Simply Things That Can Save You Money, and How to Live a Frugal Life

Some of society’s most asked questions are centered around money. Everyone wants to make more of it, and everyone wants advice on how to spend it when you have it, and how to spend it when you don’t. “What are some simple things that can save me money?” “What can I do to decrease my spending?” “How do I live a more frugal lifestyle without living like I’m broke?” It’s really what we all want, right? We want to find ways to save our coins, and fill our pockets. If saving money were really that easy, we would all be doing it though, right? Saving money takes discipline, time, and dedication that not everyone just has. It’s all a learning process.

Living a more frugal life doesn’t have to be a ton of drab lifestyle changes, in fact, a few small tweaks and you can be on your way to adjusting. Being frugal can very much still be fabulous, and you won’t even have to always feel like you’re giving up the things that you love. I want to share some pretty simple ways to save. Things that don’t take a lot of effort, just a few self-reminders along the way to keep you on track, and before you know it, you’ll realize that frugal can be fabulous too!

• BE CONTENT
A great way to get on the road to saving is learning to be content. Everyone driving an expensive car, and wearing expensive things is NOT secretly rolling in money. The first thing you need to do is learn to be content, and be happy with the things that you already have, instead of keeping up with other people, or always feeling like you “need” more.
Decrease Your Expenses
Another part of being content is decreasing your expenses. When you’re trying to figure out what you can cut back on in your budget, or things that you can get at a cheaper rate, it’s easier to start on your variable expenses first. These will be expenses that vary month to month, your things that may or may not be essential. You have to decide what you’re ready to let go of, and what you really need. I talk more about this in my How to Create a Household Budget.

• Get Out Of Debt
Debt will hold you back for as long as you have it! Having debt means that you have money going out that you could be using to save, or put towards things that you really need. A good way to work towards spending less money, is to free up the money that you’re already spending. Plus, nobody wants to have crazy debt! *Inserts a double thumbs down*

Buy your needs not your wants
Before making purchases, ask yourself if it’s a need or a want. Mind over matter. You need food, water, clothing, shelter. BUT, do you need a meal from a fancy restaurant vs eating at home? Do you need name brand, all the time? Do you need the home with more square feet than you need, and all of the bells and whistles that you really can’t afford at the time? NO, probably not.

• 24 hour Wait Period, No Spend Periods
Start to make conscious decisions with your spending. If you can decide if something is an actual need or a want, give yourself a 24 hour wait period of time before making a purchase. If after 24 hours you still feel like you need it, then you can reconsider. You can also try NO spend periods, where you consciously decide to spend no extra money outside of necessities and household expenses. I attempt to keep up with doing this at least one week out of the month. No eating out, no outside fun and activities that cost money, and absolutely no extra shopping. I find that as time goes on, it gets easier and easier to concur a no spend period. If you’re new at this, first try to get through a weekend without spending, then increase it to a week, then maybe even longer.

• Carry Cash and Save Your Change
I don’t know if this is a frugal tip, or more of a money saving tip. I read all of the time how swiping a card lessens your attachment to your money. I’ve tried it, the whole carrying around only cash thing and let me tell you, it worked for me. I didn’t want to spend 5 dollars, let alone 20 dollars. I couldn’t bear to let precious green friends slip through my fingers! It was terrible. Also while using cash, it was easier for me to keep my change for savings. It’s crazy just how quickly change can add up when you save it and let your savings grow.

• Buy Used Cars
This isn’t always an ideal tip, and sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but if you can, buy used and save and pay for your cars in CASH. It’s no secret that cars lose value as soon as you drive them off of the lot. It sounds nice to have the car with all of the bells and whistles, but not so nice to have all of the debt that comes along with it. I’ve had both a car with a car payment, and a car that we bought used and paid cash for. Surprisingly, guess which one gave me more trouble in a 3 year span? Used does not always mean unreliable, and it doesn’t always mean old and broken down. Learning to love your used car that might be a year or so behind is all a part of my first tip. Be content.

• Learning to Coupon and Stockpile
Couponing isn’t some brand new frugal secret, it’s actually been around for what seems like forever. However, it’s no secret that couponing has recently gotten a face lift and a little bit of revamped popularity. There are resources everywhere to learn and start, FREE resources. You can find information online in blogs, there are Facebook groups that you can join, or you can even ask a coupon savvy friend if you have one. Once you get the hand of it, stockpiling will soon become your new best friend.

