Christmas! I love this time of year. It is truly magical… Those warm, glowing Christmas lights. The joy of cutting your own fresh Christmas tree and hanging ornaments that celebrate Baby’s 1st Christmas and 1st Year of Marriage. Christmas gifts, stockings full of surprises, the smell of cinnamon simmering in hot apple cider and the bustle of shopping for those you love.

Christmas Gifts

But that magic from this magical time of year can quickly get lost in the shopping and spending money and budgets and the STRESS of finding the perfect gift. Ugh, I am pulling out my hair! What if there is a better way? An easier way?  What if I told you there is a way to NEVER PAY FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS again?

I discovered a few years ago how to put the fun back into shopping for Christmas presents. You see, I found a way to pay little to NOTHING for gifts and this has sprinkled magic all over this season again.

Ok! So, these tips won’t allow you to not pay for presents this Christmas. But… if you start this today, by next Christmas you may never again pay for Christmas gifts. Here are my four tips to never pay for a Christmas gift again and take the stress out of Christmas shopping!

1. IBOTTA

I have used this app for several years now.  It is easy to navigate and pays YOU to shop! Who doesn’t love that?  I use it through the entire year by simply logging the items I buy from the stores that are listed in the app and scan the receipt. I literally log the purchases from the trunk of my car after I shop to make sure I get my money. On average, I earn between $100-$150 over a year using this app.  The money can be redeemed as gift cards from various stores (Amazon, Target, Walmart).

2. SHOPKICK

This app is so fun to use.  Be ready to participate in an adult version of hide and seek! The app pays me to scan products as I shop. I can earn more points if I buy the item, but simply scanning gets me $$$!!  I am also rewarded with points by just walking into a store. Collect points from walking into a store, scanning products or scanning the receipt for a product to earn gift cards. On average I earn $50 in gift cards over a year. 

3. RECEIPT HOG

This app could not be easier to use! I scan a receipt from a store I shop at and earn points. Keep shopping all year and scanning those receipt to earn points that can be redeemed as gift cards. This is a new app for me, but I am already up to $25!! 

4. TARGET HACKS

Red Card

This is not a plug for Target. Repeat: this is not a plug.  I shop mainly at Target because of the many different ways to save money. Get a Target Red Card that is linked to your bank account; it works exactly like a debit card.  You instantly save 5% on EVERY purchase, rather in store or online. Not to mention FREE SHIPPING on EVERY order!  

Wait for the Deals

Target is always having some type of deal around the holidays. They range from saving $10 when spending $50 to saving $25 when spending $100. I save the items I want to buy in my cart and WAIT! I bundle all my purchases together to save up to 25 percent. Then, I  use those gift cards I saved from Ibotta, Shopkicks or Recite Hog to pay for the purchase!

Buy in Bulk and Get Free Gift Cards

Target will often offer $5-$10 gift cards if you buy a certain amount of a product.  For example, I earned a free $10 card for buying 3 bottles of sunscreen this summer. Yes, it was a little painful to pay for three bottles all at once, but we used them and they gave me $10! I save all of these gift cards over the whole year to use at Christmas. I am currently at $100 in gift cards.

My Super Secret Saving Tip… Shhhhhhh….

I read an article about a year ago that Target offers lower prices online than in-store.  The idea behind this is a shopper is more committed to buy once they are in the store than when they are browsing online. I would say 80 percent of the time I shop, the item I purchase is cheaper online. So here is how to ALWAYS get that lower online price, even if you are in the store:

  • Download the Target app. Make sure your LOCATION is turned OFF! This is key!!! The app needs to think you are shopping solely online and are NOT in the store.  If the app picks up your location that you are in a store it will show you a different price. Crazy, right?
  • Scan every item you plan to buy with the app’s barcode scanner. When checking out, let the employee know you have a price match and show them the lower price on your app. I can not tell you how much money I have saved by just doing this. This makes me feel like a crazy smart shopper!

Happy Shopping for Christmas Gifts

Alright, is your head spinning? I know it sounds like a lot of work! But when I’m standing in line with a $200 purchase and I know not one pretty penny will leave my pocket, I know it is all worth it! I PLAN and SCAN and SAVE for a full year and it makes Christmas shopping so very fun and makes the smiles on those I love that much sweeter. 

Merry Christmas and MERRY Shopping!

What about you? Do you have any great tips for savings? Tell us!

Christmas Gifts
Photo Credit: Julia Young Photography
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Cascia
Cascia was born and raised in the Arizona heat. While receiving her Pre-Med degree at HIU in California, a blonde, surfing, skateboarding boy stole her heart. Although they both dream of having their toes in the salty California waters; they now call Colorado home with their 3 children (9, 6, 5) and their adorable cat named Turtle. They are busy enjoying all the new adventures and crazy weather patterns that Colorado Springs has to offer. Her family can often be found hiking (they just conquered the Crags!!), searching for any type of water to play in, enjoying a new farmer's market or just hanging in their backyard, tending to their garden. After 3 years as a SAHM, she is ready to get back out into the education world. Playing guitar, writing songs, and reading any and every parenting book helps keep her sane and happy! A good cup of coffee or a bubbly La Croix can usually be found in her hand! She is trying to live by the motto "I'd rather recover from failure than live with regret.

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