Wow, that girl looks mean. I am guessing she is a chocolate lover and is carefully guarding her stash of coins or the Grinch’s great grand-daughter. But anyways, I wanted to document five easy ways to save money this Christmas and still keep your holiday frugal, thoughtful, and memorable.
1- Deals on Gift Cards
I love myself a good gift card. Yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out gift, but for me, there is no better feeling than walking into The Sports Authority with a gift card knowing the entire store is a possibility. That is until I realize I am carrying a $25 gift card and can only afford a new (not used) jock strap. If you are planning on buying anyone on your list a gift card this year, be sure to check out my buddy Luke’s site called Gift Card Granny.com. The site is way cool as it allows you to buy gift cards for less than the card’s value.
Gift Card TIP: If you get a card this year be sure to use it! Leave it in your wallet or purse and don’t throw it in your desk drawer because if you forget about it you’ll likely find it 5 years later after it has expired.
2- Shop ebay.com
ebay.com has a treasure trove of gift possibilities, especially for people that you think already have everything. Just do a quick search for their interests and presto, you’ll be inundated with really cool and inexpensive gift possibilities, many of which you ‘re not going to find at your local mall . I have always believed that a thoughtful gift does not mean an expensive gift. In fact, some of the coolest gifts I have received were not very expensive.
ebay Tip: Consider selling stuff around the house to help pay for Christmas gifts this year. Gently used name-brand clothing, toys, and nick-knacks collectibles sell very well. Here is a guide I wrote a few years ago about the best way to maximize your selling on ebay.
3- Homemade Gifts
The best way to save money on gifts this year is to make a few yourself. Use your talents to create thoughtful gifts. If you don’t have any talents just fake it! My favorite is to buy some inexpensive photo frames from Walmart and frame a few pictures of your kids and give them as gifts to grandparents and extended family. You don’t have to be Ansel Adams to create very thoughtful photo gifts. My parents absolutely love unwrapping framed photos of their grand-kids. Also, if you typically buy gifts for neighbors and friends, this year bake a few of your favorite Christmas treats, and wrap them up as a cool and delicious Christmas gift.
4- Secret Santa
If you come from an extended family where everybody buys everybody a gift it would be a good year to suggest a Secret Santa. Works like this: Put everybody’s name in a hat and each person draws a name and that is who they buy for that year. Put a dollar cap on the gift and maybe have a theme. One year my family did a book theme which was a lot of fun. By only having one person to buy for, you save a ton of money, and have ample time to find a very thoughtful gift for your chosen recipient.
5- Shop with your Smartphone
If you have a smartphone, by all means load it up with free money saving apps. Please….I beg you. Make sure you have a free price comparison app like Red Laser (iPhone, Android) that let’s you scan the product’s bar-code and quickly find the best price in the galaxy. Make sure you have a free coupon app like Rather-Be-Shopping.com Coupons (iPhone) that let’s you use in-store coupons to hundreds of retailers right from your phone. The cashier just scans your phone at checkout, and yes this is a gratuitous plug for our new app. Last, but not least, make sure you have the free ShopKick app (iPhone, Android) downloaded as you’ll get rewarded with free Starbucks coffee and gift cards just for walking into stores like Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Old Navy and Crate & Barrel. That doesn’t suck at all.
Keep Christmas frugal this year and sleep well knowing you’re going to be able to pay the credit card bill come January. Any frugal tips to add to my list? I look forward to your comments.