How I Got Paid $75 To Stay Home On Black Friday

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Yes the title is true I basically got paid $75 to stay home and shop in my PJ’s Black Friday. I did have to wait a while for my pay check to arrive. It really just came last week, that 2 1/2 months of waiting was worth it though.  I was so excited to see the $75 in gift cards arrive last week. All for restaurants the hubby and I love;date night here we come.

How I got paid $75 to stay home on Black Friday

All of the gift cards came from My Points and all of the points I earned from just one transaction. My Black Friday, at home on the computer Christmas shopping.

How I Got Paid $75 To Stay At Home On Black Friday

Truth: I did place a substantial order

My husband and I decided that we were going to cut out a lot of Christmas extras this year and spend that money plus more on one BIG gift for each of our children.

Trust me  this is not normal for us, and we explained it to the kids while they were wide eyed Christmas morning ,that this was a one time thing. They all had something that was wearing out or getting too outdated for updates that they wanted to replace and we decided to get it for them for Christmas just once instead of our usual save up for it yourself routine.

Needless to say Santa brought next to nothing with stockings consisting of only socks, gloves and chocolate but my teenage boys love their play systems and my daughter loves her iPad mini so much they didn’t seem to mind the the practical stocking gifts and lack of any other present what so ever under the tree for them.

Truth: I was tempted for the first time ever to go out and shop Black Friday

I know some of you love Black Friday because of the awesome deals, and so I thought I would save a bundle too, since this year all of the gifts we were buying were in the sales at significant markdowns.

As the day approached though I started to get really anxious about all those crowds, so I decided to do some research and see if I could find a retailer offering the same deals online as in store. Turns out this wasn’t hard at all in fact I found several within minutes.

Truth: I saved more than those standing in line on Black Friday

Once I knew I was going to shop online and what store I started looking for ways to make my online deal even sweeter. I tried looking for a discounted gift card at Cardpool but they were out of cards for the store I wanted.

I knew I didn’t need to look for a free shipping code since my purchases met the free shipping limits. I did try to look for a discount code but there wasn’t one.

I then went online cash back shopping and discovered My Points had the biggest cash back available for the store I was shopping.  I clicked through their links over to the store and earned 12,863 points enough for $75 in gift cards to date night restaurants and I still have 1863 leftover which I could have spent on a $10 gift card meaning I really made $85. I however opted  to save towards another $25 card (the cards start at around 3600 for a $25 card, or 1650 for a $10, making saving up for a $25  better deal).

When I was all done shopping online it hit me. I got a better deal than in store shoppers, and I didn’t spend time standing in line or fighting crowds, nor did I have to drive anywhere.

I was so stunned by this realization that I didn’t want to talk about it here on the blog until I actually had the gift cards on hand so I myself had hard evidence that Black Friday in store shoppers are not getting better deals than us stay in your PJ’s at home shoppers. (but if you really like the thrill of it well than go for it :) )

Truth: I don’t do this often enough

This is one area of savings where I am going to try and be more diligent in doing from now on. I would love to say that as a thrifty lifestyle blogger I remember to check for cash backs 100% of the time, but that isn’t honest, truthfully I remember probably close to 60% of the time. I am hoping this year to improve and make it to 95% of the time (no one is perfect).

I order from ThredUP, Zulily, Groupon, Old Navy and more consistently through out the year and I can be earning cash back on all of those purchases.

I  live in a smaller town where retailers often don’t carry my tall size, or my son’s tall and skinny size. They also don’t offer the same selection in their stores as their online counterparts do. I find myself forced to either spend time driving to a bigger town or save the time and gas by shopping online. Plus from what I learned through this experience I could be earning gift cards for  date nights too!

I am thinking this could add up to a significant amount of savings for my family.

Companies offering cash back on online purchases

To earn the most possible back for your purchase  I find it best to be a member of many different sites so I can check around for the best rate first. It doesn’t take long to compare rates, perhaps a minute or two at most. Also not all sites carry the same stores.

Do you currently use cash backs? If so what do you like to do with yours?

Linked to Frugal Friday,

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How To Learn A New Skill This Year For Free

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Is one of your goals this year to learn a new skill? Perhaps you wish to learn how to sew, or you want to improve your crochet or knitting skills?

