On Dasher, On Dancer, On Savings!

OctMono

It seems appropriate that on the day I start to plan out my Christmas shopping budget, I’m unintentionally dressed in a cute red and white holiday-tastic sweater. Not that I’m feeling all too festive at the moment – and you wouldn’t be either, if you saw the list of loved ones I just generated. I already knew that Christmas this year was going to be a lean one, with a lot of DIY thrown into the mix, but I guess I was still shocked seeing what my final plan was going to be.

I’m no stranger to budgets. At any given time, I have an Excel spreadsheet somewhere that’s calculating my income, bills, savings, planned expenses, and the not-so-planned ones. I’ve got the app Money by Jumsoft on my phone; it works like a register in the back of a checkbook in that you record all of your expenses there. Unlike a regular pen and paper register, though, it can also help you keep track of your budgets and generate monthly spending reports. Nifty, huh?

But I’m dying to know how else I can save oodles of money this year. Like any good Millennial, I turned to the Internet for help. How could I stretch my budget the furthest without compromising a well-thought gift?1324394672747_2096179

I should put a disclaimer here: let it be known that I love all things holiday related and I know gifts aren’t the end-all-be-all, joy comes from family blah blah blah. But nothing is more fun than seeing the joy on someone’s face when you got them the perfect gift.

Here’s what I found:

Apps (All for iPhones, sorry Android friends)

  • Favado – App that helps save you money at local grocery and drug stores by discovering sale and coupon combos.
  • Checkout 51 – Earn cash back at any store by purchasing Checkout 51 sponsored items.
  • ShopSavvy – Scan the barcode in the store, and the app will tell you if you can buy it cheaper somewhere else.

Websites

  • Thekrazycouponlady.com
    • Notes: I signed up, and had a hard time searching for items. Nothing I searched for was showing up. You can, however, browse by store for weekly coupon deals.
  • Coupons.com
    • Notes: This website was better for brand name items, doesn’t matter which store they’re at.
  • Hotcouponworld.com
    • Notes: Was able to find the grocery store I shop at (Ralph’s) and was able to peruse deals by category (home goods, produce, deli, etc).
  • Retailmenot.com
    • Notes: Has a lot of great coupons/sales from hundreds of different stores and sites. 
  • Bfads.net
    • Notes: Shows you leaked ads for Black Friday 2014.

Misc

And lastly, some Christmas shopping rules:

  1. Make a budget and stick to it!
  2. Consider doing “family gifts” (as in, you team up with family members to buy other family members gifts)
  3. Do a gift exchange
  4. Buy gifts in bulk
  5. Make some of your gifts
  6. Don’t worry about being “too cheap”
  7. Coupon for gifts & know your sales

Happy shopping, and be safe out there on Black Friday!

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