
“For example, the Boohoo yearly delivery pass costs £9.99 and this is often on sale, gives next day delivery all year and has saved me up to £10 a month this year alone.”
Another of Nadine’s tips involves being organised and planning ahead of time.
She advised: "Think about big occasions ahead of time and plan, plan, plan! For instance, my nephew will be 16 next year and I want to do something really special.
"Any extra money I earn from December in tax refunds, surveys, cashback or extra income from work will be saved towards that!
"Generally you can list everyone's birthdays, Christmas or other gifts you know are coming up for the year then choose how much you want to spend or can afford and put down a set amount every month.
“I’d also recommend keeping savings in a separate account or savings pots if your bank allows more than one account so you don't spend it!
“All my tips have led me to save over £8,000."
Meanwhile, my partner and I never have takeaways or buy brands and we’ve saved £20k in 10 months – here’s my top tips.
Also, money saving pros share tips for keeping to your Christmas budget – and if you haven’t started shopping you need to NOW
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