20 October 2011

Gearing Up For Christmas Frugal Style

Halloween hasn't even passed yet but we all know after it does Thanksgiving speeds by and Christmas is here before we can really blink an eye. Times are tough right now and money is tight so now is the perfect time to start preparing so you won't end up over your head. Here's a few tips I put together to help even the tightest budget have a Merry Christmas.

1. Have a Clear Plan

Be realistic according to your budget on exactly what you want to get and what you can actually afford. Write down everyone on your list and budget how much it will cost to make it happen. If you have more than one child in your household make sure you distribute evenly to each child. It's not fair to shower your younger children in the household with gifts and expect the older children to "understand". If you do this it's gonna come up in about 10 years while your kid is sitting on a therapists couch trying to work through some sort of complex you've managed to give them from making them feel unimportant. Slim down your list as well. If you normally buy Christmas for the block you may need to prioritize if money is tight. Also consider going in with friends or family members on gift purchases.

2. It's Time To Sell

Look over the stuff you have in your house and purge the things that you no longer need. You can sell anything of value on eBay or Craigslist and earn some extra Christmas cash. Also, clean out your jewelry box Gold prices are at an all-time high. Just the other day, I took some of my scrap gold in and made $270 bucks from a few pieces. If selling gold, make sure you shop around for the best price. Visit at least 4 places to get different offers and go with the highest price.

3. Layaway Now

Layaway is my all-time best friend. I'm way to cheap to make purchases over $200 dollars at one time. It just breaks my heart. Layaway allows you to put money down usually about 10-20% of the cost and make payments over time until the item is paid for. The length of time varies depending on the store. And, some stores require that you make payments a minimum of bi- weekly etc. There is no interest so this makes it a better way to go than using credit.

Here are a few stores I know of that have Layaway Plans.

T.J Maxx
Value Pawn
Cash America

4. Flex or Easy Pay Plans

Obviously, I'm a shopper but I'm certainly no amateur. This is one of my secret weapons when it comes to shopping. Flex pay or Easy Pay is very similar to layaway in that you make a down payment and pay on the item until it's paid off. The key difference here is that you get the item before you finish paying for it. These are offered through HSN or QVC. There is no interest charge or credit check. You pay the same amount as someone would pay cash. In order to participate in one of these you must order by credit card and they take a set amount out every month dependent on the payment plan. The only setbacks are that these payment plans are only available on certain items. Plus, QVC and HSN prices are sometimes slightly higher than you could find the item on Amazon, EBay or even a local retail store. The plus may just override that in the fact that you’re able to make your first payment and pay shipping (if using the links provided shipping is free) and get the item delivered to your front door at lightning speed as if you were done paying.

The HSN Program is called Flex Pay

I love shopping at hsn.com -and now I want to share the love. HSN wants you to save $10 on your first item ordered for $50 or more. Shop everything from kitchen and home decor to jewelry and electronics. There's always more to love at HSN!

Click here and enter C57258 during checkout.

The QVC Program is called Easy Pay

5. Not Brand New But New To Me

Don't neglect to check out your local Goodwill and Thrift Stores. With a little patience you can find true gems in these types if stores. You may be able to knock off a few of the items on the list or at least find a few stocking stuffers.

6. Mystery Shopping

I've been doing mystery shopping since about 2008 and I can't even begin to tell you how many free dinners, toys, car washes etc. I've scored. You name it you probably can get it free from mystery shopping. These assignments typically take about 30 to 60 days to get paid so it's best to start now in order to get paid before Christmas. Keep in mind you should NEVER pay to do mystery shopping. Anything asking you to pay is a scam. I'm in the process of writing another post in detail about this so check back.

7. Ask for help

If your Christmas budget is nonexistent then don't be afraid to get help. You may be wondering how you can afford your light bill next month so Christmas might as well be a trip to Mars right now. Keep your head up. Not only do the Holidays bring companies hiring Christmas help but, there are organizations that work to make sure that no child gets left out on the Holidays. Please don't allow your pride to stand in the way of getting holiday help. Now is the perfect time to get started many of these organizations have deadline restrictions.

Here are some organizations that offer help for the Holidays.

Toys for Tots 
Salvation Army Angel Tree
Catholic Charities

In addition to these contact your local churches they often have Holiday programs as well.

Another resource is United Way you can dial 211 from your phone or look up the United Way 211 website for your area. You can put in a search for rental or mortgage, light bill, dental, holiday, food or whatever you need assistance with and it will generate a link of the organizations that may help. In you live in Jacksonville Florida here's the link: United Way North East Florida

8. Cash Back and Reward Programs

My bank has a reward program with my check card for items that I purchase using the credit option. I've just recently cashed in my points and have about a $50 buck Kohl's gift card on its way to me as we speak. When I get the gift card I'm gonna hang on to it to purchase Christmas gifts or possibly even give the card itself. There are other cool reward programs as well I've listed them below. This will help keep your money in your wallet where it belongs.

Search & Win

SavingStar, Inc. Save on groceries with no clipping and no printing today

Calyp is another reward program where you earn points by sharing brands with your friends on social networks.

9. Use What You Know 

Another option for gifts and by far the most sentimental is the option to hand make your Christmas gifts. If you’re Martha Stewart Jr. this should be no problem for you. For those of us that are not as crafty all hope is not lost. You can make a plan now of something you would want to make there's a YouTube video for just about everything. If you aren't interested in getting crafty you can try giving baked goods as gifts. You can also take something you are good at gardening, organizing etc. and make personal gift cards to give. Many people really appreciate the effort that goes into making something from scratch rather than a store bought purchase.

10. Stay Organized and Relax

Panic during the Holidays cause us to overspend. If you don't wait until the last minute to get everything by the time Christmas is about a week away you should be done or just needing a gift or two. Don't put all your hopes into being able to win a fistfight in Walmart on Black Friday. Some stores not only have special black Friday sales but they also have unadvertised sale prices as well. Days before Christmas last year I bought a crock pot for $10 that I saw in the store yesterday for $25. It was not something even listed in the Black Friday Ads. So, if you made a clear plan of the people on your list and what you plan on getting them it will be easy because you will know what you’re looking for and won't be under pressure to get everything. Also, make sure you check out Groupon and Living Social. Most of these deals can be gifted and they offer a tremendous savings.

Living Social is another great one! I have actually purchased more from them than any other daily deal program.

Thanks for reading I hope this helps someone. Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Disclosure: This post contains one or more affiliate links. Opinions here are my own.

0 comments to “Gearing Up For Christmas Frugal Style”

Post a Comment


Water Cooler Mommy Copyright © 2011 | Template design by O Pregador | Powered by Blogger Templates