Thursday, August 26, 2010

Earning free Christmas Gifts....

Okay, I am sure you are rolling your eyes! But, Christmas is 4 months away AND I know you all realize how expensive Christmas can be! So, what do we do to cut down on Christmas spending? We start NOW and hopefully have a big dent in the planning by Halloween. Yeap, you heard right, I try to have most of the shopping down now, and finish up with the hard to find gifts on the day after Thanksgiving. So, what do I do to make this happen?

First of all, I am involved with several point programs. MyPoints, Swagbucks, Coke Points, Thank you Points and many survey companies. By doing these I get points which I can cash in for gift cards. Swagbucks racks up points quickly and you can earn gift cards, which I inturn use for christmas shopping. ( if you are interested in MyPoints, or the Survey companies, email me and I will send you the links). Typically in one year I can save enough points on Swagbucks to get $75.00 in cards and use it for gifts.

Second, I do the Nielsen Scanning program. This program takes FOREVER to earn anything, but I typically try to get one prize in the catalog that I can use for a gift.

Third, For the teachers. Now is the time to get those free and cheap school supplies! Save them for a Christmas Gift for your kids teachers. Every year I make a basket full of supplies for the teachers! Since they get so many "apple" items that they don't keep, this gives them something they can use in the classroom and help them save money along the way. I always make sure the basket has pencils, pens, glue sticks, crayons ( for younger grades), and klennex. 

Forth, for friends and neighbors. If you have neighbors/ friends that you know would enjoy a night out. Give them a christmas card with a free night of babysitting. Then, when you have the their kids, make it a fun night with popcorn and a movie. ( $1.00 Redbox and cheap microwave popcorn!)

Fifth, Shop online and earn Ebates money back. IF you have to spend money on something, shop online and find the best price, then go to Ebates! Ebates pays you a percentage back on what you spend. ALSO, if you ALWAYS pay off your credit card monthly, get a rewards card to earn points or money back on that and get another gift card that way. Remember this only works if you pay your card off! Why get a $25.00 gift card from the points when you spent over $100 on interest!!! NOT a good deal!

There are many ways to cut back on your spending for Christmas. Start looking at clearance and sale items NOW. Make a list to see who you really need to buy for!! My family has gotten so big that most of us just bring a dish to pass to the family party and only give gifts to the children in the family. In July, Target had a big toy clearance, so I bought so things at that for my children. And I hit a great clearance at a Dollar General, so that is also put away for the kids. If you start thinking about the deals now, plan and get ready, Christmas will not break the bank!

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Frugalmommie as been on WITI FoxNews6 Television Milwaukee, WTMJ620 Radio, Several local newspapers, The Wisconsin State Journal, and is in a feature article in All You Magazine in the April 2009 edition.