40 free classes that you can take to learn a new skill this year

A great source for free high quality instruction in various arts and crafts are Craftsy free mini classes . Today I want to list them all here for you so you can explore the ones in areas you wish to improve in this year. These classes are 100% free, and are made up of series of short high quality videos. You can do them whenever you want to wherever you are.

40 Different Free Mini Craftsy Classes You Can Take To Improve Your Skills this Year

Online Sewing Class


Online Knitting Class

Crocheting/ Knitting & Spinning

Cooking & Baking




Drawing & Painting

Jewelery Making


Card Making

thread art online quilting class at


Go ahead pick a class in an area you have been dreaming about diving into and make this the year you start living life beyond the laundry room.

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Swagbucks: Set A Goal & Earn It

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I had a commenter leave a comment on one of my posts where I mentioned Swagbucks stating she earned $75 her first month with Swagbucks and was on her way to earning $100 this month.

Her comment got the wheels in my head spinning  how can a person make $100 a month with Swagbucks?

How it is possible to earn $100 in gift cards from Swagbucks each month

How to Earn $100 in Swag Bucks A Month

This is just a sample  plan because Swagbucks is the point program that is as unique in its ways to earn as it is in the people who use it. You can find all these ways to earn Swag Bucks mentioned below  by fully exploring the Swagbucks home page. Take 15 minutes to click and explore all the tabs and find out for yourself all the fun ways to earn.

1. Do the daily poll

1 Swag Buck per day = 30 a month (takes just a second to do)

2. Complete the NOSO daily

2 Swag Bucks per day =60 a month (takes around a minute to complete each day)

3. Do the Daily Crave

1 Swag Buck per day =30

4. Use the toolbar at least once a day

1 Swag buck per day =30

5. Do the Read and Discover actions

30 Swag Bucks approx. per month

6. Do all you internet searching through Swagbucks

On average I make 150 Swag Bucks a week doing this = 600 a month

7. Radio Loyalty

Play Radio loyalty for 30 minutes and earn 5 Swag Bucks.

I am on my laptop at least 4 hrs a day so for me  could earn 40 Swagbucks a day = 1200 a month

 8.  Jump from app to app earning points

There are 4 Swagbuck apps that I know about where you can earn points.

  • Swagbuck TV App 36 daily Swag Bucks
  • EntertainNow App 18 daily Swag Bucks
  • Sportly.TV App 18 daily Swagbucks
  • Lifestylz App 18 daily Swagbucks

Total earned from apps daily: 90 = 2700 a month

9. Convert your Bing Rewards into Swagbucks

I wrote a post explaining how you can convert Bing Rewards into Swagbucks, based on average monthly earnings over at Bing rewards this should equal into 500 Swag Bucks per month.

10. Do your online shopping through Swagbucks Shop & Earn program

Your earnings will depend on how much you shop on line but based on my earnings I think 170 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate.

11.  Purchase your daily deals through Swagbucks

Again earnings depend will vary but based on my earnings 120 point earnings.

12. Watch Swagbucks TV on your computer

Up to 150 points a day = 4500

13. Follow Swagbucks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and enter the Swag Codes they share

I usually snag several free codes a week by following Swagbucks just on facebook, so I think 30 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate for this activity.

Add It All Up

  1. Daily Poll = 30
  2. NOSO = 60
  3. Daily Crave = 30
  4. Daily toolbar point = 30
  5. Read & Discover = 30*
  6. Internet searches = 600*
  7. Radio Loyalty = 1200*
  8. Daily app watching = 2700
  9. Bing Rewards conversion = 500
  10. Online shopping = 170*
  11. Daily Deals = 120 *
  12. Swagbucks TV on computer = 4500

Total = 10,000 Swagbucks which has a cash in value of $100 in gift cards.

(those with * are earning activities that will vary depending on individual)

True most people  are not going to watch that many videos and some months you might not do any online shopping for BUT those are not all the ways to earn Swagbucks.

More ways to earn with Swagbucks

  • Play games
  • Print coupons
  • Answer surveys
  • Do tasks
  • Fill out special offers
  • Reach daily goals set by Swagbucks for you and earn bonuses
  • Share the program with your friends
  • Watch Encrave videos

Combine 12 ways above with these 8 additional ways and you have 20 ways to earn Swagbucks.

