Martin Lewis explains how shoppers can get £115 to spend at Amazon and Sainsbury's this Christmas
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We are so very sorry to be talking about Christmas this early, but Martin Lewis has worked out a way you can get some extra money to spend over the festive season, and it might be worth knowing.
We're not quite at the stage where all the supermarkets are wheeling out their fancy adverts, which tug heavily on the heartstrings, but it won't be long before that happens.
Christmas comes around earlier each year, and while 25 December is still 103 days away, according to the money saving expert the important thing is to plan well in advance.
In his latest newsletter he apologises profusely for talking about you-know-what this far out from the festive season but with budgets stretched he wants you to know how you can make your money go further.
Lewis explained that January is the most difficult month for people dealing with debt and Christmas spending is one of the culprits behind this.
While some shoppers have started abominably early and already bought all the presents they'll be placing under the tree, about three months from now most will not have started yet.
According to Martin Lewis it's important to figure out now how much money you can set aside for Christmas and budget accordingly, but to boost your budget his team have found a few money saving methods.
His newsletter explained that if you open a new bank account with First Direct and stick at least £1,000 in there, they'll pay you £175 within 28 days, so plenty of time to conjure up some free money for Christmas shopping if you've got the savings to open up an account.
For those planning to spend money at Amazon or Sainsbury's this Crimbo Lewis has highlighted that newcomers signing up to the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit card can get gift cards if they spend enough.
Lewis warned that this offer was only for households that were planning on spending a decent sum of money with the card over the next three months as it gives shoppers a point per pound, but they get 20,000 bonus points if you spend £3,000 on the card within the first three months.
So how does this translate into money to spend at Amazon or Sainsbury's?
Racking up 23,000 points on the card translates into a gift card for Amazon or M&S worth £115, but you can push that to £150 at Sainsbury's by using a hack Lewis laid out.
Amex points normally convert into Nectar points at a one to one ratio, but if you convert Amex points into Avios using the American Express website and then link your Nectar and British Airways Executive Club accounts (both are free to join), you can use the British Airways site to turn Avios into Nectar points at a rate of 300 Avios to 400 Nectar points.
That all sounds a little bit confusing but apparently it works, though Lewis warned that anyone signing up to this credit card should remember to cancel it within a year as you pay a fee of £160 for each year you have it after the first.
Lewis also highlighted that since it's a credit card this is only really worth doing if you can afford to pay back what you spend on it each month, otherwise the fees rather defeat the point of getting free money.
He's also recommended you buy the stamps you'll need for Christmas before 2 October as they'll soon increase in price.