Dollars are tight, but there are still children and family to buy for this Christmas. Here are some tricks and tips that Geri and I have used this Holiday season to stretch our buying power this year. Some tips you may already know and love, but hopefully, others will inspire you to save greatness.

  1. Buy on Special Promotion Days: Even though we don’t think the deals were as good as last year, you still can save a lot by shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We also found that instead of standing in line at 3:00 in the morning to save money, the same deal can be had online in the comfort of your robe and slippers. Check online at 12 midnight on Black Friday day and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday).
  2. Check local Shopping Malls for giveaways: Our local shopping mall is giving away free gift cards to the first 200 people in line, plus extra coupons and contests. So for standing in line for a few minutes while enjoying each other’s company, Geri and I have received a free $10 Starbucks card, a free $20 movie theater card, a free $10 American Express card, and a free gift card to one of the local restaurants. It’s fun and free, and any of these make nice gifts.
  3. Clip those coupons and free money coupons: I’ve found many coupons this year, including quite a few for $10 off any purchase. Of course, they want you to spend more than $10, but if you limit yourself, you can get out of the store for free or nearly free. Some want you to sign up for their emails, so open a second email for “junk” mail, but be sure to look for your emailed coupons. This year, I’ve bought the following for little to no money:
    • JC Penney: radio-controlled toy helicopter (normally $40, on sales for $20, bought for $10 using a free $10 coupon)
    • JC Penney: men’s argyle vest (normally $45, on sale for $18, used a 15% off coupon any purchase, and used a free $10 off any purchase.)
    • Kohl’s: 4 pretty cloth napkins (on sale for $2 each, used a free $10 off any purchase to get the items for free)
    • Victoria Secret: got a free bottle of perfume (full size; priced $9.50) for no money using a free $10 off any purchase
    • Victoria Secret: got a free panty with a free panty coupon
  4. Buy promotional gift cards: Many local stores and restaurants have a deal going. For example, get a free $20 gift card with $100 purchase. Or a free $10 with a $50 purchase. If you would normally shop there anyway, it’s a smart thing to do. Every year, my husband and I meet with 2 other couples for a New Year’s Eve dinner at our favorite restaurant, so I buy their Buy $100/Get $20 Free promotion cards, then use it to pay for our dinner, and have some leftover.
  5. Check for “Going out of Business” sales: This year, our local Restoration Hardware and Ann Taylor Loft are closing. As I hate to see them go, I snagged some very nice gifts for 50% off their sale prices. I bought a pretty, long necklace that was original $50 for $6.
  6. Shop your local thrift stores: Don’t be ashamed to give a new or nearly new item from the thrift store. I recently found a like-new Coach purse in an adorable style, and bought it for under $25!
  7. Shop your stash: Many of us have lovely gifts stashed away that we never gave out. Shop here first and save! Read my other blog post: Use Your Gift Stash First
  8. Shop the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day: Also be sure to check back within the weeks after the New Year since many stores drastically slash prices to clear out merchandise…many times up to 90% off. Just hang on to your great finds for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, or next Christmas.