Swagbucks also offers a large assortment of gift cards to cash your points in for, from department stores, restaurants, home renovation stores and more.

So make this the year you sign up for Swagbucks, set a goal for your earnings, choose the point earning activities that work for you and watch your earnings add up an your financial goal for them be met.

20 Ways to earn Swagbucks that can make it possible to earn $100 a month

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My 10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping: Inspired By Slaying The Debt Dragon

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I recently finished my first book of 2015. I always like to kick of my 52 books in one year goal with an inspiring read and Slaying The Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster And Found An Inspired Happily Ever After by Cherie Lowe of Queen Of Free did not disappoint.

978-1-4143-9720-7Our family has been 100% debt free including our mortgage for several years now, but I still love reading of others journey’s to debt free. No two stories are the same.

If you are currently struggling with debt and you need a push in the form of an inspiring story to get you going, Slaying The Debt Dragon is a book for you. If you need some advice from someone who has been there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you. If you are 100% debt free and need an inspiring story to keep you there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you.

Within the book Cherie shares many great tips on saving money in all areas of your finances, one area that she touched on was grocery shopping. She called her tips the “Grocery Store 10 Commandments”.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments For Saving More & Spending Less

I loved this challenge so much I decided to take Cherie up on it and make my own. Got to admit it was hard to come up from ones that were unique to the excellent 10 Cherie shares in her book.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments

1. Thou shalt bring the right tools

A calculator and and pen always come in handy in the grocery store for comparing prices and crossing off things on your list as you find them so you don’t forget an item and have to drive to the store again. Which, brings me to another tool you need, a grocery list.

2. Thou shalt not shop without first having a plan

Creating a menu does not have to be complicated. Take a piece of paper write dinner on it and numbers 1 through 7 then do the same for lunch. Chances are you eat the same thing over and over for snacks and breakfast so you can add the items you need for those to your list with no need to make a plan. Go through your cupboards, if you have tuna and macaroni write down “tuna casserole” as a dinner idea and put other items you need to make it on your grocery list.  Repeat this 7 times for lunch and dinner and you have a plan and a good start on your grocery shopping list.

3. Thou shalt check out the stores sales flyer online before shopping

By knowing what is on sale before you shop, you have a better idea of what to put on the menu. Perhaps you have rice and frozen veggies and were thinking of making pork fried rice, but looking at the flyers you see pork is not on sale this week but chicken is. Put lemon chicken with rice and veggies on the menu instead an save the difference

4. Thou shalt use coupon apps

Okay so I am sort of altering this one from Cherie who used Thou shalt use coupons as her number 10 in her list in Slay The Debt Dragon. Coupon apps contain more than just coupons for processed food. They often have offers for fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs and other staple items. Plus apps like Berry Cart have gluten free coupons for those of you with allergies.  Of course printable coupons are still a great way to save money as well.

5. Thou shalt take the time to keep a price book

I have slipped in this area lately and need to get back on track. Keeping a price book is vital to saving money at the grocery store, especially for saving money on staple foods to your diet. For instance our family discovered years ago thanks to our price book that we could save $80 a year on yeast for our bread machine recipes if we switched to buying it at Sam’s Club instead of in the little jars at our local grocery store .That pays for the membership at Sam’s and then some, plus by having a membership we save on other items.

6. Thou shalt sometimes skip a trip

At least once a season hold an eat what you got week. These weeks will test your cooking creativity, give you a deeper feeling of gratitude for the food budget you have, and give you wiggle room in your grocery budget to stock up on rock bottom items. Here is an alternative to a whole week of no grocery shopping that has worked well for my family.

7. Thou shalt not buy what you can make for less

Put down those individually wrapped cheese sticks and buy a brick of cheese and spend under 5 minutes chopping it up and wrapping it for snacks and lunches, same with baby carrots , a one pound bag of carrots is usually cheaper and it doesn’t take that long to peel and cut them.

8. Thou shalt not buy what you can grow

My family planted our first square foot garden last year, and I was surprised how many tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans we got out of it. Enough to eat and a few meals worth to freeze, and we only have a small backyard. We have plans to expand next year. I highly suggest the square foot garden book for all those wanting to start a garden in a small space or a big one.

