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Tomorrow is the beginning of November and for some that will seem very early to start Christmas shopping, for others it will seem too late (yep, I know at least one person who wraps up Christmas shopping before Christmas in July!).
For me though, starting to shop November for the bulk of my gifts is just about right. I do a few things much earlier to prepare but most of my shopping will be done in the last 2 months leading up to Christmas day. I find it leaves me enough wiggle room to snag some great bargains.
Our Christmas budget has always been tighter than I would like, but I have always been able to keep within it using a few thrifty tricks.
10 Ways Thrifty People Prepare For The Christmas Shopping Season
1. Make a budget
This is one of the things I usually do way early, as in December 26th. Every December when Christmas is done, I total up what we spent and decide if some areas were just too tight or if others seemed like they had too much wiggle room and then I decide what we will spend on next years Christmas and divide the number by 12. I either pay it like I would a set payment (such as a phone bill) each and every month, or pay it down like I would a large bill (such as a medical bill) with any overtime my husband gets until it is paid in full. It simple depends how much wiggle room our current day to day budget has. I set up what I call an account “envelope” to gather the money in. Really it is just a sheet of paper with the word Christmas account written on it where I keep track of deposits.
When I am ready to do my Christmas shopping I take out the cash I need and put it in my Christmas wallet, so that I don’t go over budget.
If you haven’t made your Christmas budget yet don’t panic. Here is a great article I found recently that will help : Interactive Christmas Budget Calculator
2. Order discount gift cards
If you tend to shop at certain stores each and every year for Christmas gifts, you might want to see if there are discounted gift cards available for them at Cardpool. Don’t forget to look for discounted cards for restaurants and movie theaters too.
Each year our family enjoys a 3D movie together as a family, a rare treat for our thrifty family, since I know it is going to happen I purchasing a discounted gift card for the theater in our town is one thing I do to keep the cost of a family movie night out more reasonable.
3. Sign up for daily deal sites
Every year for the past few years daily deals have been a great source of thrifty Christmas gifts for our family. Either we have bought gifts with them, or given them as gifts. We have also used them to save money on Christmas entertainment.
4. Sign up for Brad’s Deals
It looks like a daily deal site, but Brad’s Deals is so much more than that. Brad’s deals is a hub of the best deals out their on the web day after day on all sorts of items you might give as gifts such as electronics, clothing, sporting goods and more. I love their daily emails during the Christmas season as they always save me money on at least one gift on my list if not more.
5. Review after Christmas sales bin to see what gifts they already have
I keep a bin full of deeply clearance after Christmas sales items that I can use to give as gifts to our friends and my husband co-workers. Usually these are just part of a gift, like a mug that I might fill with chocolate and coffee, or a Christmas tin to fill with my chocolate treats to give as gifts.
6. Search Pinterest for ideas to repurpose what they already have on hand into gifts
One way to avoid having to go out in the bustle of Christmas shoppers and save money is to get creative and use what you already have to make Christmas gifts. I love using Pinterest to search for ideas to repurpose items. I keep two boards for things I always have in surplus. One board is my Rescue Your Jeans board for ideas of what to do with those too small or holey jeans and the other board called T-shirt Remake, Reuse because being a runner I collect several 5K run t-shirts a year that I don’t wear, but could make into something I could give as a gift.
Your household surplus is probably different than mine, but whatever it is enter it into the Pinterest search bar and I bet dozens of ideas will come up as to what you can make out of it to give as gifts.
7. Make a list of all the ingredients needed for baking, cooking as well as supplies for crafts they want to make and then watch for sales
Sometimes I will do a Pinterest search and find I have all but one item needed to make a craft. I put this on my “to buy” list. I also make a list of items I need for all my holiday baking and items for the big meal Christmas day.
By making up this list in November I have several weeks to try and grab the items on sale, or better yet on sale and with a coupon.
8. Follow sites that share great deals
Money Saving Mom is my favorite site to follow for great Christmas gift deals. There are many more great deal sites out there though. I suggest at Christmas time that you hop over to your favorite deal sites Facebook page and click the “get notifications” tab so that you see all their posts in your notification area and can see deals as the come up. You can also subscribe to them and get their deals in your email inbox too.
9. Bookmark their favorite cash back websites
- Top Cashback (no limit for cash out and an extra 2.5% back if you take an Amazon gift card code for payment makes Top Cashback my favorite cash back site)
- Swagbucks (shop & earn area)
- MyPoints (shop & earn area)
Cash back sites won’t save you money on Christmas presents but instead earn you money on your online Christmas present purchases. Cash back sites offer you a certain percentage back on purchases made by clicking through from their site to the site you shopped at. Point companies like Swagbucks and Mypoints offer you points for purchases, and this can be a great way to rack up points for a payout. Here is a tip, make sure to compare cash back rates before you shop to maximize your earnings.
10.Up gift card earning activities
I have used point programs for years to help pay for Christmas gifts. My friends have received gift cards earned through My Points in their Christmas cards from us. Our children have found gift card codes for Itunes written on cards in their Christmas stockings that came from Recycle Bank. One year I gave my husband a promissory note that stated he would receive the bulk of the Swagbucks I earned for 1 year in Amazon gift cards to load his kindle up with new book titles.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to start checking printable coupons sites, and coupon apps such as ibotta, Checkout51 and BerryCart: The coupons on these sites will not only save you money on food used in the baking you give as gifts but also gifts like children’s art supplies, family board games, and even clothes .
You can find all of my Thrifty Christmas articles in one spot.
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