Whether you’re preparing for Christmas, a wedding, a baby shower or your spouse’s next birthday, gift-giving happens all year long. I believe the three most practical ways to live a frugal, yet generous life are to budget, save up, and find discounts. We’ve discussed the power of budgeting before. Now let’s talk about real ways to save money on quality gifts.
7 Ways to Save Money on Quality Gifts This Year
At the time of this writing, the pumpkins are on the scene. The air is turning cool. And the infinity scarves have yet to don each and every millennial’s neck. But, if you’re like me, you have that person in your life who always makes sure you’re aware that Christmas is, in fact, still coming. He or she posts memes that say things like “100 Days Til Christmas” or “12 Sundays Left.”
I consider this passive aggressive torture. And I love Christmas. Sure, they’re just excited, but September doesn’t need to be trumped by the over-saturated Christmas shopping season.
Or does it?
While doing some research, I discovered something. People will spend over $465 billion on Christmas presents this year. Three out of every four of them live paycheck to paycheck. Which means they’re probably not saving up for Timmy’s new Red Flyer in September.
It’s so easy to wait, go into debt, and usher in the new year sorting it out. I’ve spent years doing this very thing.
Then, I battled my debt all the way to the finish line debt five years ago.
That forced me to budget for weddings and save up for Christmas.
Meanwhile, I found some ways to save extra along the way. Let’s go over those now.
1. Get deep discounts using SnagShout
SnagShout.com is one of those websites that keeps winning in my book. I’ve used it for over six months with great results each time.
What is it? You can purchase Amazon products for deep discounts (60% to 100% off) in exchange for a review of the product. For example, I found a pack of 10 kids’ toothbrushes on sale for less than $4.00. The kids are still using the first two brushes so the set will last a long time and I barely made a dent in my account for them. After they arrived, I logged onto Amazon and left a review of the product. That freed me up to “snag” a new discount item on SnagShout.
2. Save money of giving experiences with Groupon
The thing I love about Groupon.com is that it encourages giving experiences. You might be able to purchase a spa day for your spouse or a trip to a children’s museum for your family at a reasonable price through Groupon. Experiences are some the most memorable gifts I’ve ever received.
Search “Groupon + Your City” to see what types of events are happening near you.
3. Early Bird Specials
Business owners are pretty rewarding to those who buy ahead. It’s typically true for plane tickets, hotel reservations, and concert tickets, right? “Grab the ‘Early Bird Price’ and save $100!” Knowing what your loved one wants and looking ahead might just save you a bundle.
For example, planners are more popular than Santa Claus these days, especially when it comes to busy women on the go. I discovered that my favorite planner was going on sale for the early bird price four months before Christmas. Did I mention it to my husband? Yep. Keep your eyes and ears open for those early deals.
4. Create the At-Home Version
We’re back to experiences for a moment. If your family or significant other really enjoys a particular restaurant, cook a look-a-like meal at home. Maybe they enjoy going to the movies. Then, set up a movie night. If you’re in a warm climate in December or celebrating a summer birthday, set up an outdoor movie theater in the backyard.
I keep coming back to giving experiences because it’s like giving memories. There are so many ways to save money on quality gifts like that and still make their impact last a lifetime.
5. Pinterest DIY
Pinterest.com can be your friend during a gift-giving season. It’s also true that it can cause you to overspend as you pimp out your kid’s birthday party or deck your halls like they’re in the Ritz.
Still, if you start a board on Pinterest just for gifts and pin ideas along the way, you’ll likely find one that sticks. Perhaps it’s an idea for a DIY photo book. Maybe it has some awesome recipes you can assemble into a DIY recipe book for someone. The ideas are endless. Typically, the largest investment into these projects is your time. What quality gift is better than that?
I love the barter system. In my profession as a freelance writer, it comes in handy all the time. I’m currently working on a bartering arrangement with my web designer. She’s going to design my new blog in exchange for my help proofreading and copy editing her existing website.
In a non-business example, I recently arranged a bartering agreement with fellow stay-at-home mom. We trade babysitting one morning a week so that each of us can have time to ourselves. I love my kids to the moon and back, but having a break in my week to write or buy groceries or simply take a shower is like a little glimpse of heaven.
Bartering requires resourcefulness on your part, but it can be done. SnagShout is a bit like bartering. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Get creative and see what happens.
7. Earn gift cards online
I may have saved the best for last. Many people don’t know what to get for baby showers, anniversaries or birthdays. Gift cards are a wonderful solution. A great way to budget for them is to earn that money on the side. Here are two straightforward ways to start earning gift cards today:
Swagbucks.com is one of the most popular and reliable rewards sites on the market. There are nine ways to earn money. Several of those include:
- Searching the internet
- Shopping online
- Filling out surveys
- Referring friends
- Watching videos
All simple stuff. Once you accumulate enough “Swagbucks,” you redeem them for gift cards toward PayPal, Target, Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and many others. I’ve been researching this area for a while and so far, Swagbucks offers the largest variety in ways to earn and in redeemable gift cards. Learn more here.
A new favorite of mine is the free app ReceiptHog. I like it because it helps me stay on budget while earning money at the same time.
Fire up ReceiptHog and take pictures of every receipt you bring home. They stay in RH’s database, helping vendors understand what consumers are buying while earning you points just for snapping photos and patting yourself on the back. You can redeem them for gift cards to PayPal or Amazon.
How do you save money on quality gifts each year? Share in the comments below!
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