Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Five: 5 Ways to Save on Gifts!

 Welcome to Friday Five!  This week we have a guest post from one of our Northeast Bloggers, Julienne!  Check it out and then link up your own Friday Five post with us!  And please be sure to link back to us in some way in your post- add our button or say you linked up with us!
5 Ways to Save on Gifts at Christmastime and all year round!
  1. 1. Swagbucks: Swagbucks is a online rewards system that awards points based on tasks that members complete. You can then cash those points in for gift cards to restaurants, department stores, and more.  I typically opt for Amazon cards – usually using them for household items (like shampoo or shelf-stable grains). But you could certainly use them to purchase gifts for family & friends! I’ve been a Swagbucks member for almost 2 years and I can honestly say it really is an honest & transparent program. If you want to know more, you can watch a video about Swagbucks on my YouTube channel.

  2. 2. Gift Wrap: Gift wrap and greeting cards can take a huge chunk out of your gift giving budget. I’ve learned a few tricks to cut down on the cost – and I think my gifts look even better than before! Paper grocery bags are an awesome resource! You can run a bag through the paper shredded for filling a basket or box. You can also use the bags as gift wrap. Brown paper bags can be dressed up with twine; and Trader Joe’s bags can stand alone! The Dollar Store is also a fantastic resource – selling greeting cards, boxes, and tape. And, as always, Pinterest is an awesome resource for great (and cheap!) gift wrapping ideas!

  3. 3. Homemade gifts: Homemade gifts are not for the faint-of-heart. You may save money (sometimes!) but you certainly will spend more of your time than if you purchased something outright. Regardless, I love that I can customize the gift and can show my recipient, through my time spent, how much I care! My husband and I have exclusively made homemade Christmas gifts for the last 2 years (in a festivity appropriately titled, Operation Homemade Christmas). Collectively, we’ve made flower boxes, scarves, clothing, shelves, and more! (And we did it for a fraction of the cost!) 

  4. 4. “It’s Christmas All Year Round”: I say this all the time and it is so true! If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of folks to buy for –coworkers, teachers, and others that deserve a special thank you at holiday time. If you keep your eyes open, you may find the perfect gift for those folks in the off-season – and for a great price. (Think: “Secret Sales” held by designers like Kate Spade.) Buy ahead (read: June!) and put it away for safe keeping. Even if you don’t get a great deal, buying in advance could put less of a strain on your December budget; and on your nerves!

  5. 5. Beware of the Add-Ons: When you make a purchase, it is important to be aware that hidden costs are sometimes added in to your total purchase price. And these can really add up! Some gift cards (often shopping malls) will charge an “activation fee.” Even though it is usually cheap, sometimes just $1, it will add up if you’re buying multiple cards. Also - what about stores that charge a fee for gift boxes? Just staying aware can keep some much-needed funds in your pocket!

    Thanks for the great tips Julienne!

    Now it's your turn!  Link up your Friday Five post with us below!  Anything goes- at long as it's a list of five! 

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  1. Ahhh, LOVE this! I'm a big couponer (not like the TLC crazies!) and I've been doing a ton of online shopping using Ebates. I'm already up to a $60 return!

  2. That's awesome, MarlaJan! I'm with you - not quite ready to be on TLC - but I love to save $$! Thanks for reading! - Julienne

  3. Great tips!

    I shop through ebates, cash back baby!


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