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This week in Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas we’re talking about budgeting for Christmas. There are three ways to make your budget work with your finances.

  1. Make more money.
  2. Buy less.
  3. Save money on what you buy.

Normally I’m all about number 2, which you’ll see in next week’s posts, but today I’m sharing my go-to Christmas shopping tips based on numbers 1 and 3.

I have a few quick resources that will help you save money buying what you were going to buy anyway or help you earn money doing what you were going to do anyway. Here goes:

Five Quick Money-Saving Resources (for Christmas and beyond)


Rebate sites for online shopping.

There are many, but the two I have been on for the last umpteen gazillion years (that’s an exaggeration) are Ebates* and Mr.Rebates*. Both serve me well.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Sign up at Ebates* and/or Mr.Rebates* (and get their current bonus).
  2. Before you head to, say, Toys R Us online, go to a rebate site (I go to both to see which has the biggest cash back).
  3. Click through the link on the rebate site. It will take you to the shopping site.
  4. If the rebate site offers coupon codes, snag them.
  5. Shop as usual.
  6. Find a nice little rebate notice in your email telling you how much you get back. Cash it out at Christmas. You won’t get rich, but it does help fill a stocking or two.
  7. Share your referral link with your friends. If they sign up through your link, you each get a percentage back from their shopping.

Understand that the rebate site you use needs to be your most recent access to the site. In other words, if I go to Toys R Us from Mr. Rebates, then leave TRU and go back to it from, say, Retail-Me-Not (see below), I will not get my rebate. Retail-Me-Not will. Basically, just stay on task and on site and you’re good.

Search engine rewards.

The one I use is Swagbucks*. My hubby claims it’s not as good as Google, but it works fine for me. If it’s a deep research project I’m working on, I switch to Google…because, my hubby, you know.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up at Swagbucks*.
  2. Search as usual through the site; load their search bar on your computer to make this easy.
  3. Earn points called SB for, oh, about every fifth search. You can also do other things, like watch videos and take surveys for rewards, but my time is worth more than my SB, so I don’t usually do this. You can also shop through Swagbucks just like a rebate site, but I prefer the rebate sites…they’re prettier.
  4. Send your friends your link, because you earn SB for the their searches as well.
  5. Cash out rewards. I always cash out 450 points for a $5 Amazon gift card. It usually provides me about $30 each Christmas, which isn’t enough to buy the Taj Mahal, but seriously people, that’s a tomb, and where would I put it anyway?

Coupon Codes

Never shop without a coupon code! Mr. Rebates and Ebates often have coupon codes, but I also check Retail-Me-Not. Be aware that if you click through a site from Retail-Me-Not, they receive a rebate from the site.

How it works:

  1. Go there.
  2. Search for a store.
  3. Browse and select a coupon code.
  4. Click through the site and go shopping or grab the code and go back to your favorite rebate site and go shopping. (I like to thank them for their hard work by clicking through their link when they find me a nice juicy coupon code.)
  5. Insert the code at check-out. Sometimes the code is automatically inserted, but always check.

Walmart Price Match and Savings Catcher

You already know that Walmart matches prices, so get busy and get matching. The problem is, you are busy without the matching. Since they introduced their Savings Catcher program, price matching is a little easier (although not necessarily as effective).

Here’s what you do:

  1. Shop at Walmart.
  2. Sign up for a Savings Catcher account at Walmart.com*.
  3. Use your smartphone to scan the bar code or QR code at the bottom of your receipt. If you don’t have a smartphone, log onto your computer and type it in.
  4. In about three days, they’ll let you know whose prices won. Cash out. I save all my “winnings” and cash out when it’s time to do some Christmas shopping.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, but I know you have something up your sleeve.

I’d love to hear your secret little shopping tips! Share in the comments.

Photo Credit: David Porter (Text and screen mine)