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If you’re reading this article to hear about DIY projects and gifts, this is the wrong article. I honestly don’t have time for that and if you’re a busy mom, I bet you don’t either. You need ways to have a frugal Christmas on a budget that are easy.
Things that don’t take more time out of your day, but puts extra money in your pocket this holiday season. I mean who has extra time anyway?
Here are 17 tips to save money this holiday and have a true frugal Christmas on a budget the simple way.
17 Tips to Have a Christmas on a Budget that Works
1. START SHOPPING EARLY
Most people will tell you to not buy anything before Black Friday. For a lot of items that can be true, but it’s not always. Just last week, this was on sale for $4.
I can tell you right now that was an insanely low price for that product and it never went on sale last year. How do I know that? Well, we bought it for my daughter for about $7 last year on sale.
2. HAVE A PLAN ON BLACK FRIDAY
Have you ever gone Black Friday shopping to save TONS of money, then come home for your husband to say, “you spent WHAT?!” for your response to be, “well I SAVED this much!” It can seem like Black Friday will always save you money, but that’s not true.
It’s so easy to go into a store and spend $150 on gifts. You saved $200 on everything though, so it must be worth it, right? This is a HUGE mistake people make.
Looking through Black Friday deals ahead of time and making a list can save A LOT of money… and time. It will keep you on task of what needs to be bought and get you in and out of the stores (or online shopping carts) fast.
You will also stay away from “fake” deals. Those are anything that look like a deal in the store or are next to the ad deals, but are actually not a good price.
That $150 may now drop to $50 and by the end of the season you have just as much quality items as you would otherwise. And you’ll spend less.
3. SAVE MONEY BY BUYING THROUGH EBATES
What if I told you, you could save 11% on Etsy just for shopping online? Sounds amazing, right? Ebates is a cashback site that gives YOU money for shopping.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: You go to the Ebates website, search the website you want to buy from, then click through the button to the site. From there, you shop as normal and then Ebates gives you the cashback.
They also send out emails for cashback deals when some stores may be double. On 11/11, 200+ stores were offering 11% cashback in honor of Veterans Day.
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. It works the same way as a credit card that gives out a percentage reward for certain items you purchased (more on that later).
Plus you can get a $10 Welcome Bonus just for signing up!
You only need a Paypal account for Ebates to send your money to and you’re all set! The threshold to cash out is $5, so you will be making money this holiday season even after just one online purchase!
I save about $100-$200 a year on Ebates. I expect that number to be higher this year as I plan to do more shopping online than in the past (RIP Toys R Us).
4. USE MYPOINTS TO SAVE THIS HOLIDAY
MyPoints is a website, like Ebates, where you earn cashback. Instead of earning money back, you earn points for all purchases. Once you obtain enough points, you can cash it out for gift cards.
What I love about MyPoints is the other opportunities it gives to save money. You can print out grocery coupons, take surveys, click through emails, and redeem gift card or purchase deals to earn extra points.
Each gift card is listed as a certain amount of points. When you have enough, you can get a gift card to restaurants, clothing stores, or online stores.
Get a free $10 gift card just for making your first purchase through MyPoints and gain points on top of that!
I typically earn $75-$100 using MyPoints mainly from printing and using coupons and clicking through emails (you literally just need to click through to a website to earn points). Any points from buying purchases is added on top of that. Sign up now to start saving!
5. SHOP WITH IBOTTA FOR A FRUGAL CHRISTMAS
iBotta is known to be more of a grocery saving app, but this year they rebranded and offer online deals too! You just download the app and search the store you are looking to buy from.
It’s very similar to Ebates and MyPoints, but the percentage cashback and stores available can vary. I love to compare them before using them (you can only use ONE of these sites per purchase).
Get a $10 Welcome Bonus when redeeming your first purchase through iBotta whether it is shopping online or grocery coupons!
6. USE ONLINE COUPONS
In addition to cashback, you can save by using coupons! Retail Me Not is an online resource to search for all online coupons available.
For instance, if I want to purchase from Crayola, I can see they have a current 15% offer for purchases of $30 or more. Some coupons can be expired, so you may have to sort through 3-4 coupon codes before finding one that works (coupons as of 11/12/18).
I have saved up to $10-$15 per order just by finding coupon codes on Retail Me Not.
7. PLAN WHAT TO BUY AND SET A LIMIT
It’s so easy to go overboard and buy more than intended. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments on Christmas Eve while wrapping presents wondering where the heck all this stuff came from.
