There is less than two months to go until Christmas. For those of you with huge families and lots of friends (unlike me, I’m glad – and sad – to say) that means buying lots of expensive presents. That is, unless you’re sensible enough to arrange non-buying treaties with family members – the usual one being presents for kids only. You could try imposing financial limits on presents or doing a family version of the dreaded Secret Santa. But when it comes down to it, you’re going to spend lots of cash on presents. Why not try to get some money back for your generosity?
For this, you need to use a cashback site. The two main ones are TopCashback* and Quidco. I’m registered on both: it is really easy, honestly. Here’s how it works in my experience: you go online and find the thing you want to buy: for example, a jumper from Marks & Spencer. You close down that site and then go to either of the cashback sites and type in Marks & Spencer. You’ll be back on the M&S site – but you’ve clicked through to it via the cashback site, which is vital. You make your purchase. You then a little later get an email from the cashback site saying your purchase has been recorded. Go onto the site and you’ll see the amount of cashback you’ll get and when it is going to be paid. When that date comes (warning: it can be a long time – many months in some cases – in the future) you get an email saying your cashback is available. You then go to the cashback site and say how you want to withdraw it – I go for straight into my bank account, but you can usually opt for vouchers for some services or retailers which pay a little more.
So that’s money for very little effort. The downsides are the time lag between purchasing and getting the cash back and that not all retailers are on the sites – John Lewis and Amazon being notable absentees usually. And the cashback payments aren’t huge – typically less than 5% of your purchase price. But it is totally free money and there is next to no effort on your part. And if you buy a lot, then you obviously enough get more money back. Also for some non-present type purchases – such as insurance policies or airport parking – the cashback can be higher. If you think that this is all too much against the spirit of Christmas then there are charitable alternatives – www.easyfundraising.org.uk and www.thegivingmachine.co.uk offer the same kind of thing for charities and concerns, so you could shop and benefit your kids’ schools or a favourite charity. Makes you feel all warm inside, doesn’t it?
And see our guide to credit cards here for how they can help spread the cost of shopping too