It's the most wonderful time of the year, but also one of the the most expensive. We're always interested in finding ways to keep money in your pockets at RIFT. That counts for Christmas shopping just as much as for tax refunds. Here are a few tricks we've picked up for clinging onto more of your cash this festive season.

The Gift Card Game

Generally, buying gift cards for shops is a simple like-for-like transaction. After all, your card costs the exact same amount as it's worth, right? Well, it turns out that it's not always that simple.

Websites like www.zeek.me offer discounted gift cards for all kinds of retailers, from Argos to Starbucks. Top choices right now include iTunes, New Look and House of Fraser, with discounts of up to 8%.

If you're buying a gift for the gamer in your life, you can nab cheap online codes for digital downloads or store credit. Sites like www.cdkeys.com often feature pretty decent discounts.

The Amazon Free Delivery Trick

With a £20 minimum spend for free delivery, you're often going to find yourself agonisingly close to the magic number on Amazon. However, adding one more item can wipe out the free delivery saving at a stroke.

The online Super Saver Delivery Tool is a quick, simple way of bulking up your basket to tip it into the free delivery zone. Just type in how much more you need to add, and it'll scour the store for options that match. Spending 38p on a disposable utility brush you don't really need is still a good move if it wipes out a £6 postal charge.

Learn the Secret Language of Shopping

A quick glance at the prices in high street stores can tell you more than you'd expect. Staff insiders at large electrical stores have let slip that there's a hidden code in many of those price stickers.

We're all used to prices ending in 99p. Once in a while, though, you'll find something else, maybe a 98p or a 97p. It turns out it's probably not a typo. According to these high street whistle-blowers, prices ending in a 7 or 8 often mean the item's being discontinued. If it ends in a 1, you might be looking at a clearance item. Depending on the store, you might be able to use that information to haggle a discount.

If you spot a tag with a hand-written code in a high street clothing store, you could also be getting some privileged information. In Next, for example, you might find codes like “B14” or “S13” scribbled on the tags. Don't worry about the letter. The number's what's important here. There's a decent chance that what you're looking at is the item's price in an upcoming sale. Maybe hold off for now and check back in a week.

The Absent-Minded Shopper Dodge

Have you ever filled your basket online then got distracted by the door or your phone and never checked out? It turns out web stores HATE that, and can be desperate to pull you back in. Many of them will sometimes try luring you with a discount code. The bigger your purchase, the more likely you'll get an offer – and the larger that offer might be. It's by no means a sure bet, but it has been known to result in discounts of up to 50% or £150.

That's a quick look at some of our favourite cash-saving tricks and tips for the holiday season. If you've got more, let us know – and remember that a yearly tax rebate is a great way to soften the financial blow of Christmas. With hundreds of pounds or more claimed back from HMRC, those Boxing Day bargains will look better than ever!