Martin Lewis hosted a specially extended Christmas edition of The Money Show Live on Tuesday night packed with consumer advice and shopping tips to help everyone spend wisely this festive season.

The money-saving expert offered sobering advice to viewers about sticking within their budget and not getting themselves into debt, just to buy a big present for someone.

He said: “Sadly, in the money world, Christmas means debt.

“It’s what I think of first, I’ll be honest, when it comes to Christmas because in January, off the back of it, so many people get themselves in trouble and I get so many questions about it.”

Martin went on to warn that in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more likely than ever before and offered 10 top tips that could help you save money this Christmas.

Martin Lewis offered seasonal advice to help everyone make the most of the festive season, whatever their budget

1. Abandon online shopping baskets to try and score a discount

Sign in somewhere you’re registered, add an item and then walk away (virtually) - don’t buy it. In the next few days you might get an email with a code to entice you back and complete the purchase.

People have reported successes with Asos, New Look, Asda and Tesco.

Martin highlighted how one of his MoneySavingExpert.com team managed to get a 10% discount on her Marks & Spencer shopping basket, just by leaving the website.

“It doesn’t always work, but one to try.” Martin advised.

2. Haven't used it since last Christmas? Flog it

Martin advises walking around your home and looking at items received as gifts or things you bought last year. If you haven’t used it, sell it.

“We may as well get rid of the old stock to buy the new stock we want.” he said and reminded viewers that eBay, Facebook and Gumtree are handy places to flog your unwanted items.

3. Look at department store discounts

If you can’t find the discounted item that you’re after direct from the brand retailer, look at the discounts on offer at department stores, they may be selling the item cheaper.

4. Cashback credit cards

You can get 5% back on all your Christmas spending with an American Express Everyday credit card up to £100 for the first three months.

“Do all your normal spending on it, it is not an excuse to overspend,” warned Martin.

He also advises setting up a Direct Debit to pay the card off in full every month, or pay 22% APR.

5. Close to free delivery, pump it up

Many retailers offer free delivery with a minimum spend:

Martin explained that if you’re close to the free delivery minimum spend, just add something cheap to get you over the threshold.

Amazon have a free delivery tool, which you can find here, that shows shoppers exactly what fits the gap for the minimum price.

6. Cash for kids, top savings accounts

This is ideal for anyone thinking about giving kids money for Christmas.

Martin listed the top regular savings accounts:

Top accounts for lump sums savings:

7. No cash? Give your time instead

“If you have no cash this year to give Christmas presents, then give your time,” advises Martin.

He went on to explain that if you’re not good at crafts or making a homemade gift, go online and download a free ‘gift cheque’ which is blank and allows you to give someone your time - this could be a massage, babysitting or committing to cooking duties.

8. No time, use charity gift catalogues

If you’ve got cash, but no time to buy presents, Martin suggests browsing a charity gift catalogue and putting your money to good use helping others.

He listed a few to check out including Unicef, Centrepoint, Macmillan and Refuge - however, you could support a local charity or a group within your own community.

9. Free ‘£180’ case of Virgin wines

If you switch bank accounts to Virgin Money, you’ll be rewarded with 15 bottles of Virgin wine which is reported to be valued at £180.

Martin told viewers it’s the only “big money” offer being made by banks for switching customers at the moment. If you do the switch within the next day or two you should get the wine by New Year’s Eve - but it’s not guaranteed.

10. A warning about gift cards

Despite what many people may believe, Martin warned that “gift cards are not the safe option.”

He said: “People feel they’re the easy option for giving gifts, but they’re not the safe option.

“People lose gift cards, they forget they’ve got them and many have expiry dates which means if you don’t spend them in time, you’ll lose the money.”

Marti added that more importantly, if the retailer goes bust, you’ll lose your cash and won’t be able to get it back.

You can find more seasonal top tips and advice on the MoneySavingExpert.com website here.