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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 .
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 3 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.
- PrizeRebel: With 9 different ways to earn points and a $2 Amazon gift card that is offered at 200 points you can earn a cash out relatively quickly at PrizeRebel.
- 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.
- wrapping paper
- tissue papper
- gift bags
- mailing envelopes
- large hooks for hangs wreaths and such
- 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
- ibotta (checkout my tutorial on how to use ibotta)
- checkout 51 (checkout my tutorial on how to use checkout 51)
- BerryCart (an organic, whole foods, and gluten free coupon app)
- Yaarlo (enter VICTORIA424 when you sign up for a bonus)
- Receipt Hog (enter YECT1667 when you sign up for a bonus)
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
- use cardpool for discounted gift cards
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.
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.