Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Results + Tips for 2012

Although I love saving year round, I love to see how much I can save on my Christmas purchases. By searching for deals, online shopping, rebates, credit card rewards, etc. I am able to spend MORE on each person, but less out of pocket.  The less I can spend on each item, the MORE items I can get for everyone.

Each year I make a spreadsheet of each person/couple, what I might like to get them, what they might or do want as a gift, then put an amount by each person. Through out the year as I find good deals, I snatch them up and mark them off my list.

Here are some ways you can better prepare for the expense of Christmas 2012:

- Swagbucks - I use this website as a search engine and earn "swagbucks" as a reward. Those bucks can be redeemed for gift cards. Read more HERE about How to Maximize Your Swagbucks.  I've earned a CVS GC, iTunes GC and Amazon GC.

- Online & Affiliate Shopping - I get most of my incredible deals from sitting on my butt! You can find awesome deals (especially from November - December) on store websites. Shop thru an affiliate website like ShopAtHome, Ebates, or your credit card (like Discover & Chase) and get cash back in your pocket! I'm expecting a $50 cash back check from ShopAtHome in January - yay!

- Use Cash - Did you know that 6% or 14 million people are still paying off expenses from Christmas 2010? If you bring your credit card as a form of payment, you will spend more than you should. Play it safe, bring cash!

- Shop Amazon - Amazon has a plethora of goods online, for a fraction of the cost too. Before you go to a store, check online prices and price compare, particularly on Amazon.

- Use Coupons - Lots of stores want your business, so they issue coupons to bring you in. I used my 20% off at Kohl's, $10/$50 at Sports Authority in the Passbook, $10/$30 at Bath & Body Works, 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $5/$10 Hallmark, etc. Also, a lot of websites have coupon codes for you right on the FRONT PAGE! You'd be surprised how much you can save by keeping your eyes peeled.

- Plastic Jungle - An extra way you can save it by buying gift cards at a discount, and either giving them as gifts OR using them yourself. Read more about it HERE.  **Go HERE to see how I organize my giftcards!**

- Shop Out of Season - If you're getting warm clothes, shoes or something like that, wait til AFTER winter season to purchase them. Same applies to the summer season.  You can save a lot of money that way. Like next winter, I might want to buy my husband a hoodie of his favorite sports team. I might look for markdowns in February or March.

- Redeem Credit Card Rewards - Yes, you should use cash a much as possible, but if you have credit card reward points, USE THEM. Between my husband's family and my own family, there are no kids under 17 years old, so everybody asks for gift cards for Christmas. That can get pretty costly. So save up those points and redeem for gift cards. We saved $150 this Christmas by doing this!

Brian and I saved over 70% on Christmas 2011. Last year, we saved over 80%.  Make it your New Year Resolution to save not only on Christmas 2012 but year round as well.  Take some time out of your day or week to save some moola!

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