9. Thou shalt be willing to shop elsewhere

Sometimes the best deal for food is not found in the grocery store. I buy some of our organics at big lots. I shop Lucky Vitamin online for my vitamins and endurance products for my long runs. I also buy several items on Amazon because my local grocery store does not stock these items and I don’t want to spend the gas money to purchase them else where.

10. Thou shalt visit as infrequently as possible

When you shop with a list and a plan you shouldn’t need to go to the grocery store more than once a week. I have read about some people who only grocery shop once a month, making just small short trips in between for fresh fruit, veggies and milk. Figure out what works best for your family and stick to it. Fewer  trips equal fewer “saw it and had to have it” purchases that can really blow your budget.

978-1-4143-9720-7Read the book that inspired my list, and be inspired to pay off debt.

 What grocery store commandment would you add?

Linked To Thrifty Thursdays,

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Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

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The first Friday of 2015 is finally here and I want to kick it off with a look back at my  10 most popular money saving posts of 2014.

10 Money Saving Posts That Will Save You $100's

Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

Christmas On A Zero Budget 10 ways to afford gifts & food for Christmas Day when you have no money to spend (med)1. Christmas On A Zero Budget: This post was so near and dear to my heart. It was a message I want everyone out there who wonders if they can pull off Christmas during a year where the money just doesn’t appear to be there for the gifts and the food to know: Yes you can!

10 ways thrifty people shop for groceries (med)

2. 10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Groceries . This post contains the top 10 ways my own family saves money on the groceries we buy.

250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money Plus 10 Key Things Thrifty People Do Over & Over To Save Money On Just About Anything (med)

3. 250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money. My “thrifty people” posts are some of my most popular, and this year I reached a total of 250 different “thrifty people” ways to save money, and I also shared 10 key things my family does over and over again to save money on just about any expense we have.

summer dates that cost zero (med)4. 10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero . My family had a few extra expenses come up during the spring of 2014 and so we had to cut corners in a few areas of our budget. One expense we cut was our date money. To make it work I brainstormed 10 free dates we could enjoy over the summer months.

10 steps for a thriftier new year (med)5. 10 Steps For A Thriftier New Year: Okay so I am sort of cheating by adding this New Year’s post to the list as it was written in the last few days of 2013, but it really didn’t start getting noticed to the beginning days of 2014 when it quickly became very popular. If you want to set yourself up right for financial success in 2015 this is a post that can help.

20 ways thrifty people save money on clothing (med)6. 20 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Clothing: It doesn’t have to cost a lot to clothe a family. In this post I share low cost ideas for obtaining clothing as well as a free one.

10 steps to maximize you swagbucks earnings (small)7. 10 Steps To Maximize Your Swagbucks Earnings: I love Swagbucks for its earning flexibility. This post shows how to earn up to $900 in gift cards in Swagbucks in one year. If you are interested in maximizing your Swag Bucks you might also want to check out these 24 ways to earn as it contains new ways Swagbucks has added to earn.

step by step grocery shopping with a thrifty person (med)8. Step By Step Grocery Shopping With A Thrifty Person: If someone asked me how I shop, I would point them to this article.

17 sites you can use to earn money at home (med)

9. 17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home : If you just want to make a few extra dollars a month to add a bit of cushion to your tight budget this site is for you. If you want to earn a full time income from home, this post is also for you.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping (medium)10. 10 Ways To Save Money On Camping To be honest. this is one post that I was surprised to find in my top 10 when I looked at my numbers of views per post for the year. Our family likes to camp, and of course that means we find ways to save money on it,  I just didn’t think there would be that many other people out there with a love of camping and thrift.

A few more honorable mentions

money saving tips a growing list (small)

Check out all my money saving articles over at my money saving tips resource page.

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10 Things To Do Now To Set Yourself Up For A Thrifty Christmas

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If you want to make the most of a tight budget at Christmas time, the days following Christmas are sometimes more important than the days before Christmas .

10 things to do now to set yourself up for the thrifty Christmas

It might seem strange to some to think of next Christmas in the days after this Christmas but what you do now to prepare for Christmas next year can make or break a tight Christmas budget.

10 Things To Do Now To Set Yourself Up For A Thrifty Christmas

1. Join point programs and make a plan

Point programs can not only help pay for Christmas they can actually pay for all of Christmas if you sit down and make up a plan for how to incorporate a few  point earning actions into your day.

