I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! Seems like we were just ringing in the new year, but here it is again! No worries! I’ve been planning all year for my Christmas shopping so bring it on! Are you ready? Don’t worry if you haven’t. My family is on a fixed income with four human mouths and four very large canine mouths to feed so money is definitely tight. I’m going to let you in on my secret of how I plan all year for my Christmas shopping on a budget.
I used to stress over money and the onset of money-hungry holidays like Christmas. But not anymore. I’ve figured out a way to plan all year, which enables me to have extra money for buying gifts for my family and fur-babies. Christmas shopping on a budget doesn’t have to be stressful and depressing. Follow my tips and strategies all year and you can actually enjoy the holiday instead of dreading it!
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Like most “money” holidays and occasions, Christmas seems to just sneak up on us out of nowhere and we end up freaking out over how to afford gifts. I’ve mastered the art of early planning! By using these money savings apps all year, I have quite a bit of money and points saved up at the end of the year to pay for most of my Christmas shopping. It is easier than most people think, but you have to put in SOME effort. With these apps, I spend very little from our household budget on holiday gifts. It’s basically like Christmas shopping and getting everything for free! Who doesn’t like free?
Ebates & BeFrugal are the best inventions since the smartphone! No really! I keep telling everyone to sign up but some are just so darn stubborn and skeptical. That’s cool – I get it. But these apps are FOR REAL and there is no “catch” to using them. Not using them is literally like throwing money away every time you shop! You can read more about how they work on one of my previous posts How I Save Money AND Receive Cash Back.
In addition to the cash back savings, you can earn even more money by getting your friends and family to sign up! AND IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE TO JOIN! Sign up now for Ebates! Sign up now for BeFrugal! I save all the cash back and referral bonuses I earn during the year and use them on my holiday shopping. In the last 11 months, I’ve earned $249 with Ebates and I still have time to earn more for my November payment – just in time to finish up my Christmas shopping! I barely signed up for BeFrugal this past July and have already earned $121! Even if you are late in the game for this year, SIGN UP NOW and get a head start on next year’s Christmas shopping! Be sure to install the browser extension for both so you don’t miss out on savings!
Shopkick is an app you put on your phone and get points or “kicks” for things like walking into stores, scanning products, and making purchases. It works for physical stores and online shopping. I had a friend comment that she didn’t have “time” to do these apps. I’m like “COME ON – SERIOUSLY?” You are already at the store so literally, just tap your phone! Read more about Shopkick – How I made $500 Earning Points on my Phone.
Shopkick is free to download and join and with all the kicks you earn throughout the year, you can cash them in for gift cards to places like Walmart and Amazon. Wouldn’t you know it? Those are the two places I do the majority of my holiday shopping! Last year I was able to earn enough kicks to get several gift cards totally around $125 (which I ended up using at Walmart.) SIGN UP NOW!
If you are like me and short on time, clipping coupons just isn’t something I have time for. Instead, I use several savings apps that give me cash back for certain purchases. Check out my post How I Make Money Shopping with Ibotta. I use IBOTTA, SavingStar and Checkout 51 the most. I tend to get more from Ibotta, but since my goal is money for Christmas shopping, I use all three and sometimes can get money back on all three for the same product. As of today (August), I have close to $100 between the three of them. Again, use these all year and have some extra money for Christmas shopping on a budget!
Did you know you can earn points (to be exchanged for gift cards) just by scanning all of your receipts? RECEIPT HOG and RECEIPT PAL are two phone apps that you can scan/upload your receipts from shopping (including online shopping) and earn points. I actually put a basket in the kitchen so my family can drop their receipts in it for fast food, gas, and whatever else they buy. Rack up the points all year and trade them in for gift cards to your favorite stores (like Walmart, Amazon, etc). Sounds like more free Christmas shopping!
Walmart has an app that you can download to your phone. DO IT!! Anytime you shop at Walmart, you can scan the QRC code at the bottom (that weird square looking thing), and it will scan all competitors’ ads for that week to see if anyone has a lower price for everything you bought. They’ve apparently done away with in-store price matching and replaced it with this. Personally, I like this better because it does all the work for you. If they find a lower price, they’ll apply the difference to an online Walmart gift card. This isn’t a huge money maker but can rack up a little extra shopping money. I started using it about a month ago and have already earned over $8! Those who do most of their shopping at Walmart will score better than those who only shop there on occasion.
In addition to all the cash back you can earn, there are other ways to maximize your holiday shopping budget. Don’t wait for Black Friday deals – and skip the crazy shoppers – and shop early throughout the year. You can score some really great gifts for a huge discount using these programs.
You can save money on just about everything using Groupon and Living Social. Check out this post to learn more How I Save Money Using Groupon. And what’s even better is that once you are signed up, you can score even more savings back with Ebates and BeFrugal cash back! Get on their email lists and get “members only” offers in your email! They always send me offers for gift cards like paying $5 for a $10 Starbucks gift card. I stock up on these when it comes around and use them for stocking stuffers for office parties and for my kids.
You can shop Amazon and get everything you need for Christmas shopping on a budget – and more! I always check out any deals that are being promoted throughout the year around holidays and other events like Back to School or Get Ready for Summer to score savings on things on my holiday shopping list. What’s even better is that most of the savings apps I mentioned earlier have Amazon gift cards as an option for trading in your points! Again, it’s like shopping for free! And be sure to sign up for Amazon Prime so you get free 2-day shipping on everything!
With the right planning and focus, Christmas shopping doesn’t have to make you lose sleep (or hair)! Even though Christmas is just around the corner, you can still apply these tips and strategies to save some money this year. But get started NOW and sign up for all the programs and apps I’ve mentioned. They are all completely free (except Amazon Prime but you can try it out free for 30 days and cancel if you don’t like it). Be sure to sign up with the links included in the post because some of them give your bonus points for being referred!
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