I am so excited for the upcoming holiday season! From Halloween through New Year’s Eve is my favorite time of the year, largely in part because I love gift-giving and cooking treats for friends and family. Finances don’t have to put a damper on your celebrations if you use the right strategies – here are easy things we’ve been doing each year to save money while Christmas shopping.

  1. Swagbucks is one of my favorite ways to make extra money for holiday shopping. All you have to do is watch videos, take surveys, shop through their portal, and do your internet searches through their search engine. These tasks help you accumulate points called Swagbucks (SBs) and they add up quickly! If you put in a bit of time each day, you can expect over $100 in gift cards or PayPay payout by Christmas (your mileage may vary of course, but this has been typical for me)! I’ve been a member of Swagbucks since 2008 and can confirm they are legitimate and do pay out all rewards.
  2. I’m sure you’ve also seen the Facebook ads for the Honey extension for Chrome. I finally tried it out and it is really cool – I made a list of gifts I plan to buy and the extension sends me email updates on price changes. Several items have dropped in price considerably already. You’ll know right away when there’s a particularly good deal and Honey saves you time so you don’t have to check various sites over and over while comparison shopping or looking for sales.
  3. Make a list – and stick to it! It is easy to be enticed by all of the sales and advertising that will start in a few weeks. Make a list of everyone you’re shopping for and what you’d like to get them. Make an estimate of what you’ll spend for each person. Stick to it and there won’t be any surprises in your budget! Don’t forget people outside of the immediate family that you may exchange gifts with or leave tips for (co-workers, Secret Santa swaps with friends, your mail carrier, etc).
  4. Use a rebate site like Ebates instead of going directly to retailers’ websites to earn cash back on your shopping. As a bonus, they’ll automatically match promo and coupon codes for you too, which I really love. I hate hunting around for codes and half the time they don’t even work! Ebates keeps you up to date on sales and features stores that have the highest amount of cash back currently, too.
  5. Save on shipping by using the free ship to store option where available. Many retailers with brick and mortar counterparts (including Home Depot, Target, REI, Toys R Us, Walmart, Best Buy) offer this service and it is great for things like heavy exercise equipment, tools, furniture, and outdoors gear.

If you’re at all crafty, DIY gifts can be a great option too – handmade lotions, soap, candles, and hot sauces are among my favorites for gift-giving and allow for lots of personalization. 🙂 I hope these suggestions are helpful to you in your holiday prep!