The holidays are right around the corner and if you haven’t started planning your holiday shopping list, now is the time.
One of the best ways to save on the holidays each year is to start budgeting and planning in January. Yes, I said January – the month after Christmas happens. This Christmas Savings Challenge is a great place to start.
Now, if you’re thinking, well I am late to the game and there is no way to go back now, I’ve got a plan for you…
How does free Christmas gifts every year sound to you? It sounds amazing, right?
Well, I am here to tell you that getting Christmas taken care of on a tight budget is completely possible and I do it every year. So, let’s get started.
How to Get Free Christmas Gifts Every Year
Now, before I share my secret with you, I want to say – getting free Christmas gifts is no easy thing. It does require some time, patience and effort on your part but the outcome is, you can get free or cheap gifts for everyone on your list that they will love and cherish for years.
Step One: Sign-up for all your favorite store reward programs
Just about every single retailer has some sort of a rewards program. Some are as simple as signing-up for email updates and others require you to create a free account and download their app or sign-up for text messages.
The bottom line here is, sign-up for every single one you know that you would want to shop at if you had the money to do so (think of places the people on your holiday shopping list would like too).
Pro tip: Create an email account for only things like this!
You can use this Birthday Freebies list as a great place to get started (plus, you’ll get something free on your birthday too).
Step Two: Watch your emails and text messages.
This is the fun part – you will begin getting all sorts of emails. Many will be things like 20% off or $10 off $30, etc. Those are not the coupons you want.
You want to keep your eye out for coupons/certificates such as “$10 reward” or “Free Panty” etc. These are those hidden gems people often scroll past.
For example, I signed-up for Torrid rewards program because I have a family member who likes shopping there. I get reward certificates all the time. In fact, a few weeks ago, I received a $10 reward.
The kicker here is – when you read the fine print, it says “$10 off $10 purchase” which in other words means you can get something for free.
Step Three: Use the rewards/coupons wisely.
This is the most important step in this entire process – use those discounts/coupons/promotions wisely.
Now, some people would look at a $5 coupon or $10 coupon and go, eh – that isn’t enough OR they will say, cool I save $10 off my purchase and go spend $100.
NO! That isn’t the way.
You go into that store shopping with ONLY that amount. Pretend that is the only thing in your wallet besides some pocket change.
For example, Michael’s craft store likes to give out $5 coupons all the time. It’s $5 off $5 purchase. So, you go into the store and only spend $5. They have tons of items that would make great stocking stuffers or small art kits for kids that would make great gifts.
If you’re using a reward on something somewhere like Torrid, check the clearance area, grab a t-shirt, some underwear, socks, etc.
Bath & Body Works sends out coupons for free lotions, wallflowers, etc. Those make great gifts for teachers and neighbors.
Victoria’s Secret sends out coupons for free panties. Great for teens or friends.
Often times you will leave only paying a few cents for tax (sometimes it zeros it out, each store is different).
Bottom line – you just got something for free or cheap.
Step Four: Use cash back extensions when shopping online.
One of my favorite ways that is free to earn rewards and make some extra cash is by utilizing cash back extensions. My favorite is the Capital One Shopping rewards extension. You earn cash back on purchases you make online just as long as you click that extension before shopping.
I just earned over $40 in free rewards just for using that extension for my online purchases. I then redeem these rewards for a free gift card I can use for Christmas presents!
Step Five: Utilize Credit Cards Wisely
If you are the type of person that likes to utilize credit cards to build your credit and rack in those rewards, this is a great way to get some holiday spending money.
Every month I use a variety of credit cards to pay for my monthly bills, groceries, gas, etc. and I use different cards for different reasons. I pay off the card every month (I budget this amount) but earn rewards using those cards.
For example, my credit union often runs promotions for 2X points for every $1 spent. During those months, I use that card and rack up points. I then use those points to redeem for gift cards for places like Target, Walmart, etc. and use that exclusively for gifts.
Some months my Capital One credit card runs promotions for 5% cash back so I use that card and then cash out the cash back and use it for gifts.
Sometimes places like JCPenney run promotions where if you spend a certain amount, you get a rewards certificate. I actually had $40 in certificates the other day and I used them all on gifts. I ended up getting a $40 LEGO set and $5 pants for less than $6 (I had to meet over the $50 in certificates to use them).
While that isn’t free, that still is an incredible deal, especially for a LEGO set that is to be a gift for my son.
You get the idea. The point is, you are already spending money on your bills, groceries, gas, etc. every month so you should be earning rewards on those purchases.
I know all of this may seem like a ton of work but once the offers start coming in and you start taking advantage of these things, you will see how easy it is to get a ton of Christmas gifts without the need to spend a lot of money.
Recap of Steps to Getting Free Christmas Gifts
- Sign-up for all the rewards programs you want.
- Watch for emails and texts.
- Only spend whatever that coupon/offer is and nothing more.
- Use cash back extensions when shopping online.
- Use cash back or reward earning credit cards to pay for your regular monthly expenses and use those rewards to get Christmas gifts.
- Smile and be happy you saved a ton of money and made Christmas happen on a budget.