This morning on Nashville’s “Talk of the Town” I did a segment on Holiday Shopping without Spending (Click the link to watch the video – it’s #1). Whether this is your first time on the site or you wanted to find out more ways to save, here is a detailed list of ways to make it through your holiday lists without breaking your budget:
*Sign up with online sites such as MyPoints (where you earn points for reading emails) or Swagbucks (points for using their search engine) and then convert those points into gift cards that you can either give away as gifts (for places ranging from restaurants to clothing stores) or use to purchase gifts
*Take advantage of your Store Credit and rewards card offers – For instance, I just got enough bonus points on my Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic credit cards to get a $10 reward for each store…simply for updating my email address!
*Stores like Target often give away gift cards when you buy certain products (for example, buy 4 General Mills products and get a $5 Target gift card). If it’s something you’d buy anyway or have coupons to get it for FREE, this is a great way to buy gifts for others.
*Take advantage of “gifts with purchase” or rebate gifts. For example, Toys R Us had a Super Why promotion where you could take 20% off of any Super Why toys PLUS get a FREE puzzle with purchase. So I got something for my daughter PLUS a FREE gift that I could use for a friend. Johnson & Johnson recently offered a rebate if you bought so many of their products, you got a free Froggy bath/toy hopper (that sold for over $10). With coupons, you can get the Johnsons’ buddies soap for free, so not only are you getting products you can use, but you get additional products that can be gifted out.
*Airline Miles are another great way to buy gifts. You can use as few as 500 miles to “buy” a magazine or newspaper subscription and have it send directly to the recipient with a gift message. You can also use miles for charitable donations and make a donation in someone’s name.
*Take advantage of Free Magazine subscriptions throughout the year and gift them – you can even use them to create a themed gift basket with other freebies you collect throughout the year
*Earn gift cards through local promotions. Ex: I just earned a $15 Lowe’s gift card for taking a “test drive” around their parking lot and can now earn a $25 Kroger gift card if I do the same at the dealer…I can buy a LOT for $25 at Kroger when I used my coupons in conjunction with their sales, including buying other gift cards!
*Use online freebie offers that I feature on my site, such as Free books or Free music downloads to create holiday music samplers that are great host/hostess gifts. For example, right now I’m giving away 5 autographed copies of Plumb’s newest album, “Beautiful History”, that was just released on 11/3! Wouldn’t that make an amazing gift for someone???
*Offer your services: create meals, offer your decorating skills, or even just watch someone’s kids so they can have a much needed date night – there is great value in each of these!
If you start earlier in the year, there are also options for making/saving extra money:
*Earn $ through online survey/opinion sites (such as Inbox Dollars or Opinion Outpost) and decide that whatever you earn from these sites will be put aside for gifts.
*Many financial institutions offer programs where they round off every purchase you make and automatically put it into a savings account. You could set aside this money for your Christmas gift fund or even family vacations.