“Its easier to feel a little more spiritual with a couple of bucks in your pocket.” ― Craig Ferguson
There are lots of ways to make and save money this holiday season. You can get your holiday shopping done without blowing the budget or leaving you feeling the January Blues. By having a spending plan in place ahead of time, you are less likely to impulse buy and save yourself money.
The first thing you should do is make a list and then check it twice. Figure out the people you’re buying for and what you want to spend on each person. Before you go shopping brainstorm ideas and price them out. It may take a little extra time but it’s worth it. If you don’t have it written out ahead of time, it’s easy to feel like you didn’t get enough or make expensive impulse purchases.
After you know who you are buying for and how much you want to spend start looking for deals. The best thing you can do is start early. The more time you have, the more opportunities for saving money may arise. You can save a lot of money when something is available at a sale price. This also allows you to search for Loss Leaders, which are products companies lose money on to get you into the door(sometimes these can also be called “door busters”).
Most popular companies(Kohl’s, Macy’s Victoria Secret… etc.) give loyalty and incentive discounts. Sign up through their website so you can be on the look out for the best deals. A lot of places will send you discounts or offer free or bonus gifts with certain purchases, maybe even both.
Make sure you use coupon and rebate apps. These can save you tons of money during the holidays. Two popular phone apps are Retail Me Not and Coupon Sherpa. These sites work with vendors to get discounts, some are nationwide deals, some are exclusively for their members. You should not buy anywhere without checking these first! Examples of discounts would include 40% off, $5 off, etc. Certain stores, sometimes include free shipping, freebies, or other special perks. Perks and discounts vary by store. They also have different promotions available for online and in store. These apps are constantly updating with deals, and it is silly not to take advantage of the Retail Me Not and Coupon Sherpa perks!
Making Money at Christmas
EBATES!!! – The Online Mecca for Christmas Shoppers. One of the easiest ways to make money at Christmas is going through Ebates. There is no charge for using Ebates. This website offers deals and cash back on hundreds of stores you will probably be shopping at anyways (Walmart, Macy’s, Target, etc..)
Take a look at my 2015 Christmas Spending. From September-November I accumulated $82.51 in cash back earning. They will cut you a check quarterly. Sometimes they will allow you to get gift cards instead of a check, and these may be at a discount. Keep in mind results will vary depending on promotions going on at the time, as well as how much you spend. You may make more, you may make less, but if your shopping online, you will make something. Go ahead and check out Ebates for yourself! Don’t forget to refer your friends if they are online shoppers! Check out my cash earnings below for September 2015 thru November 1015, the height of my Christmas shopping.
Other Freebies to Call in at Christmas:
Take advantage of any rewards points or cash bonuses you may have accumulated through out the year. Check you wallet for punch cards and loyalty cards you may have held onto and use them now.
Check out coupon sites. One favorite is The Krazy Coupon Lady. She and her team and go out and compile freebies you can get for free at a major discount.
Plan for Next Year…
Start Saving for Christmas in the New Year and make it a family affair. If you have children it will help show them the value of a dollar and give them something to get excited about when it’s time to go Christmas shopping. Let them carry their own money and pull it out to purchase their gifts. Have them do small tasks or volunteer work to to give them opportunities to earn some wages. This will not only encourage them to get in the giving spirit, but also to appreciate the gifts people give them. If you have a five year old earning 1.00 a week for a Christmas Fund, then at the end of the year she or he will have right around $50.00(depending on how soon you start saving and how soon you start shopping). When the time comes let your kid(s) make a list of who they want to by for. Perhaps their brothers and sisters, grandparents, teachers, charity, etc. Take them out and let them select their own gifts. It will help them to understand the value of a dollar. They can shop at places like the Dollar Store, or the bins at Target, or they may opt to buy one or two big gifts for someone special. They will love the freedom and independence they have in the saving and selection process.
Don’t forget to save yourself! If you start early you can stack up some fat cash! Sock it an envelope or a have family jars next to your kids. Together you can work on healthy financial habits and what it means to save. Decide how much you want to save for Christmas and Divide that by the time you want to save. For instance, if you want to save $1175 you can put away 25.00 a week from January 1st until December 1st. Having that money will help you beat the January Blues and avoid a headache when the bills come in. That will make for a very Merry Christmas and your pocket book will thank you!