Write a list of the type of items you want to buy and how many of each. Stick to that list and you will save $100s.
8. SHOP DEALS FOR STOCKING STUFFERS
Saving isn’t just for the gifts under the tree. Stocking stuffers can add up very quickly! Search through the Target Hot Spot deals (their dollar section) and the Dollar Tree to save money and still find great products that match your child’s interests.
5-6 items plus a few pieces of candy will fill up the stocking before you know it!
9. CHECK AMAZON DAILY
Amazon is already offering daily deals! Check Amazon daily for their lightning deals and deal of the day deals.
My Facebook group also makes it much easier when buying for kids. Follow my page to see some of the best deals in toys, games, and in the kitchen to help save you this Christmas season.
10. SECRET SANTA FOR THE EXTENDED FAMILY
If you’re like my family, it just keeps growing. People are getting married and having kids and the number of people to buy for just keeps increasing.
Instead of buying for EVERY family member, do Secret Santa. We now buy a gift for just ONE person instead of 20 saving time and money. It also allows you to focus more on the one gift than buying something last minute because you didn’t have time to think about what to get.
11. KEEP RECEIPTS FOR EXCHANGES AND RETURNS
I can’t tell you how many people throw away their receipts or give gift receipts. If you give someone a gift receipt or no receipt at all, they will typically receive the lowest price the store had in the last 45 days.
If you bought a $40 jacket for your daughter, but it’s too small, returning with no receipt may get you $25 in return. Just having the receipt will get you $40 back. Plus, if they have the bigger size in stock, you’ll get $15 extra in pocket for buying the same product!
12. USE YOUR CREDIT CARD CASH BACK PROGRAMS
If you have a massive amount of credit card debt, please skip this one. I recommend going all cash for Christmas shopping in those cases.
If you are able to pay off your credit card bill at the end of the month and avoid paying interest, use those credit cards! Currently the Discover It! Card is offering 5% cashback on Amazon this quarter and Visa Chase gives 3% on Amazon.
Each card is different, but use them to your advantage and get money back.
13. SHOP THRIFTY FOR DECORATIONS
Decorations can get expensive. Cheaper decorations can look just as nice and cost much less. I love to shop at Christmas Tree Shop and find ones for half the price of other places.
Just remember to keep those decorations year after year to save even more! I barely need to buy any decorations each year because we have so many.
14. DON’T BUY GIFT CARDS
I will admit. I’ve been guilty of this until recently. I bought some of my co-workers $25 gift cards to places I know they would love because I was too lazy to go shopping. I ended up spending $100 on just 4 people!
When I received my gifts from them, I realized I should’ve done things differently. They were more personalized to me and I know they were able to spend less. For instance, I received a calendar, scarf, and gloves from one person. I loved it all, but I knew they only spent about $15.
I could’ve saved $10 per person by planning something to buy instead of buying gift cards. That’s a $40 savings on just 4 people!
15. USE GROUPON FOR EXPERIENCES
Experience gifts are the new thing. Instead of buying a gift card for that experience (see above), buy from Groupon. You will purchase for MUCH less than retail price allowing you to save money.
Groupon also loves to email out coupon codes to save even more money. You can score some pretty sweet gift experiences for cheap on there!
16. USE AMAZON PRIME – FOR FREE
This year Amazon has tried something different and is offering free shipping to ALL orders with no minimum price. No Prime needed. It’s amazing!
If you’re shopping pretty close to Christmas or need a gift right away, sign-up for a 30-day free trial to save on faster shipping costs. 2-day shipping can still be upward of $20 in some cases! This will save stress and money on when your purchase will arrive as the free shipping provided is their 5-8 business day option.
17. STOCK UP AFTER CHRISTMAS
It won’t save you money THIS Christmas, but it can save A LOT for next year.
Get out there and search through seasonal merchandise at places like Target, Walmart, Christmas Tree Shop, etc to get insane clearance deals.
And don’t stop there. Look through clearance toys, clothes, etc. This works especially well if your child has a winter or spring birthday, or you just want something for Easter if you’re not sure they will still like them come a full year for Christmas again.
I bought this Disney princess doll set for $18 in February and set it aside for my daughter this year. Actually, I bought 2 sets and gave the other one to my niece for her birthday in April. They are now on sale for $59.99 and selling like hot cakes already.