Four ways to save money through the year for Christmas

(Yes I know, I’m about to use that word, but…) Christmas can be a really expensive time of year for many people – especially if you have multiple children to buy for. Add to that buying gifts for other family members, it can all add up to a costly amount so I like to save money where I can. I know some people only buy gifts for children, but I’m a self-confessed giver as I just love to see the reactions when somebody opens a present I’ve spent the time researching and wrapping – possibly even making!

During the last few years I’ve become accustomed to a few really easy ways to save money through the year to use for Christmas presents (and sometimes food). I could say that you’ll be earning free money though it’s technically not, as you do need to spend to earn with some of the methods. But you don’t need to spend any more than you normally would, and you’ll see why. 

Receipt snapping

A phone screen with a folder named receipts, and three different apps - Huyu, Shoppix and Storewards

This method to save money just involves taking pictures of your receipts for market research purposes – so from the money you already spend anyway. You earn tokens for each receipt you snap, which you can then convert into shopping vouchers or cash (paid out via PayPal). I use three different mobile apps to snap mine and they each offer a different amount of points.

Shoppix

With Shoppix you need to snap your receipts within seven days of purchase, and you receive 25 tokens for each receipt (up to 30 per week). Shoppix also accept e-receipts and award 30 points per receipt. So this one is good for those that do a lot of online shopping! From your receipts you may be offered surveys which award even more tokens. Electronic scratchcards are also awarded for different things on Shoppix which, you guessed it, can also give you more tokens!

A phone screen displaying the Shoppix app and rewards available

Storewards

Storewards (Android / Apple) is similar to Shoppix in that you can add both physical and e-receipts, but this one is more simple overall. It awards coins – 600 per receipt – and you can upload up to 35 per week. You can also receive a daily coin bonus for every day you log into the app. If you use Amazon a lot you can connect your account to automatically read your receipts, but I haven’t done this. Valid receipts can be within a 14 day window with this one, so you have a bit longer than with Shoppix.

A phone screen displaying the Storewards app

Huyu

Huyu is the one I use least out of the three receipt snapping apps, purely because it doesn’t allow you to add receipts from as many stores. (The others accept receipts from a huge variety of retailers but Huyu only accepts ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Co-op, and Ocado). Huyu awards 5 points per receipt and like Shoppix, you only have a seven day window to upload them. Like the other two though, it does accept both physical and e-receipts.

A phone screen displaying the Huyu app and the rewards available

TopCashBack

TopCashBack may be a website a lot of people already use, but I’ve only started using it regularly during the last couple of years. Like receipt snapping, you’re earning from what you’re already spending anyway, so it makes sense to use it to save money. It did take me a few weeks of remembering to check if I could earn cashback depending on the retailer I was purchasing from (and facepalming myself when I realised after that I could have used it), but now it’s a bit like muscle memory for me!

The amount of cashback you can earn from here depends on the retailer and it does change often. The cashback offers on the app home screen change regularly too so it’s worth checking every few days, especially if you’re already planning to make an online purchase. It’s a simple click through to the retailer from the app, make your purchase, and your cashback amount will show in the app within a few days.

A phone screen displaying the TopCashBack app, the top offers and cash balance available to withdraw

You can receive cash back in two ways with TopCashBack; cash payout via PayPal or bank transfer, or via your Reward Wallet. Reward Wallet is a place where you convert your cash back into gift cards, and some retailers offer up to a 25% bonus on top.

I mainly use this for my insurances, holiday bookings, and eBay and Etsy purchases. (As I mentioned earlier, it’s also worth checking if a retailer you’re planning to buy from offers cash back).

Surveys

The third way to save money is self explanatory and does take a bit more effort and time; but even if you take 20 minutes out of your day whilst you’re having a cuppa, the points soon add up. The main websites I use for this are Toluna and Power of Opinions.

Toluna

I personally find Toluna a lot more rewarding as they offer more surveys, and currently each survey is worth double points. Once you’ve signed up and have completed your profile surveys, you will start receiving survey invites via email. The amount of points earned per survey can range from 15 to 50,000, depending on the length of the survey. Once you have earned at least 14,000 points you can begin exchanging points for either gift cards or cash. Retailer gift cards on here include Waterstones, Argos, Amazon and Primark, or you can cash out via PayPal.

A phone screen displaying the Toluna survey website and the rewards centre

Power of Opinions

I don’t receive as many survey invitations from here and the ones I do, I tend to qualify for less than half; but every little helps and if I don’t qualify then I’ve only lost a couple of minutes from my day. Power of Opinions does also offer less points per survey. Each point on here is equivalent to 1p, so you can earn anything from 15p to £500 per survey; again, dependant on the length of the survey. Once you’ve earned 1,000 Power Points you can start redeeming them. They do currently only offer three ways to cash out points – via Amazon, PayPal, or Love2Shop gift cards.

Tesco Clubcard

The final money saving method I use throughout the year is saving up all of my Tesco Clubcard points. Of course this won’t be an option for everybody, but my main shop is done at Tesco; so it makes sense for me to save them all up to use at Christmas for my food shop. Or if you redeem them with a Reward Partner then you can get up to 3x the value to use, for example, on subscriptions or experiences as Christmas gifts.

Do you already use any of these four ways to save money, or are there any I haven’t mentioned? Whichever you choose to adopt, happy money saving!

Disclosure – I may earn rewards if you click via some of the links in this post.

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