Saturday, November 15, 2008

Have Yourself a Frugal Little Christmas

It's that time again.  I know that many people are on a very strict budget this year, but that doesn't mean that you can't give nice gifts for very little money.  Here are some tips on how to do it:

1) Cash in those rewards points!  I cashed in my MyPoints rewards and the rewards points from my credit card for Amazon gift certificates that I will use to shop for people on my list.  In previous years I also cashed in those points for gift cards that I gave as gifts.

2) Use rebate money as shopping money.  I'll be getting a $30+ check from Ebates soon, and I may just use that money for Christmas shopping.  If you saved your rebate money all year long, you could probably accumulate quite a bit.  

3) Use high dollar coupons.  When you get those $10 off any purchase coupons, use them for gifts.  Also remember that Walgreens has lots of gift-y items right now and they frequently put out $5/$20 purchase coupons.

4) Cash in your change jar at a Coinstar machine.  You can get gift certificates from it with no service charge.  Right now they are also offering a promo where you cash in $40 of change and you can get $10 in additional gift certificates by mail.

5) Use gift cards that you have received.  I won a $10 gift card to a gas station at my company's health fair.  That will be perfect for adding automotive things to a gift basket that I am creating.

6) Keep an eye out for free photo gifts.  Nearly all of the online photo companies will offer free photo gifts this time of year- you just have to pay shipping.  When I bought a digital camera, I also received a coupon for several free photo gifts.  I just ordered them today and will use as Christmas gifts.

7) Keep an eye out for deals.  They are EVERYWHERE right now, both online and in-store.  Victoria's Secret is offering their body lotions and sprays 8/$35 right now.  There is also a coupon online that you can print and get a free scrub as well.  9/$35 is a great deal and would make good small gifts.

8) Don't forget dollar stores.  They have some things in stock that may surprise you and would be appropriate for gifts.

9) Give used.  In my family, it is perfectly acceptable to give used DVDs and books that are in good condition.  If you can find it on Paperback Swap, even better!

This season, try to think outside the (ridiculously-priced) box.  Remember that one day is not worth sacrificing your finances.


jenn said...

Good ideas Girl! I just wrapped some gifts I got last year at 80% off after Christmas (cute glass Christmas bowls from a department store.) My hubby thinks I'm nuts but they look great for what I paid, and my list is getting shorter!

jenn said...

PS- I forgot to give you this link! It's good for a free photobookk on Snapfish! You only have to pay the $6.99 for shipping. I made my sister a book & added pages and paid only $15 with shipping!

Jackie said...

Don't forget handmade gifts or gifts of service. Last year I offered overnight babysitting to a friend any weekend night of her choosing. That same friend makes greeting cards with rubber stamps and scraps from her scrapbooking and gives sets of 30-50 to several of the people on her list...who then have friends requesting to buy some! We've also scavenged gifts for each other before from a craft store where we used to work together. Oh, and grandparents who have it all? Turn kid art into gifts by scanning the art and printing on fabric or having it put on a mug.

Donna Freedman said...

Gifts of service are great -- and be sure to think outside the box on this one, too. Every year I give my daughter coupons good for things like "one item of hand laundry," "one homemade pumpkin pie," "one catbox cleaning," and "one load of laundry washed, dried and folded."
Basically, think of what the recipient likes and DOESN'T like, and dream up ways to make that person happy.
I've also been saving a bunch of those Rite Aid and Walgreen single-check rebate items to put in stockings: facial cleanser, lip balm (some really fancy ones), toothbrushes (for my friend's kids), lipstick (for my daughter) and body washes. Walgreens even offered free-after-rebate filters for my daughter's Brita pitcher; they were the Walgreen brand filter but they fit the Brita, and they were offered two months in a row so I got two of them.
It may seem weird, but useful things go well in stockings, too. Last year I put $10 in quarters in my daughter's boyfriend's stocking because he does their laundry. I also got a bunch of free movie tickets from My Coke Rewards and put them in their stockings.
Shop the after-holiday clearances, of course, and be sure to poke around clearance racks/shelves a month or so after the holiday. Places like Walgreens are getting rid of the last of the Christmas-themed coloring books for as little as 12 cents, and the last of the extra toys they bought.
Oh, and don't forget to start saving the color comics from the Sunday paper -- they make great wrapping paper.

BeachNerd said...

I just shopped on Etsy, and found the cutest dress up capes for my nieces. Thank you for the suggestion, I didn't know about this place before.