I'm one of those gift givers that aims to make the receiver overjoyed. I want to see them smile, which often takes it's toll on my purse. Over the past few years I've been trying to give people presents they will love, without it putting a huge financial burden on me. Here are my tips on how to save money when buying Christmas presents.

Plan ahead

I write down a list of everyone I'm buying for, for multiple reasons. First off it means that I can see on paper who I need to buy for so I can keep a note as I'm buying gifts. Second of all, it means I won't forget anyone who I intended to buy for. Once you have your list, you can put those people in priority of budget you're going to spend on them and start looking at potential gifts.

Set yourself a budget

In order not to go above and beyond like I have to the extent where I used all my birthday money on other people, you need to set a firm budget. Say you can only put a few people on the top of your list, set a max budget for those people. If there are people you need to buy just a token gift for, set a little budget for those too. If you've managed to buy the same gifts but with money off them then you've saved yourself money.

Look out for store offers

Stores like Boots and Superdrug often to 3 for 2 on Christmas presents where you can save quite a huge chunk of money. Debenhams have 3 for 2 on stocking fillers at the moment so it's always worth looking to see what deals you can get your hands on if you're buying those items regardless. Around certain times of the year, such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving etc all seem to have at least 5% or 10% off, so make sure you sign up to receive emails to be the first to know when you can save yourself a buck or two. If it's a place that does student discount, for example Superdrug, you can actually most of the time use your student discount on top of the 3 for 2 offers. Make sure to check out the Unidays and NUS websites to see what student deals you an get.

Black Friday

There are websites that promote their Black Friday offers a few weeks ahead, see keep an eye out. Last year, there were rumours that Boots had a huge discount on the Olympus Pen E-PL7 on Black Friday, so I looked out for it and could you believe it, I actually saved more money than I spent on it. Every year on Black Friday I put my game face on and head online to look for exclusive deals on places like Amazon who put heavy discounts on just for a day (unless they do ones for Cyber Monday too). I actually bought Andy's drone last Christmas on Black Friday which I wouldn't have been able to afford if it hadn't been for this day after Thanksgiving that has made it's way over to the UK.

Buy in bulk and split them up

Some people I won't buy a main gift for, inspired by a favourite Fairy Godmother Kat, who spends a lot of time creating festive goodie bags. They're filled with chocolates, token mini alcohol bottles, scratch cards etc and they are one of the things I look forward to every year because I know she has spent so much time putting them together. You can pick up gift boxes from a lot of stores, Amazon and Etsy in particular, and fill them with items that you can buy in bulk such as sweets, candy canes, lip balms and so on. Instead of buying someone another Lynx set or body lotion pack, give them the gift their inner child will love.

Don't always buy presents in the festive aisles

I can't stress this enough. Not every present that you will give to people will be from the Christmas section in the store or on the online website. Say fragrances for example, in the present sections they have boxes with scented body creams or novelty items like mirrors in, for a significantly more expensive price. If you look for the individual fragrance around Christmas time, you can often make a huge saving. You can buy items such as alcohol and chocolate from the normal sections of the store instead of falling for pretty packaging that adds money on top just for a red or green label on the front of it.

Get on Google to look for deals

Often places like Vouchercloud host exclusive discounts by clicking on their site and it takes you through to the brand's website. Places like Groupon often put discounts on if you buy through their site, and they only take a few seconds to search for. If you type in 'discount code' or 'offers' into Google then you will see a ton of results to tempt you with money off. Even if you use these discounts, if you're a member of any cashback websites such as Quidco or with your own bank that do cashback deals, you can have that small percent put back into your bank the following month, making January not a sad month after all.

Look for giveaways and competitions

Head over to Twitter and Instagram to see if there are any giveaways for products you're looking at buying yourself. You can always enter, buy the item anyway and as long as you keep the receipt, if you won you could return the item (check store policies) and have then saved yourself money if you strike lucky. I have two giveaways that are live at the moment: Win an Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette and Win an Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.

Think outside the box

So you're thinking of what stores in town you can pick up your presents from, right? How about supporting smaller businesses, where you can often save yourself money and buy more personalised gifts. Places like Notonthehighstreet, Etsy, IWOOT etc have options to personalise gifts with money off, and you often get better customer service as a result of dealing with a brand with a smaller customer base. In some stores you may be looking at makeup bags that have items inside them, but online you could buy personalised makeup bags that are cheaper and look a lot nicer.