I avoid malls like the plague during the month of December. I’m one of those people who likes to have all of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, so I can relax and enjoy the holiday season, rather than fight insane crowds at the shopping mall.
And like many other people this year, my family is on a tight budget this Christmas, meaning I need to make my Christmas dollars go farther. Fortunately, being frugal, I have a plan of attack when it comes to getting quality Christmas presents on the cheap.
Know Where to Find the Deals
I like to peruse message boards, where members post great deals on everything from toys to clothes to furniture. My favorite is Fishing For Deals, but a Google search will surely give you other results.
By keeping an eye on the message boards, other people do the work of finding the deals, and I can reap the benefits. When I find a great deal on the message board, I shop through the board’s link, so I can support them.
Shop Through Rebate Programs
If I find a deal on my own or just need to buy something that’s not on sale, I shop through programs like Ebates and MyPoints. These programs give cash back (in the form of actual cash or points to be applied to a gift card), making your money stretch farther. And right now if you sign up for Ebates through this link and make a qualifying purchase, $5 will be credited to your account! (and $5 to mine too!).
Ebates and MyPoints aren’t the only game in town anymore, as far as rebate programs go. ShopatHome.com is an up and coming rebate site. I’ve made a purchase through them already, and my cash back was credited directly to my account. The offer the same refer-a-friend bonus that Ebates does, where if you sign up through my link, we both get $5 if you make a qualifying purchase.
Don’t Forget to Use Coupon Codes
When shopping online, I always, always, ALWAYS do a search for an online coupon code before I check out. Often I can’t find one, but sometimes I can find a code that I can combine with the rebate program to save big bucks!
Doing a Google search usually works, as does checking the forums I mentioned earlier. Kyle of Rather-Be-Shopping, who writes for me every Wednesday, also has a great list of deals and coupons on his site.
Speaking of codes, I have the opportunity to share with you a great code for Small World Toys. Small World Toys is a company that focuses on quality educational toys for children. (My kind of toys!) If you use the code SALE134 from now until December 15, you can get 20% off your order!
Have a great holiday season, and remember to stay in your budget! You don’t want to be paying off credit cards come January!
I too love Ebates, but like Kimberly, found out that hard way that retailers will often not post their promised rebates into your account if you use a coupon code you find anywhere but Ebates. I spent $200 on a computer monitor and was stoked to get 7% back, but really bummed when I found that because I had used a 10$ off coupon code I found online, I made myself ineligible for the rebate. Ebates DOES offer many of their own coupons, but I signed up for Ebates on the assumption I could use it in conjunction with coupon codes I found online to extend my savings, but unfortunately that is just not the case.
Ebates still does rock, though!
Don’t forget about doing the one-month trial membership to Amazon–free shipping for one month and no need to find fillers.
Thankful, good tip! I think it will only work for those who haven’t done the trial before (or who haven’t done it recently). Amazon offers a free trial membership of Amazon Prime, which includes free shipping on many items, with no minimum purchase. I did the trial last year at Christmas, and it was great!
You do have to enter your credit card information to get the free trial, but there’s a setting that you can change to end your membership when the trial period ends, so your credit card doesn’t get charged automatically, if you forget to cancel. It’s a great deal!
Thanks Lynnae for the very nice mention of Rather-Be-Shopping.com!! Absolutely no reason to pay full price on your gifts this year. Love the giveaway idea too! Since I contribute to your blog am I eligble to win? ;-)
Just a heads up – Ebates refused to credit me for a purchase because I used a coupon code on the transaction. It was an Office Depot purchase and I used one of the common dollar off coupons, like $10 off a $75 purchase. (Stopped using Ebates after that, because I had to get them to investigate the transaction and it ended up being a whole lot of hassle. If they had just up front stated that it wasn’t okay to use a coupon code along with purchasing through them then I wouldn’t have used one!)
Oh wow. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ve never had a problem with using coupons in conjunction with Ebates, but it’s good to know it might be an issue.
Thanks for the warnings and heads up.
I’ll tell my cousins in the US about it !