It’s almost that time of year again. It seems like the Christmas season is starting earlier and earlier with every passing year, and even though the relentless consumerism and commercialization of Christmas gets under my skin, I LOVE this time of year. The purpose of Christmas is faith and family, and there’s nothing more important than that.
There’s no doubt that gift giving is one of the most fun parts of Christmas (shhh, don’t tell my wife, but she’s getting an Instant Pot this year. She’s wanted one for a LONG time now). I’m sure you can relate to this though: Christmas shopping isn’t always so fun for your budget. Sure you have Black Friday sales, but when you’re hunting for the perfect gift, it can get expensive.
These are my tips on how to save money on Christmas shopping!
If you EVER shop online, you need to use Ebates. Ebates is a free website that sends you cash back every time you shop online using their links, and they’ve saved me tons of money.
Ebates is currently giving back 5% of your purchase if you shop on Amazon, 10% if you shop through Macy’s, 7% on hotel bookings through Travelocity, or Expedia, 9% at J.C. Penny – I’ve even had 30% to 50% paid back to me on purchases of flowers, or filing my taxes online with Turbo Tax.
Every time I shop online, I get a check sent to me in the mail within 3 months. It’s a totally free and easy way of off-setting my costs.
Many people hesitate to use Ebates because they don’t want to have to spend extra time going through Ebates first, and then clicking to the store they want to shop at. But even THAT is no longer necessary. Ebates lets you attach a button to your browser bar so that you can just go straight to whatever website you’re shopping on, and it will automatically activate your cash back, and give you credit.
It’s crazy easy money.
2. Make Fast Cash ($100+) With Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a free to use website that has dozens of ways to make fast cash. In fact, it’s probably the easiest possible way to make a couple hundreds bucks there is.
Most people know Swagbucks as a website that pays you a little pocket change to watch videos or fill out surveys. They take a lot of time, for very small payouts. But what many people don’t realize, is that the best way to make good, fast money through Swagbucks is by trying the free offers.
Swagbucks paid me $32 to try a $7 month of Hulu! In other words, that’s $25 and a free month of Hulu. They paid me $7 to try a free trial of Graze (which sent free healthy snacks in the mail), $20 for free skin care products, $10 for a free trial of teeth whitening products, they pay $250 if you sign up for Uber or Lyft and drive your first passenger, paid me $7 to try new, free clothes from a company called Gwennybee, and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. Though these specific offers may not be current, Swagbucks has a constant stream of offers like this, that helped me make about $120 in barely over a week! There’s the screenshot below:
Here’s where you can take it to the next level: you can refer other people to Swagbucks, and YOU get a 10% bonus on everything THEY earn. This means that if you have a couple family members, each member of your family can get the free trials on their own Swagbucks accounts, doubling or tripling your money. If you or your family members have multiple emails, each family member can get the free trials multiple times…
So in addition to having an ocean of skin care gels and a life supply of free Hulu, you can make hundreds of dollars within a half hour. This is a scheme that has worked well for my wife and I. With a couple apps like Swagbucks, we make almost $3,000 in spare cash every year without even working.
That’s a great chunk of change to make right in time for Christmas!
3. Become A Master Of Thrifting
Sifting through a shady thrift store, or a GoodWill, may seem like the last place you would go for Christmas shopping. But you might be amazed at what you can find with a little deal hunting skill.
This past week alone my wife and I went to a local camp auction and got 3 pairs of perfect condition Adidas shoes (1 of which had visibly never been worn), 3 pairs of good-as-new Nike sneakers, a set of Dockers sunglasses, and won
a set of VISA gift cards worth $30… for a single bid of $25. The entire thing… $20.
One couple at the auction got a brand new, $105 pair of Chacos sandals for $0.50.
By finding the right places to look, you can find some incredible deals. Often, summer camps, colleges, and other institutions will auction off unclaimed lost-and-found items as a fundraiser. Many thrift stores in affluent areas (where teenagers have no concept of the value of a dollar), will have $100 brand items, like Supreme hoodies, for a couple dollars a piece.
A ski resort near where I live has an annual auction when they restock, or put old stock on clearance. My Dad had the foresight to go early, before Christmas season, and bought a brand new, $900 pair of skis for my Christmas gift… for $90. And a brand new, $250 pair of ski boots for $50. I think you get it.
The idea of giving a second-hand item for a Christmas gift may make you skeptical, but you can give some really great gifts this way that your loved ones will enjoy.
4. It’s The Thought That Counts
I know, it’s a bit of a cheesy cliche, but it’s often the simplest, or home-made gifts that are the most meaningful. It depends a little on who your person is, and what they like, but don’t be afraid to give something other than just material gifts. An act of care or service can go a long way, especially around Christmas time.
This is especially true with a significant other. Agree on some unique, low-cost gifts to each other and then put thought and effort into making it special! Memory making is one of the most priceless gifts.
Are you ready for the holidays?
Take some of the stress out of Christmas shopping this year! Enjoy it! These 4 things have helped me find some great gifts for my loved ones without breaking the bank. Try them out!