Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FREE Christmas - Savings 2011

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I know what you are thinking, "This lady is crazy! She's talking about Christmas already! And she said FREE Christmas?!" I know, but I do have a good reason behind it! Really, I have a plan to get FREE things for Christmas plus have money saved to buy the rest. How many times has Christmas showed up before you were ready, financially? How many times have you thought, "Where are we going to come up with the extra money for Christmas this year?" Well I have a plan. With the economy still suffering, I know that there are many families out there still struggling to pay their bills each month. Let alone come up with several hundred's of dollars to get gifts for all of their loved ones come December. So I have a plan and wanted to share it with you!

There are literary hundreds of ways to save money or earn money before the holiday season and now is the time to start! Here are the things that I have already started or plan to start, to start my journey to a FREE Christmas.

  • Save $10 a week- Yes, I will be using some of my own money for my Christmas savings! You can't get it all for FREE!! But with the money that I plan to put away each week, just $10, I will eventually get something for FREE out of it (see the next step). Come Black Friday (November), I should have $500 saved for Christmas.
  • Buy Gift Cards- Last year I would buy a $5 or $10 gift card through out the year at different stores and come Christmas I had about $200 worth of gift cards. But I quickly learned that I should have waited to buy those gift cards. This is where the above saved money comes into play. Last November one of our local shopping centers, Bridgewater Falls, offered a great gift card deal. For each $50 shopping center gift card you purchased, they would give you a $10 shopping center gift card FREE!! These gift card could then be used at any of the stores in the shopping center- Target, Dicks, Old Navy, Best Buy, JC Penney, just to mention a few. So my $500 could quickly turn into $600, in return that is like getting $100 in FREE Gifts= FREE Christmas!
  • Market Research Studies- I live near Cincinnati and I have to say that we are pretty lucky to have all the market research companies in this area that we do! I  have several that I get calls or emails from on a daily basis. Some pay a lot some, some pay a little, some offer gift cards, some offer products. They are all different but for the most part you get paid for your opinion. I plan to take half of the money that I receive from each study and put it away for Christmas. Here are a few that I use on a regular basis for market research studies- P & G Discovery Center, Assistance In Marketing, Q Facts, Northcliff Consulting and J & R Consulting. If you are not in the Cincinnati area you can check with some of the places I mentioned, they do have several locations in other cities and states. If not check with friends, family, co-workers or neighbors, I am sure that you have some market research companies in your area that you may have not even known about!
  • Make Your Gifts- With the economy as bad as it is, you may just not have any extra money to buy anything. This is where having extra talents come in handy.Sit down and make a list of all the people that you know you need to buy gits for, for Christmas. Then write down gifts that you know you can make by had- quilts, sock puppets, floral arrangements, cookies in a jar, etc. Then match up your gift with the people on your list. Some of these things you can start making now and have ready before Christmas, leaving you less stressed about finding gifts for your loved ones. 
  • Swagbucks - Swagbucks is an easy way to earn FREE gifts and gift cards. All for answering surveys, surfing the net and reading emails. Each time you surf, read email or answer surveys you get points. Those points then can be cashed in for gift cards and other great prizes. It is really is that simple! I already have $30 in Amazon Gift Cards! I cashed out for $75 for gift cards for last year.
  • My Points- My Points is another site that you can earn FREE gift cards for answering surveys, surfing the net and reading emails but they offer a little more. You also earn points for printing coupons and for making purchases online. Each time that you do any of those things I mentioned you get points, those points can then be cashed in to get gift cards. Also if you sign up for special offers you get additional points. I cashed out for $60 worth of gift cards last year.
  • Speedy Rewards- Speed Rewards is a card that you get from your local Speed Way Gas Station. Each time you get gas or purchase items in the store you get points. Those points can then be cashed out for FREE food, cents off gas or gift cards. I cashed out for $50 worth of gift cards for last year.
  • Inbox- Inbox is another site that you can earn cash for answering surveys and reading email. I cashed out for $37 last year.
  • Send Earnings- Send Earnings is another site that you can earn cash for answering surveys and reading email. I cashed out for $33 last year.
  • Bank Rewards- Our bank offers points for each time we use our bank card to buy our everyday purchases. You can then cash out those points for gift cards. These points seem to add up quickly for us since we never carry cash and always use our bank card to buy everything! Check with your bank and see if they offer this as an option! Last year we were able to cash out for $50 worth of gift cards.
So here is my plan for this year as to how much money I will have saved, earned or cashed out for by Christmas time this year!
Total I hope to have by Christmas $1385, in which $885 of this will be money that did not come out of our budget. These are just a few ways to help save money and earn FREE gifts for your family. What ways do you plan to save for the holidays? 

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Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

It's definitely NOT too early to be thinking about Christmas spending. I use Swagbucks and MyPoints to get a bunch of FREE gift cards, then I keep an eye out early for great sales and deals on the things I'm shopping for. My husband and I also keep things under control by only giving each child a few things, and we choose names in our large extended family.

LaVonne @ Long Wait said...

What great ideas! Thank you so much for a concise and informative post. I use my swagbucks and mypoints for gifts too. :)

Just stopping by to say hi from WFMW. Stop by and say hi to me anytime. I love visits.


The Prudent Homemaker said...

I have been making gifts for my family since 2006. I have 6 children and we give gifts primarily just to our children, though I do give a little something to my parents and my grandmother as well (and to one friend). (We do not generally exchange gifts as husband and wife).

My budget is considerably tighter than yours, but we have been able to give some great gifts.

I gave lots of homemade jams and jellies last year. Some came from my own garden, but much of it came from fruit that I gleaned for free from those who would have left it to rot on their trees and were happy to share it (I made a lot of pomegranate jelly in particular).

I did a lot of sewing. We were given some old sheets (flannel and others) which were used to make handkerchiefs and pajamas. I had fabric that I was given (frm those who no longer sew) and I used that for dresses for my girls. I printed out free paper dolls and paper toys for stockings, and I made homemade bookmarks with free images.

Here are my links to lots of free
(or close to it, using primarily things you have on hand) ideas

and free sewing tutorials

I start planning my sewing list in January, adding to the ideas as the children mention different things throughout the year. I also do the same things for birthday gifts as well.

Just yesterday I was planning a skirt for my daughter for fall (and I washed the fabric today).

Just Trying To Save Money said...

These are such great ideas,thanks for sharing!! We do exchange names with some family members to help cuts cost as well!!