If you are on a tight time budget here are the 4 I would recommend for maximizing your earnings for time spent.

  • Swagbucks: With over 24 ways to earn, you are going to find some way to earn that you love and can stick to and earn anywhere from $10 to $100 a month  depending on how many ways you want to work.
  • Bing Rewards: With a few minutes spent each day you can earn a $5 gift card each month.
  • Paid Viewpoint: A survey company that is not time consuming and pays in Paypal.  Approx. $4 a month for simple and quick surveys.
  • InstGC: A newer to me point program that I am liking for its instant and low gift card cash outs. Gift cards start at just $1 and you get the code instantly. I think it is fair to say you could earn $5 to $20 a month if you stick to the simple earning tasks faithfully.

If you add up the earnings from just programs above that is $24 to $129 a month meaning with Christmas being 12 months away you would have $288 to $1548 available for Christmas.

2. Make a list of needed Christmas supplies now

Take a few minutes the day after Christmas to figure out what basic Christmas supplies you need for next year that you can buy on deep clearance now.

  • tape
  • wrapping paper
  • tissue papper
  • gift bags
  • mailing envelopes
  • large hooks for hangs wreaths and such
  • ribbon
  • Christmas lights
  • Christmas cards

Your list might differ than mine a bit but use it as a guide to get you started on things that you can buy and store now that will save you money later.

3.  Join coupon apps and use them

Coupon apps are a great way to earn cash-back on items you buy anyways that you can use to cash in for gift cards and cash you can use for Christmas.

The trick is remembering to check them before each grocery trip until it becomes habit. Try posting a note to yourself on the fridge or a kitchen cabinet that says “coupon Apps” so that as you are fishing through your cabinets to make a grocery list of what you need, you are reminded to take a peek at this weeks coupon app offerings.

4. Keep your eyes open for deep discounts on gift items

Every Christmas all of us give a few generic gifts to people. Items like scented candles, tins full of homemade treats,and coffee mugs. Instead of paying full price for these items pick them up when you see them on sale for 75% off or more during the year and put them in a storage bin with a lid designated for gifts that you keep in a cool area of your home. This way you will know where they are, know that they are dust free and safe from heat damage ( a candle that has melted and then re-hardened is not pretty) and save money too.

5. Add up those bills

Sometime between Christmas and New Years take a few moments to add up all the costs of this years Christmas. Not just the gifts but also, the events, the food, the cards you sent, the clothes for special activities, the extra giving you did, the extra money for the gas you used to go to all those Christmas events and anything else related to the Christmas season.

Once you have the total, decided how you are going to save the money before Christmas rolls around again. You can either divided the payment into 12 payments or pay it off in either a few bigger payments or all at one go.

For instance in our family my husband gets paid every other week, so twice a year we get 3 paychecks in one month instead of 2. We often use that 3rd paycheck to pay for Christmas . Other years we have put our tax return away to pay for Christmas or money earned from reselling items. Or you can use the methods shared in this article to help pay for Christmas such as point programs, coupon apps and cash back sites.

6.  Note where you shopped

While looking through those receipts take a moment to note where you shopped most and what you spent there. Make a note in your Christmas budget to check Cardpool for discounted gift cards to the stores you shop at most for gifts a few weeks before Christmas shopping season begins. This tip saved my family 20% on our annual  family Christmas 3D movie night, plus another 10% on Black Friday deals.

7. Sign up for Brad’s Deals emails

Brad’s deals is a daily hub for the best deals out there around the web on name brands like North Face, Under Armor, Kitchen Aid, and more. Stock up year round on name brands your family loves for less and add them to your gift tote.

8. Like and get notifications for your favorite stores that offer free deals

I have not only liked Shutterfly on Facebook but have also clicked the “get notifications”  in the box under the “like” thumb so that I see free codes as the come available for making photo books , calendars and more. These would all make great gifts.

Another company that offers great free stuff is Bath and Body Works,  often they have trial samples for free when they come out with a new sent. These would make a great add in to a gift basket.

Money Saving Mom also mentions free offers as they become available so I also have her facebook page in my facebook notifications as well.

