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As a mom, I always want to give my daughter the best Christmas she’s ever had. It’s a desire that never goes away and each year I can’t stop myself from trying to out do the year before. I know, it isn’t a good thing (it’s not necessarily a bad thing though), but it can make things interesting for my budget to say the least. If you want the truth, I’m fully aware that the desire to out do myself each year is mom guilt from where we had nothing when she was little. I’m also fully aware that it doesn’t matter to her if I out do myself, that she’s happy just being with me on Christmas, but that still doesn’t stop me.
Because of that mom guilt, I’ve had to work at finding ways to save on Christmas and lucky for you? I’m about to tell you how I do it. Do what you ask? Save big on Christmas. These 7 must have Christmas savings tools are the only seven that I use myself. Keep reading because I’m going to share how I use them, why I use them and then? You can do the same.
The mom guilt that I feel leads all the way back before Emma and I spent almost a year in a homeless shelter. Back then, I really, really had to save on Christmas. If I didn’t, there simply wasn’t a Christmas. In fact, her very first Christmas I didn’t know how to save on gifts and because she was too young to get any assistance for it (our county had a 12 month age minimum and she had just turned 11 months). Luckily, that year, my Dad stepped in and bought her a few things and it was taken care of. Since then though, I’ve made it a point to save as much as I can on Christmas, even if that means I have to work all year long. This year, I did really well on Christmas. In fact, up until Black Friday, I was $500 deep in gifts for Emma, Tom and our other family members for $0.00 out of pocket. Yes, you read that right. I bought $500 in gifts for $0.00 out of my own pockets. Black Friday, I decided I wanted to shop and turned to these tools to help me continue to save. As a result, I spent around $500 out of pocket and will be gifting well over $1,000 worth of items across my family and circle of friends. To do this, I use the sites below. Some I use all year long, some I use only at the holidays or when I shop online. No matter what, these sites are a huge help and the ONLY way I am able to make it through the holiday season without feeling that dreaded mom guilt monster or without going totally broke.
7 Must Have Christmas Savings Tools
When I’m looking to make money for Christmas, I use a couple of the sites below, but I also start picking up any quick and easy side jobs that I can find and I start selling the things we no longer need. I usually start this process around August or so and by the time that Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around, I’ve got enough saved up, along with the things I earn from the sites below and the savings from them as well, to give Emma a very nice and memorable Christmas for cheap.
Raise.com – Raise is one of my favorite money saving tools. It allows me to buy gift cards at a discount not only for Christmas savings but the stores I shop all year long. It may not be a huge savings, depending on which store I’m shopping, but to me, any savings is a great one. With Raise, I can buy for stores I grocery shop at (Walmart, Target) and stores I buy gifts at too so it’s almost always one of the places I go to first when I’m getting ready to shop.
InstaGC – This is my favorite of all of the sites that I use. I not only use it for Christmas savings, but I use it all year long to help save on my bills (I pay Netflix and more with it), to save on groceries (Walmart gift cards) and even get cash for things that I can’t get a gift card for. Around October, I stop using it for anything else and save up my account balance solely for Amazon gift cards. This allows me to “buy” a good portion of gifts for $0.00 out of pocket.
Swagbucks – This is another one of the money saving tools that I use online. Here, I search normally, take quick surveys and watch commercials for points. Those points are then exchanged for gift cards or Paypal cash to help me save. This one earns a bit slower than the one above so around September, I stop cashing out in favor of saving up my points for Christmas. During the year though, I use my points for Paypal cash that we use to fill up our gas tank to save on gas costs.
Ebates – In addition to earning money for Christmas, I have to actually save on the gifts I buy. Ebates is one of the sites that helps me to do that. When I’m headed to shop online, I search Ebates first. Why? Because Ebates pays me cash back when I shop through them and because they gave me a $10 gift card with my first purchase (they still do that by the way). When I shop through them, I earn cash back and while it may not be much? It’s something and anything helps.
Shop Your Way Rewards – Shop Your Way Rewards is a program that is exclusive to Sears and Kmart that won’t give you cash back, but it does give you points back. Those points act like cash back for Sears and Kmart. In addition to that, they give new members 90 days free shipping. The best part of the program is that sometimes they will give surprise points. This year so far I’ve used those surprise free points to get 6 different gifts for my Emma to give to her friends. I’m past the free shipping freebie, but it would be great for a new customer.
Top Cash Back – Top Cash Back is just like Ebates and yes, I do use 2 different cash back sites to shop. Why? Because a lot of the time I will find that one has a higher percentage of cash back than the other. I check both for who has the highest percentage and who will give me more of my money back and use them to save.
Amazon Prime – If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’re spending much more money than you need to be when you shop Amazon. Not only does Amazon Prime save me on tv costs because we get to watch free movies and tv shows (we dropped cable a while ago), but it also gets me early access to deals and I get free 2-day shipping. I know that most people wouldn’t consider Prime a money saving tool, but it really is. The early access deals can help me find gifts that my family wants without having to wait in lines or miss an out of stock item online, the free shipping is a HUGE money saver and on top of all of that, Prime Pantry is a huge money saver for us on groceries throughout the year.
Do you have any favorite money saving tools that you use at the holidays that I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to here them! I’m always looking for new ways to save!
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