Friday, November 18, 2016

Saving Money For Christmas... We've saved over $850 this year!

It's that time of year, and this is a popular subject for blog posts, but I'll go ahead and share some of my tips.  My husband and I figured out we have probably in total saved around $600 this year for our Christmas gifts and I've used some of it for birthday gifts and my son's birthday party.

  1.  Credit Card with Rewards.  We have the type of credit card that gives money back.  Every month I take that cash back and put it in a money market account, which earns some interest.  When months are tight, I will use the cash back to help pay the bill, but whenever I'm able I stash that money away to use later on.  We probably save around $200-300 this way.
  2.  Swagbucks- I know I've mentioned this before, but it's pretty cool between surveys and watching videos (which my husband makes fun of me for, but if I kind of watch a video while I"m brushing my teeth or doing whatever and it equates to about $350 a year in gift cards, why not?).  I don't do surveys that ask for too much personal information- it's not worth it to me, but it's sometimes rewarding to offer advice on products and services and think it might actually help with their market research to impact baby food and diapers for the better!
  3.  Ibotta and Checkout 51-  My husband is kind of the "couponer" of the household.  We basically use these programs to get rebates on groceries we get anyways.  As far as privacy rights, I feel you relinquish about the same amount of privacy with giving this information as you do when you have a loyalty card at any grocery store.  You're basically providing companies with information on your spending habits.  You don't have to do every receipt, so you can just do it as you like.  We also try to stay away from purchasing things just BECAUSE you can get an amazing rebate.  Just like a sale on a Pallet-full of food doesn't save you any money if you don't use it.  We've saved about $150 this year this way
  4. Receipt Hog-  This is kind of the same as above, but you can use it at places other than grocery stores, and especially at gas stations.  Great way to earn money just from buying gas.  I've saved about $20 in the past couple months I've used this.
  5. Dicks Move App and Walgreens.  You can actually hook up your FitBit to these Apps.  When I looked into it, I wasn't interested in giving them the ability to track my movement (that's a little too Big Brother for me).  But they use these programs to keep you motivated to exercise (I'm sure they figure the more you work out, the more you will need running shoes and energy drinks and then you're more likely to shop with them).  I've saved about $20 at Walgreens and $10 at Dicks in the past couple of months.
  6. Homemade gifts- this is an obvious one- whether it's giving cookies, homemade vanilla or knit goods, I find that many people appreciate the homemade goodies even more than gift cards or store-bought gifts.  One of my son's teachers actually gave me her shoe size the other day hoping that maybe I'd make her some socks 😉
  7. Planning ahead for sales- This one can get a little trickier- you kind of need to work on your list for people all year through and then plan on what you're going to get them and how low a price you want something to go.  It can definitely save money though instead of waiting for December and full price.
  8. Keeping a stash- I try to keep my eyes open for deals- especially on Children's books (amazon will have sales from time to time) and keep a stash available in the closet so if a birthday party or something comes up, we already have a gift that we purchased on sale.  We still want to try to personalize gifts for kids, but it's fun if I find a book my son likes to be able to share it with others.

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