Wednesday, July 13, 2016

4 Essential Tips to Help You Save for Christmas

I know, I know.  We're still in Summer Break mode here.  My kids are finding fantastic things to bicker about.  Last week there was a tense standoff over how long it was until Christmas.  One said 6 months, one said 5.  In case you are wondering, there are 164 days.  (If your kids start having the same argument mine had, you can direct them to this nifty Christmas countdown clock).

Anyway, it's July and people start getting weird about Christmas in July.  Proof: When I was a kid my church once sang Christmas Carols in December. We're just about 5 months away from the biggest, and most expensive, holiday in American culture. For 2015 the National Retail Federation expected the average American to spend upwards of $800 on gifts and decorations.  That's $1,600 for a family of two adults.  That's....a lot.

You know me. I love a good bargain.  My stupid Pinterest name is TheBargainBabe (Don't judge my name and I won't judge yours PokefluffGoMaster). I make my own laundry detergent. Black Friday is a national holiday to me.  And I've preached the virtues of Swagbucks. Christmas is just 5 months away and I know right now some of you are freaking out. Like "WHAT!? I don't have any money saved up yet! I can't save that much each month!"

Never fear, TheBargainBabe (is it weird to talk in 3rd person? It is. Yes. I will stop.) is here with 4 tips for a frugal Christmas.

1.  Start saving n-o-w if you haven't already. Set some money aside when you can.  Put it in a separate holiday account or in a sock drawer or something.  Maybe you'll decide to save every $1 bill you get, or all your quarters or 5% from each paycheck.  Whatever. Just start saving.

2. Use cash back sites when you shop online. Ebates is great for this.  For years my friends were all like "Yay ebates!" and I rolled my eyes and thought they'd fallen for some Amway scam.  Turns out Ebates is the real deal.  You go to the site and then click on the link to whatever store you want to shop at. Macy's, Sephora, JCPenny, Kohls, Walmart, Staples, Kohls...hundreds of stores.  That link takes you directly to the store's website AND you get a % CASH back.  Here's a screenshot of my next payout that's coming in August:

 Use cash back sites like Ebates throughout the year and save that refund in your Christmas account.  This check will put me at $28 for the year with an expected $30 more for the last half of the year---so $58 in my pocket.  There's a lot you can do with $58.  

3. Discuss gift limits with your significant other.  In 2011 my husband and I decided to scale back and do 4 gifts for each child and ourselves.  Here's my first post about it.  We love that it will fit any budget yet keeps things simple and the focus less on consumerism.

You may not decide to do this exact method and that's okay. The point is: you NEED to have a discussion and have preset limits and expectations.  Buying anything you think they will "like" is a recipe for overspending.

4. Join Swagbucks and start earning the points NOW so you can cash out for gift cards.  Last year I made over $400 from Swagbucks.  I use my points primarily for Amazon gift cards but have also had a fair amount of Sephora and Target too.  Amazon, Target, Sephora.  A girl's favorite stores. :)  You could easily make a couple hundred dollars between now and Christmas just buy watching videos, doing searches, and answering questions.  Swagbucks is completely free to join.

This is a GREAT way to afford things without putting a dent in your paycheck. I've heard of some families who fund their entire Christmas from Swagbucks!
If you're new to Swagbucks, see this pic of my screen for a few beginner's tips:

Swagbucks gave the handy infographic in this post and is also sponsoring it (thanks SB. You da' bomb diggity).  If you're a blogger you can apply to their Influencer program for additional earning opportunities.

It's never too early to start saving for Christmas. It is too early to start playing Christmas music. 
Wait a few more months for that. ;)

1 comment:

Happy to have you here at the Zucchini Summer Blog! :)