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The advent calendar that brings discounts not chocolates

online shoppingAs Christmas creeps closer, one firm has introduced an advent calendar with a difference, with not chocolate behind the windows, but debt-busting deals.

Sports Direct have launched a campaign designed to appeal to consumers’ stretched budgets rather than their sweet tooth, with a different saving on offer each day.

The sporting retailer has opted to offer cash-strapped consumers a deal each day, starting rather earlier than the traditional festive calendar on 18 November and running until December 22nd.

However, Sports Direct are not the only store giving a helping hand to the public this Christmas, even if some have ended up giving away slightly more than they intended.

Tesco had an offer on a milkshake which was meant to provide customers with one free bottle every time another one was purchased. But shoppers received a nice surprise when they reached the checkout because not only did they get two free bottles for every one bought, but an extra £1.25 was taken off the bill – an unintended freebie.

The administrative blunder led to many customers buying the milkshakes in bulk along with other shopping and receiving big discounts off their total – one example cited by a delighted shopper was 12 milkshakes and three 2 litres bottles of Pepsi for the rock bottom price of 21p.

Whilst news of the giveaway spread like wildfire amongst money saving sites, Tesco says that the error was spotted and rectified within 24 hours.

However, even for those who missed out on the unintentional Tesco giveaway, it is possible to pick up a bargain by opting for supermarket own-brand rather than named products according to consumer champion, Which?

The watchdog carried out a blind taste test on many seasonal goodies and has reported that the cheaper generic brands frequently beat the better known brands, with a price tag to match the size of their reputation.

Mince pies and champagne are two Christmas indulgences that many people like to enjoy, but with many households forced to cut back this year, luxuries such as this could be ruled out.

However, Which? has revealed that budget-priced alternatives beat some of the most expensive brands on the market in a taste test, allowing consumers to enjoy a cut-price grocery bill without compromising on quality.

The champagne that was consistently rated the best flavoured was budget supermarket Morrisons, The Best Brut Champagne which only costs £19.99 compared to its beaten rivals, Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon which were priced at £34.99 and £30.00 respectively. Other own label brands to also perform well in the test were Waitrose, also priced at £19.99 and Co-Op and Lidl, which are available for £17.99 and just £14.99.

And for households hoping to leave a mince pie out for Santa without wincing at the cost, the news that the festive treats that won the test were a third of the price of the most famous brands will be sure to bring a sigh of relief. Fortnum & Mason and upper class store Harrods are two manufacturers renowned for top quality and offer their mince pies at £8.95 and £7.95 respectively.

But neither of these was deemed as offering the best mince pie by the tasters, who plumped for a cut-price version retailing at three times less than the posh nosh. Tesco and Waitrose were the two winners in this category, offering their mince pies at just £2.50 and £2.49 respectively, a much more affordable choice for cash-strapped consumers.

Which? said that the rising cost of living need not have the effect on Christmas celebrations that many people feared, with expensive brands being beaten by the own-brand versions.

Mince pie and glass of bubbly anyone?

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