This year has been a hard on on my family as well as many others. Due to the recession, the lack of credit available, and high costs of living, many families this year will have to go without the Christmas they’re used to. I have found many ways to stretch my dollar and thought it would be great to share them with you.
The one thing I’ve found over and over again is while most of my frugal was will save you money, they will not always save you time. Keep that in mind if you have a busy schedule, as you will have to properly budget your time. Otherwise you can end up staying up all night finishing last minute projects and end up with less then satisfactory results.
Look for websites that offer rewards. Swagbucks.com offers “swag bucks” when you use their google-like search engine. You don’t get swag bucks every time you search, but if you have the swag bucks toolbar your more likely to earn more swag bucks just because it’s so convenient to use! You can redeem your swag bucks for gift card, pay pal, or other prizes. There are also many survey websites that offer point systems or plain ‘ole cash for your time and effort.
Sell your old stuff, or trade it! I love using craigslist.org to put me in touch with people I can sell or trade my unwanted items to. I recently sold some of my son’s unwanted toys and was able to buy him new ones with the money. Also try posting in the ‘barter’ section to see if someone wants to swap their stuff with you.
Craft your way to the finish line! This year I used swag bucks.com to search for recipes to make lip balm, sugar scrubs, body butter, and other homemade goodies. I also found lots of cute sewing patterns to make everything from clothing to toys to purses. Remember, if you go this route, that you need to carefully calculate how much your spending and what it comes to per item. If you end up paying $1.50 for all the supplies needed to make a tube of lip balm, it’s not worth it when you can buy a 3 pack for $2.50 on sale. Watch your ‘unit price”.
Ready…Set…BAKE! My husband will take fudge over a pair of socks and tie any day. Seeing as it only costs me about $5 to make 2 batches of fudge, this is a real money saver. Also try making cookies, lollipops, hard candy, or even “Cookies in a jar”. Remember, swag bucks is your friend when it comes to recipe searches!
If all else fails…Try coupon shopping. My son has been after a pillow pet for a while now and I was able to get my coupons together and buy one for $1.25! For people whom I’d like to get gifts for, but aren’t close family (like my dental office) I went to the dollar store and bought several mugs, boxes of hot chocolate packets, and a bag of marshmallows. I divided the marshmallows into several cute plastic bags, put 2 packets of hot chocolate mix and the marshmallows in a cup, and tied a festive ribbon around it. For roughly $2 a person I made all the girls at the office squeal!