9. Make a DIY gift list

If you like to make gifts, now is the time to figure out what you plan to make for gifts for next Christmas. This way you can make sure that you get your supplies on sale, and have enough time to complete all your gifts well in advance.

10. Join cash back sites and use them

Cash back sites are a great way to save money on your online purchases all year long. Save up your savings and cash them out for gift cards and cash to help pay for Christmas. These rebates can really add up. On Black Friday  alone, I earned $75 in gift cards through My Points on my online Christmas shopping, since they had a special high cash back offer going on for the store I happened to be making 90% of my Christmas purchases at.

How do you prepare well in advance for Christmas?

 18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (small)Visit my Point Programs resource page for a list of 18+ point programs you can use to help pay for Christmas.

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10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas For Under $10

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Christmas is less than a week away. It is now too late to shop online unless you are willing to shell out for speedy delivery. There is still time to repurpose items into gifts if you can find the time between all the other Christmas events that are packed into the week before the big day, if not don’t fear  I made a trip to my local dollar store to help you out.

10 last minute gift basket ideas for Christmas for under $10 For young and old, married and single.

In our hometown Dollar Tree is our local dollar store but I am assuming you can find similar items at whatever store is in your area.

With items being just $1 a piece plus tax, you can easily make up a basket of items that can suit any gift recipient for under $10 . I wandered around my local Dollar Tree snapping pictures of items and writing down ideas of what type of baskets you can make.

(please note, these pictures are all taken on my older model Tracfone LG  smartphone, since I thought taking picture with  my cannon rebel while I shopped  might draw too much attention to me, so they are not as clean and crisp as my normal photos)

10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas Under $10

popcorn gift basket Under $101. Movie night in a basket

I got really brave and  put together this gift basket while in Dollar Tree then made room to photograph it, because I really wanted you to see what one complete gift basket would look like.  Yes people did stare. I mean really how many people do you see while shopping assembling a basket and then make room for it on  a shelf and start shooting photos of it? But you are worth it.

This basket is has a total of 8 items. You can make it a complete gift card by putting enough for one Redbox movie in an envelope.

gift basket idea mugs and cocoa

2.Personalized mugs for the whole family

Another great family gift would be these white mugs. Of course you are not going to leave them white. Head over to the office supply area and grab a sharpie and follow one of the many sharpie mug tutorials on Pinterest and make up personalized mugs for the whole family. Place them in a colorful tote and add in hot chocolate and peppermint sticks that they can use to stir.  (psst….I think nail polish would also work to decorate mugs)

Gift giving ideas for the dollar store

3. Car Fanatic gift basket

Grab one of the cleaning buckets seen above and fill it with a sponge, car interior cleaner, car tire cleaner, towels, and perhaps a few towels.

tool kit idea for a gift basket

4. New home basic tool kit

Grab one of the cleaning buckets, or a tool kit or belt if your dollar store has them and fill it with, basic tools like a hammer, screw drivers, measuring tape, crazy glue, duct tape, all the things that come in handy for a quick fix repairs.

kitchen supplies for gift baskets5. New home kitchen basket

For this one use a either a wire basket or a wicker one and fill it with all the things a new home owner needs in their kitchen. Pot holders, slotted spoons, can openers. Perhaps even a few glasses and dishes depending on how much you want to spend.

little artist gift basket

6. Craft basket for the little artist

fill a colorful plastic, with coloring books, crayons, craft kits, glitter glue, stickers and journals. You could also fill a cleaning caddy as this makes an excellent container for little artists to keep their supplies organized and portable.

fashionista gift basket

7. Dress up gift bag

Grab one of the giant gift bags and fill it with fairy wings and a wand. Or perhaps a dinosaur hat. A knights armor and shield. There were lots of different items for  young dress up fanatics at my dollar store.

hair accessories for gift basket

8.  Hair accessory basket

Whether you want a gift for a teenage girl who loves trying out different hairstyles or for a little girl with a love of hair bows, the dollar store has a tonne of great items you can make a basket out of.  Fill a colorful wire basket with a selection or brushes, and hair accessories that suit your recipient. You can also add shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products if you wish.

notebook and pens gift basket

9. Journal basket

Know someone who is always jotting things down in a notebook. The dollar store is a great place to grab them a gift. Mine had several blank journals to choose from as well as one that had a blank cover so you could add in colorful pens and stickers for them to personalize it with. There are also pens and highlighters.  Place these things in small reusable book bag, to complete the gift.

dog and cat treats gift basket

10. Don’t forget the family pet

The dollar store I went to had dog bowls that you could fill with dog treats and dog toys that you could give to your four legged friend to keep him or her busy while the family opens up their presents Christmas morning.

