Whether you’re someone who is well prepared or a last-minute bargain grabber, the chances are you’re probably spending some time thinking about Christmas Shopping, whether that’s online or instore.

According to statistics from The Centre of Retail Research, online sales accounted for 27% of total retail sales for the 2016 Christmas period. Many experts believe that we could see this number rise by up to 15% in 2017.

It’s likely that huge sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have had an impact on these statistics. As many retailers choose to place their best deals online to avoid the instore rushes we’ve all become accustomed to seeing over the past few years.

If, like many others, you are planning to do your Christmas shopping online, we’re going to let you in on an excellent way to save money on your purchases.

An introduction to cashback websites

In short, cashback websites allow you to earn cashback on purchases you make online. This can be a few pence on small retail purchases to £100s on large mobile phone contracts, broadband deals or insurance policies.

How to earn cashback on Christmas Shopping

To start earning cashback on your online purchases, you must first sign up to a cashback site. The two highest rated cashback sites nowadays are TopCashback and Quidco. Both sites give you the option to choose a free or premium membership. The premium membership cost just £5 and give you several additional features – something that’s certainly worth considering prior to committing.

Upon signing up you are then presented with a huge database of online retailers that offer cashback on purchases. Different retailers will offer different amounts of cashback, ranging anywhere from 1% to 15% on the total purchase amount.

To qualify for cashback, you must click the links on the cashback sites and purchase the product from that click-through. When you make that purchase, the cashback site receives commission for the retailer which they then pass to you in the form of cashback. You can then withdraw the cashback from your account or leave it in there to accumulate over weeks or months.

Things to be aware of

There are a few pitfalls of cashback sites that you should be aware of before you start using them.

Firstly, there are occasionally tracking issues with purchases, especially if you’ve visited the retailer before. Some customers advise that you can get around these by clearing your cache and then visiting making the purchase via the cashback site, however this is not a bulletproof strategy.

Secondly, it’s important that you avoid making a purchase based purely on the cashback reward. Just because a retailer is offering 15% cashback on your purchase, it doesn’t make them the most cost-effective. Always consider the pre-cashback amount prior to purchasing anything. For example, Retailer A may not offer any cashback, but their products are half the price of the retailer B who is offering 15% cashback. In this situation, it would Retailer A would be the smarter choice, despite not offering any cashback.

Finally, most cashback sites will have thresholds which you must reach before withdrawing cash. We recommend that you withdraw the cash as soon as your reach this threshold. This is because that cash will not be earning income whilst it is sitting in your cashback account. Also, if that site is to go out of business or make significant changes to its pay-out policy, you could risk losing your money.

Summary

Cashback sites are not the answer to all your financial woes. They are however a handy tool to use when buying items online. So, sign up today and see how much you can earn – you may be surprised!