Still working on Christmas shopping? Let Amanda at http://www.creativehobbyist.com help you! Her article on 7 Ways to Pay for Christmas contains so many excellent ideas I can’t wait to try them all! You can find more of her great ideas at:
&& Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/obsesstocreate
“Christmas sneaks up on me every year. It’s not my favorite holiday and to me the stores bring out the decorations earlier and earlier so I find that the holiday is usually thrown in your face way sooner than I’m ready. So in turn I choose to ignore for as long as possible then WHAM! It’s December and I have cookies to bake, decorations to put up, presents to make, presents to buy and I end up hating the whole season. Well not this year. This year I’ve prepped and I’ve prepared and I’m going to give you 7 ways to pay for Christmas with minimum effect on your budget.
Christmas, Budget, Saving Money,
Couponing- I know, I know! There’s no way around it. It sucks. But I’m telling you that you can save money on your groceries with coupons. Money saved on groceries can go towards Christmas gifts. PLUS by saving on groceries you can save on holiday baking, Christmas dinner, holiday parties, etc. All the extras can really add up and by using a few coupons combined with items on sale the savings can be big. Now to make this easy I recommend using a site that pairs up the items on sale with a coupon for you. I’m lucky enough to have a lady right here in Wilmington that does this for me her site is Dellysdeals. For the most part these coupon deals will work in other cities but always check the price on the shelf before you buy. I’ve even found prices different from what she stated in the store that she shops in! I would also recommend SouthernSavers, MoolaSavingMom. All of these are in North and South Carolina areas so if you are not in those areas I may recommend that you search for one closer to you so that you are getting the most accurate match ups.
Shop the Clearance Shelves- This is something I definitely recommend starting as early as you can. That way you are buying gifts you truly think the recipient will love instead of buying just because you need a gift and this item is on sale. This is my first year really doing this because like I said Christmas isn’t my favorite but boy am I glad I started doing it this year. Towards the end of summer Walmart had a lot of toys on the clearance shelves for CHEAP. I’m talking $10 or less for toys I know were $30+ regular price. So I stocked up on the things I thought my kids would enjoy and hid them away for Christmas. I’m sure they do this every year to get ready for the influx of holiday toys. After finding this amazing deal I’ve been avid to check clearance shelves for other gift ideas and I’ve found a few other gifts for family members at Barnes and Nobles, Joanns, etc. And by starting early not only did I save money on the gifts; they are things I know the recipients are going to love.
Buy throughout the year- I know some people have their Christmas list done by August and I admire their dedication to getting the shopping done early. I have tiny kids whose interests change by the hour so that is not very feasible for me. However, I have been shopping little by little through the year (okay, maybe just since Sept). I made a deal with myself somewhere late September early October that I would buy at least one present or make one present each week so that Christmas wouldn’t sneak up on me and destroy my budget this year. It’s easier to spend $20 a week on a gift then to have to buy 10+ gifts all in one month. So by buying a gift or two each week you can spread the costs and can help eliminate the stress on your Nov. & Dec. budget. So through the year you can as stated above shop clearance shelves but also if you have big-ticket items or those gifts you know you kids “MUST HAVE” instead of waiting until the last-minute try buying one a week or one a month to make the impact on your budget less.
Now you may be thinking this said how to pay for gifts not how to save money on gifts. Or perhaps you don’t have any extra money to spend. Well here are some ways to get actual money to use on gifts. There are affiliate links below. They do not cost you anything to use but they do give me extra points or money. I use those points/money to help pay for my kid’s Christmas. So if you find them helpful I’d love if you would use them.
Ebates- Ebates gives you cash back on purchases you’ve made online. This one I’ll admit is hard to use because you have to remember to check for the rebate before you click order. I’ve found myself slapping my head many times after making an online purchase where I submitted the order before I checked for a rebate. But these rewards can add up and you only have to have $5.01 in reward points to get a check mailed right to you or have the money deposited in your paypal account. It’s so easy. Plus if you use chrome you can add an extension that will pop up if there’s a reward available as soon as you get to a websites where a rebate is available which really helps you sign up for the rebate since all you have to do is click activate. Sign up today with my referral code and you can get $10
money saving tips, ebates, coupon, tips
Swagbucks- While this is not the fastest way to earn money it does not require a purchase in order to earn points which means you are actually making money without spending it. All you need is free time. Which I know can be hard to come by especially if you’re a mom, but a little can go a long way. Swagbucks gives points for surveys completed, downloading certain games/apps, and for purchases (like Ebates). They often put codes on their Facebook page or through push notifications if you download the app on your phone which basically gives you “Free” points just by putting the code in the box. I try to do the daily poll as much as possible, do the codes when I see them and complete surveys as time allows. Eventually the points add up and you can exchange them for gift cards. The more time you spend with Swagbucks the more points you will earn so if you’re waiting for an appointment or at school pickup maybe try completing a survey. Do a few surveys each night while you watch TV. Just try to squeeze them in when you can and those points will build up before you know it. I try to keep up with this all year and then at the end of the year get my gift card to buy Christmas presents. Swagbucks also has an extension you can add to chrome and it pops up as new surveys become available, if you’re in a site where you can get cash back (like Ebates) and if a new code is up on the Facebook page. This makes using Swagbucks easier and more convenient.
Ibotta- Ibotta goes hand in hand with your couponing and as you’re looking at the match up sites you may see it mentioned several times. Because sometimes you can score an awesome deal with a product on sale, with a coupon, and get cash back using Ibotta! I let my cash back with Ibotta add up until right before Christmas time and then cash in. There are several sites/apps like Ibotta such as Checkout 51 and Saving Star but I find Ibotta to be the one I use most consistently. It usually has an offer for milk, bread, cereal and these are non brand specific so even store brand will work. So these little bits can really add up since they are usually items you are buying each week anyway. And if you shop at Food Lion you can link it to your MVP card so you don’t even have to do anything to get these rewards except make sure they are activated before you shop. Other stores require you to activate the rewards, scan the product bar code and upload the receipt. It sounds complicated but if you do it as soon as you bring the groceries in it takes 2 minutes and you’re done. Right now if you sign up with my referral code you get $10 and I get $5. Win Win!
Reward Cards-(NOT an affiliate link) I have a Chase Freedom Reward Card and I was shocked at the amount of reward points I had racked up over the year. We rarely use the card so I was surprised when I logged in and saw I had $150 in reward points that I could use towards Christmas gifts. I don’t think a credit card is the answer for Christmas presents however I do think if you NEED a credit card for emergencies make sure it’s a rewards card and try to save up your reward points for holidays or other big purchases.
There you have it. 7 ways you can pay for Christmas. With these tips you can easily afford Christmas without totally wiping out your November and December budget. And here’s a bonus tip. And it’s a bonus because obviously not everyone can use it.
If you are crafty and enjoy making crafty things you could sell them! People are always looking for unique gifts to give at Christmas and one of the number one places people go to buy unique gifts is Etsy. It is easy to use and fairly inexpensive as far as fees go. Etsy only charges $.20 to place a listing and less than 10% when an item sells. It can take a lot of work to maintain a shop and make sure it thrives but if you willing to put in the work this is always an option especially if you’re already making things. Sign up with my referral link for 40 free listings! This may be just enough to get you through the holidays help keep your costs down and more money in your pocket for Christmas!”