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Christmas

In Budgeting on
December 18, 2016

15 Ways To Make Christmas Shopping Affordable

It’s that crazy, fun, festive time of the year. Everyone’s out and about searching for the perfect gift to give their loved ones. Do you find this time of year to be relaxing and enjoyable or stressful and overwhelming? If you answered the latter, is it because you are wondering where the money will come from when buying all of these gifts? Well… you are not alone! I am here to give you some easy and practical tips so that you can save money this holiday season. Let the stress-free shopping begin!

1. Ebates.com

If you are an online shopper, this website is now your new best friend. You will get cold hard cash back for shopping at some of your favorite stores, including Kohls, Amazon, Macys, Groupon, Ebay, to name a few. They give back up to 8% on purchases! It’s awesome!

2. Using coupons

Coupons really do help you save money! Save coupons from the Sunday paper or ones that come in the mail such as Bed Bath & Beyond or Buy Buy Baby. They can come in handy now! Or if you are more tech-savvy, you can use digital coupons. My favorite is the app SnipSnap. Always check for a coupon before paying. Chances are, there will be one available!

3. Shop the sales

Take advantage of those Black Friday deals! Most stores advertise their sales a few days early or can be found online the week before. Also take advantage of the free shipping offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

4. Write a list and stick to it

This will keep you accountable and on target. Remember the goal is to save money.

5. Start holiday shopping early

This way you aren’t rushing last minute and buying a gift that wasn’t thought through or was a rushed decision. But don’t buy too early or you can miss out on the good holiday sales.

6. Create a Christmas budget

Write out a list of whom you need to buy for and how much money you have to spend. Allocate a certain amount of money to each person that fits within your budget. Now make into a game/challenge: to get the best deal for that amount. If you spent under what you allotted, that’s more money in your pocket. (PS: Who said Christmas shopping can’t be fun)

7. Order holiday cards early

Prices tend to go up around Christmas. Shutterfly and other online sites tend to do discounts in October that you can take advantage of. If you are a Kohl’s credit card customer, every year around this time you will get a $20 free gift to Shutterfly. I use this to buy our cards or a personalized calendar for my mom!

8. Sign up for ShopKicks

This is one of my favorite mobile apps. You get free cash for walking into stores. Some stores allow you to scan items for extra points. This app really does work, believe me!

9. Use cash back credit cards

My husband and I use credit cards where we get back rewards. One of our cards gives us flight miles and the other card we have gives us back cash! Every few months we cash it in and do something fun! (Side note: if you have credit cards, make sure to pay them off every month in full)

10. Buy wrapping paper and gift wrap at the end of the season

I always buy gift-wrapping supplies after the holidays because they go on clearance. Buy them later and save them for next year! It will save you around 70%.

11. Cluster shop

Buy multiple things from one place. If you see that multiple items on your Christmas list can be purchased from the same place, order them all at once. This way you can take advantage of free shipping or sales such as $25 off $100 or more.

12. Cash back deals

Kohls is famous for this one! I love when they have their “for every $50 spent you get back $10” sales. These deals are great for big buys, such as Kitchen Aids or top appliances because you can get $60+ back. You can use this money to knock off the rest of your list!

13. FREE MONEY

If you budget on a 4 week schedule; use your fifth week paycheck as free cash! My husband and I have a budget based on 4 weeks so we take our last “free” paycheck and designate it to Christmas! This happens 4-5 times a year when there are 5 weeks that fall within the month. Score!

14. Use Groupon

Groupon has some great deals. They list items or deals that are up to 70% off. Sometimes, I get a little addicted. Speaking of, I just ordered two items off it tonight! Whoops…

15. Don’t go into debt

Did I have to go there? Of course I did! I’m the money guru after all 😉 But seriously, only buy what you have the money to buy! Everyone’s budget is different. Make the most of what you got! Remember it’s not about the money; it’s about the heart behind it.

Did you actually make it down to the end? Did I babble on too long? Haha, maybe so… but I hope you found these 15 tips to be helpful! I really do think that you will have a fun, easy and affordable Christmas shopping experience this year! Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

This post was first seen here on Society Letters.

In Our day to day life on
January 11, 2016

Christmas 2015

This past Christmas was a nice and quiet one. Normally on Christmas Eve we go to my Aunt’s house, but this year we had different plans. At 2pm, we went to our church for their “Cosmic Christmas” Eve service. It was based around the new Star Wars film and actually was a very good sermon! It was about the battles between good and evil and Heaven’s perspective when Jesus was born. We had a lot of fun and even got a picture with Chewy & Darth Vader 😉

After church, around 5pm, we had family over to for a nice dinner and to celebrate the night together. It was my first time hosting them, which was a nice for a change! I prepared a nice Christmas sangria for everyone and for dinner served a spinach and orzo white bean soup for starter, followed by a delicious plate of Beef Stroganoff. The meal was a great hit!

We spent some time enjoying each other’s company and then we opened presents. We got Oma a scrabble set for Christmas, so we decided to take it out and play a round together. Oma is the “Scrabble expert” so go figure, she won! We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs together!

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Christmas morning

TJ and I slept in a little bit, before opening presents. On Christmas TJ always prepares a wonderful and delicious Christmas breakfast and makes chocolate covered pancakes for me! After we ate, we sat down to open presents! We love how comfy and cozy our little home is.

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We spent the remainder of Christmas day at my Aunt Liz’s house. There we met up with my Mom and Manny as well as all of my younger cousins. Since my grandfather was in the hospital, it was not a “usual” Christmas Day celebration, but we were all thankful that he was doing better! We hope that next Christmas we can all celebrate together. We are thankful for all that we do have and for the wonderful family that we have around us!

To a happy and HEALTHY New Year!

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