Don't waste your cash on presents people don't want

40% of Brits have returned or swapped a gift they didn't like

How to make sure you don't waste your cash on presents people don't want

Whether buying for your work Secret Santa or a searching for something for your close family, it's not always easy to buy the perfect gift.

And even if you think you've found one, it doesn't mean the person you give it to will feel the same.

See also: Are your Christmas presents a gift to cyber-criminals?

See also: The average person spends £1,500 on Christmas - how can we afford it?

Get it wrong and your gift could end up resold, unused or even in the bin – a total waste of money.

One in four people say they sell or regift presents they don't want or need according to Aviva, while another survey by WatchShop has found 40% of Brits have returned and swapped a gift they didn't like.

Five ways to avoid wasting money on unwanted gifts

So how do you manage to get a gift someone actually wants? We've five ways you can help avoid wasting your money on gifts this Christmas and be #XmasReady.

Ask them what they want

This is the easiest option to guarantee your money will be well spent and your gift gratefully received. Of course doing this properly means you ne​​​ed to let them know your budget and your gift won't be a surprise.

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Make the thought really count

If you're struggling to think of something to buy but don't want to ask, the temptation will be to just grab something – often a novelty or 'boring' gift. And this increases the chance of it not being used.

Why not give to charity instead? At least then you know your money will make a difference somewhere.

You might not want to choose between a gift or a donation yourself, but you can let the person you are buying for decide. The UK Money Blogger community and BT are running #GiveOrGift to make it easier for you to ask for a donation instead of a Secret Santa gift – though you can use it for any present.

Let them choose by giving them cash

One hassle-free option is to give some cash or a cheque. Yes, it might seem impersonal, but you can always suggest how it's used. Perhaps you want the money to go towards clothes, or maybe a meal out.

Get a gift receipt

If you still want to buy something but really don't know if it's wanted, you can ask for a gift receipt which doesn't show the price of the item. Include this with your present and it's down to the recipient to swap it for something they will use.

Don't buy anything

It's amazing how often people exchange gifts by post with extended family members they haven't seen in years. Or keep buying for friends' kids even though those children are now fully grown adults.

Have a chat and see if they'll agree to not buying presents this year. You could even suggest spending the cash on meeting up for a catch up meal instead!

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Budget Christmas presents for family and friends

Budget Christmas presents for family and friends