Hopefully this post assures you that even if you are out there this week shopping last minute you can still get some great gifts on a small budget.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)

 Visit my Thrifty Christmas resource page where you will find all my thrifty Christmas tips and more.



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9 Ways To Give At Christmas Time Despite A Tight Budget

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At Christmas we are often bombarded with different charities needing our help. If you are on a tight budget it can begin to feel hopeless. How can you give something, when you have very little extra yourself?

9 ways to give to those in need at Christmas time even when you are on a tight budget

By thinking creatively, having open eyes to opportunities, and a heart that is willing I think even those on tight budget can give at Christmas time.

9  Ways To Give At Christmas Time When You Are On A Tight Budget

Please note you might not be able to use a lot of the tips on this list to help out others this Christmas but you can use it to start planning for next Christmas. Over 12 months some of these actions can make a big impact in how generous you can be at Christmas time without blowing the budget.

1. Collect free samples to give

When I wrote my article on where I find free samples one of my readers commented that she bags up her free samples and donates them to homeless shelters where the residents are happy to receive them.

2. Coupons

If you are a coupon queen I know that you can get items for low to little cost. Grab  extra free to almost free items  now and then and donate them to your local food bank.

3. Donate your time instead of cash

Could you help stock the shelves at the food bank? Ring the bell for a shift at a Salvation Army Christmas donation center? Help serve food at a homeless shelter?

4. Collect your change

My family does this. We spend our quarters, but we throw all our pennies, nickles and dimes in a large glass jar. When it fills up I take the kids first to the bank to have it changed in for bills, then we hit the grocery store with a list of what our Church needs to line the shelves of its food pantry.My children are always amazed at how much money collects in that jar and how much food it buys, when their thrifty mom puts her thrifty ninja skills to work.

The jar doesn’t always  reach  full capacity by Christmas, but then again your giving doesn’t always have to be at Christmas either. There are needs year round.

5. Pick one point earning program or cash back site to use for giving purposes

There are so many different way to earn a few gift cards online. I personally have written about how to best use  18 of them. Pick one and make a goal for it and designate the points you earn for gift cards that can help you give to needs in your area. One way to do this would be to pick gift cards that can help you buy toys to fulfill needs of a gift tag program.

6. Sort through your home and donate to a local thrift store that supports local food banks or shelters

There is a thrift store in my area that is attached to a local soup kitchen. Every time I drop off my things there I am reminded by the aroma of the upcoming meal that my donations are feeding the hungry. It motivates me to toss more in the donation pile.

7. Use the donation options found in point programs

I mentioned in number 5 that you could use gift cards earned through point programs to give, but did you know that point programs like Swagbucks have areas where you can donate your points to national charities.  Every point really does help.

8. Shop clearance

In  late January when you see that bin of hats and gloves for $1 each pick up a few extra pairs and put them away until the next local warm clothing drive in your area. If you have a larger budget you can do this to pick up winter coats for as little as $10 a piece, and do the same thing. I have seen other charities asking for blankets which also go on clearance.

9. Give your words of encouragement and kindness

I love what  Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom  wrote last week about how a simple note she took seconds to write were  able to impact someone. Perhaps you just can’t stretch your budget to do any of the above, and your calendar has your time stretched so thin. I bet you have a moment to use your words.

Those in need are not just the ones signing up for gift tags for their kids, or standing in line for a bag of food and warm meal. Sometimes those in need are the people right around you. The lady at church who never seems to smile. The cashier who seems very distracted. Give them a smile and say something nice. Ask about their day. Compliment them on the color of their shirt, or the piece of jewelery they are wearing that caught your eye. Chances are it will warm their heart, causing a chain reaction.

