There has been a surge in the number of discount vouchers which are being used as Brits sweep the web in order to save a little bit more on big-ticket items, household goods and their weekly shopping bills. has revealed that there are over 400 times as many people using discount vouchers on their shopping as there were five years ago.

According to their research, customers have accessed over 14 million voucher codes this year, compared to just 35,000 in 2004. Around half of the codes downloaded are then used, and this number is set to rise as we look at ways on how to avoid Christmas debt to ensure that we start 2010 as debt free as possible.

This rise in voucher code usage shows how the economic climate means we want to shop as smart as possible, ensuring that we get the best deals at the best prices. Many High-Street stores and restaurants have turned to money-off vouchers to attract extra custom during the credit crunch, which has help to fuel this boom in voucher usage.

And now, as Christmas decorations adorn shop windows and stores try as hard as possible to get us in the festive mood and spending, it can be hard to resist Christmas deals and promotions. Many gift sets and gadgets are on 3-for-2 which means you can save a little extra, but shopping online, looking for voucher codes and combining it with cash-back sites where possible is a sure way to take full advantage of Christmas discounts.

Danny Watson, from website Voucher Alerts, comments: “There has been a huge rise in the number of voucher codes being released by retailers in the run up to Christmas with more and more trying to entice customers to buy… and lots of retailers have run with similar ideas which when combined with the discount codes they are releasing can save you a huge amount off of your Christmas shopping bill.”