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Around the holidays, all the extra expenses begin to pop up. All the gifts, the extra food, new decorations, holiday outfits, Christmas cards…the list goes on. Here’s how we prepared and made it through the holidays debt free and you can too.
Each year, Christmas seems to sneak up on us and be here before we’re ready to let summer go. A few years ago, we would never prepare ourselves financially for the added Christmas expenses and be left with very little to put into savings for a couple of months.
I decided we were no longer going to have that problem. We made a budget for Christmas expenses and started earning extra cash through out the year to cover the Christmas budget. Instead of having to dip into any of our regular income, we’ve been able to cover Christmas with the extra cash. We used simple ways to earn extra money throughout the year to build up our savings.
This year, we have $1,037.82 in our Christmas budget to spend on gifts, outings, cards, pictures, food, decorations, and anything else that may come up.
Here’s how we are having a debt-free holiday (plus bonus ways that we do but use the extra money elsewhere)
1. Kids Consignment Sales
This year, I only participated in one sale but was able to bring in $460.25. It did require effort on my part, but I love participating in the consignment sales to get rid of all the old kids stuff we don’t need anymore and bring in extra money in the process.
I can not say enough good things about Ibotta. If you aren’t using it with all your purchases, you are missing out on easy money.
Ibotta is an app to scan your grocery receipts and earn extra money back on things you already buy anyway. It’s a great way to earn extra money and watch your savings stack up.
I cash out yearly on December 1st through Paypal to use towards Christmas expenses. This year, I’ve brought in $296.75 plus my husband cashed out at $22.00 and leaves it to me to scan the receipts.
I’ve always used Ebates for any online purchase I make, especially hotel stays! Ebates is an easy way to earn cash back throughout the holiday season on any gifts you may choose to purchase for others or yourself!
This year, I brought in $156.68. I could have earned more on my online purchases but I didn’t download the Ebates extension onto my Chrome browser so that it automatically detects if a site offers an Ebates rebate. I wish I had downloaded it sooner so that I wouldn’t have missed out on additional money!
4. Walmart Savings Catcher
This works well if you do a lot of your shopping at Walmart. We buy our groceries at Walmart using their grocery pickup.
Every time we shop there, I make sure to scan my receipt through their Walmart App (they have a section for the savings catcher) and they’ll search for better advertised deals in my area. If any of the competitors had a better deal on a product I purchased, they’ll refund me the money.
I can choose to cash out right away for a Walmart gift card or can wait to cash out.
This year, I brought in $102.14 so far with our purchases.
I love using Swagbucks. We use our Swagbucks earnings for a different savings, not towards Christmas.
Swagbucks is an easy way to earn points towards gift cards by watching movies, shopping, completing surveys, searching the internet, or trying out their offers. (I received 3000 points ($30.00) just for trying out Hulu for a free trial)
I also compare the offers with Swagbucks and Ebates when I’m shopping to see who will give me the most money back. Sometimes Swagbucks will beat out Ebates by a few dollars and vice versa. So far, I’ve earned 19,913 SBs ($199.13) and my husband has earned 8,869 SBs ($88.69) and counting since July.
Inboxdollars is similar to Swagbucks in how to earn. You can earn multiple ways. Mostly, I watch the videos to earn extra money.
It has been an easy way to earn some extra money. Since July, I have cashed in 1 check for $40 and am at $27.23. The downfall of Inboxdollars is that you need to wait to cash out until at least $30, but you don’t have to pay any fees if you wait until $40.
7. Checkout 51
This is a bonus one. Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta where you scan your receipt and you can get rebates for products you already buy. I don’t use this one as often, but it is worth having on your phone to see if you can get extra money from a product or two that you’ve purchased.
You can start earning now too! Sign up for all the companies I mentioned and make sure to use them! (I just purchased prescription glasses online and didn’t even think to check Ebates first, but sure enough, Ebates offered rebates on purchases through the company I bought my eyeglasses from!) Come next Christmas, you’ll be so glad you began saving/earning money now!