What inexpensive ways to give to others at Christmas time would you add to my list? I would love to read them in the comments below.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)Be sure to check out my Thrifty Christmas Resource Page for great ways to fit Christmas into a tight budget

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays,

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12 Ways To Repurpose A Sweater Into A Christmas Gift

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So ever since I wrote my post about how to have Christmas on a zero budget , I have been thinking about all the common household items we own that could be made into Christmas gifts with little to no cost, except  time and talent.

12 ways to repurpose a sweater into a Christmas gift

My mind immediately went to sweaters. I don’t know about you but after a year or two of wearing a sweater I find about 80% of them are either stretched out, have a snag in them here and there that I can’t seem to hide, or they have shrunk due to my wonderful (er..not) laundry skills.

One evening while feeling uninspired to write I thought I would seize to opportunity to spend a few “working hours” on Pinterest. Yes, that is one perk of blogging sometimes spending time cruising Pinterest can in fact be labeled work.

I wanted to see if my theory was right could peoples old sweaters be made into gifts. Yes they can! In fact I found a enough ideas  to start a pinterest board devoted to repurposing sweaters.

12 Ways To Repurpose A Sweater Into A Christmas Gift

1. Fingerless Mittens for the friend who just can’t be parted from her smart phone touch screen.

2.  Coffee Cozy (or sleeve) whatever you want to call it, it would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life.

3.  Braided scarf for your fashion loving loved one .

4.  This Scarflette is another great option as a Christmas gift for a fashion lover.

5. Boot socks for the friend who is never seen in anything but boots and legging all winter.

6. These hats would make adorable gifts for infants and toddlers.

7.  Another great gift for little ones are these leggings.

8.  A pair of slippers is always a classic gift.

9. A trendy friend might like these slipper boots  instead.

10. If you have a huge stack of sweaters on your hands and some time and talent you could try tackling this sweater blanket as a gift.

11. For a small project these sweater ornaments are supers sweet.

12.  You could go with the classic gift of a pair of warm mittens.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)For more thrifty Christmas ideas check out my Thrifty Christmas Tips resource page.

linked to Thrifty Thursday

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100 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Christmas

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Christmas does not have to be expensive. Christmas does not have to put you into debt. Christmas can fit in any budget big or small.

100 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Christmas

Over the years of blogging I have shared post after post on how to have a Thrifty Christmas. If you add up the tips shared in each and every post I have shared 100’s of ways to save money on Christmas. Today I thought I would share  the top thrifty Christmas posts with you, and when you add the tips in all of them together you get 100 thrifty Christmas tips in 7 areas of the Christmas budget plus one for those with a zero budget.

1. Entertaining

10 Thrifty Christmas Gatherings Enteraining On A Budget (med)

 10 Thrifty Christmas Gatherings:Entertaining On A Budget

2. DIY Gifts On A Budget

10 DIY gifts for girls under $10 (med)10 DIY Gifts For Girls 8 to 12 Under $10

5 DIY Gifts Under $5

Bonus Articles That Will Help With Your Christmas Crafting

10 Free Craftsy Classes To Help You Create Awesome DIY Christmas Gifts

Ways To Save On Craft Supplies

3. Decorations

10 ways thrifty people decorate for Christmas (med2)10 Ways Thrifty People Decorate For Christmas

4. Stocking Stuffers

stocking stuffers (small)

10 Fabulous Stocking Stuffers  (Ages 10 to 18) That Won’t Break The Bank

5. Holiday Leftovers

ways to use up holiday leftovers blank (small)10 Ways To Use Up Holiday Leftovers

6. Gifts

family gift ideas for $10 or less (med)

10 Family Gift Ideas For $10 Or Less

10 Clutter Free Gifts & A Thrifty Way To Save Money On Each One

7. Shopping

5 steps thrifty online Christmas shoppers use to save money (med)

5 Steps Thrifty Online Christmas Shoppers Use To Save Money

10 Ways Thrifty People Prepare For The Christmas Shopping Season

8. The Ultimate Thrifty Christmas

Christmas On A Zero Budget 10 ways to afford gifts & food for Christmas Day when you have no money to spend (med)Christmas On A Zero Budget: 10 Ways To Celebrate Christmas When You Have No Money To Spend

For more thrifty Christmas ideas follow the Thrifty Christmas Board on Pinterest

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)
Absolutely all my thrifty Christmas tips in one place.

Linked to Frugal Friday Link Up Party, Thrifty Thursdays.

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