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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Frugal Friday: Christmas Shopping {Already!}

on October 4, 2013

presents

One of the things I’ve started to do is start my Christmas shopping earlier this year. I’d actually like to start a lot sooner next year; we had a lot going on this year. We have a limited budget for Christmas gifts and quite a few people to shop for, so I thought I’d pass along some tips that I’ve begun to utilize to get the most bang for my buck.

  • Have your list of people for whom you are buying gifts typed/written out ahead of time. Know what your exact budget is for gifts, so you know what your limit is. (We did not do this last year, and after we totaled everything up, we realized we had gone way over budget, even though I bought gifts at great prices and thought I was within budget. Little things add up–especially stocking stuffers if you’re not careful!!)
  • Use rewards from programs like Pampers Gifts to Grow, Plink, Swagbucks, etc. to turn into gift cards or gifts. For example, I was able to redeem some of my Pampers points for a gift card that I will give as a gift. I also use my Plink or Swagbuck points to redeem for Amazon gift cards to reduce the price of the gifts I am buying on Amazon.
  • Subscribe to a few good blogs, like hip2save, frugalcouponliving, and slickdeals. As they tell you about good deals, think of who is on your list and whether that might be a good gift item. (I always check out the reviews for the product on Amazon, as well.) If it is a good match, buy it, write the object and the price next to the name on your list, and keep a running total of how much you’ve spent/how much you have left.
  • Be willing to shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and garage sales. I suppose this depends on the gift and the person you are giving to. But you can find some great, clean buys for great prices!
  • Keep a list of gifts that others have mentioned that they would love throughout the year. Keep an eye out for that item and snatch it when it’s a good price. There was a particular item that my husband recently mentioned that he would like that was running $100+ on Amazon. I actually prayed about it (Isn’t God good to answer our little “insignificant” prayers?!), and I found a “like new” one on Amazon for $35, plus used a $5 gift card, bringing it down to $30! Whoo-hoo! (Shhh. . . don’t tell him! 😉 )
  • Give handmade gifts. Pinterest has a bunch of great ideas. I think I’m going to supplement my gifts this year with some handmade treats.
  • I’m thinking about stuffing our stockings this year with treats. Not too healthy, but fun and much cheaper. I’m always amazed at how much one can spend on stocking stuffers (especially with how big stockings are!). You can also fill them with freebies you’ve collected over the year.

Following these guidelines works great for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I’m going to try to start keeping a “gift closet,” in which I buy items for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers, etc as I see them for great prices. Then, I can “shop” my closet as the need arises. Shopping this way avoids a lot of stress, wasted time, and money. And, personally, I think it’s a lot of fun! 🙂

Do you have any other ideas for frugal gift buying?

{Each Friday, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

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