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!