• Money = Time, and Time is Money
Being frugal is all about your mindset. Being frugal is about learning to value your money, and living and learning to live on less. Like I said before, everyone wants to make more money, and everyone wants advice on how to spend it when you have it, and how to spend it when you don’t, but nobody ever asks how to value whatever amount that you have. Start to think of your money like this, time is money, and money is time. Before you’re making an impulse purchase, think about just how long and hard you had to work to afford it. Say you’re buying yet another pair of shoes that would end up costing you like $50. If you’re making $20 an hour, then those shoes just cost you 2 ½ hours of your time. Suppose you make even less, at $10 an hour, those shoes just cost you 5 hours of your time.

I hope you found these easy tips helpful to you. Changing your lifestyle will always become a trial and error situation, but the longer you work at it the easier it will become. I wish you nothing but luck on your fabulously frugal journey. It will take time and adjustments, and it won’t always be easy.

Be sure to check out my pinterest boards for fabulous penny pinchers like yourself for tips, tricks, and inspiration here.

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My Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

My Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Christmas Shopping - Chic and Domestic

 

It’s holiday time again! So that means I get to share my top 5 ways to save money on Christmas shopping. Christmas time means days of holiday cheer, Christmas carols, and unfortunately a million and one ways to quickly see your money disappear. You don’t want to be that person, because nobody wants to be that person! You want to be both fabulous, and frugal for the holidays, and hold on to every penny that you can while also enjoying the season of giving.

This week I’ve teamed up with a few other ladies to discuss some Frugal Christmas topics. Karen from My Veteran Woman Life  shared her own Top Holiday Shopping Hacks. Be sure to head over and check them out.

So, here they go, My top 5 ways to save money on your Christmas Shopping.

1. Budgeting and Planning
If you know me, you know that I’m big on budgeting. It’s important to know where all of your money is going by having a plan, and budgeting for what you can afford to spend on certain things. Get an idea together of what it is you want to spend on your holiday shopping BEFORE you start. I go into a full breakdown of budgeting and planning in my previous Christmas post.

2. Limiting your gifts
Something I’ve decided to stick to for our kids is limiting the amount of gifts we buy them. This year, I also plan to implement this rule for gifting to other people. Our kids are still young now, but I also think I plan to keep up with this in the future. It’s so easy to want to buy every toy in the store, but what you end up with after gift opening is an overflowing toy box. I’ve seen a lot of people choose to buy their children 4 special gifts for the categories of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

3. Make your own gifts and get creative
I love Christmas gifts with sentimental value, and there’s nothing more sentimental than something you handmade yourself. This is also great time to learn a new skill, or really get creative. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas and inspiration. Maybe you can crochet a scarf or blanket, and if crafty and hands on really isn’t your thing, you can never go wrong with a framed photo. Our family members love getting framed Christmas photos of the kids for the holidays. All you need is a good camera (I’ve taken some great photos with my phone), get your photos printed (Drugstores with photo centers, Target, Walmart, and apps like Free Prints), and a fancy frame. Frugal Tip, start your search at the dollar store.

4. Rebates
A real hardcore shopping tip. Expert shoppers, DO NOT pay full price. For anything. My favorite rebate for shopping is definitely Shopkicks. It’s basically free money for shopping and spending money you would already normally spend, and they also give you the opportunity to get points for gift cards by simply walking into the store! If you use my code [MALL659750] you can get a free 250 kicks for using the app within 7 days of joining. Another great rebate tool is Ebates. If you aren’t hip to ebates, its time to get hip. It can save you so much money on your regular shopping needs. They have a ton of stores, and coupon options to not only save your money, but you also get cash back for the money you’ve saved! If that’s not Christmas savings, I don’t know what is.

5. Do your research
Last but certainly not least, the best way to find savings for Christmas is to look for savings. How do you know that it’s not possible to get a better deal without looking for a better deal? I like to check the price tag at several stores before buying gifts. It usually consists of me checking the store that would most likely carry what I’m looking for, checking amazon (I love that prime member 2 day free shipping!) and Walmart or Target. Doing my research for sales also gives me room to find good rebate options to use. For example, if a $50 video game is on my shopping list, I would probably check somewhere like Gamestop first, and then compare prices online. Being the expert shopper that I am, I would take that knowledge and buy from the store that would save or make me the most money.

I know that Christmas shopping can possibly be one big stressful headache, but by utilizing these tips, money and saving will be the least of your worries!

*DISCLAIMER. This post contains affiliate links or special codes.

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How to Create a Household Budget

Creating a budget that works for you, Where to start, and What it takes to make it last.

With the start of a new month, it feels like the perfect time for a fresh start with everything. It’s like a breath of fresh air. A clean slate. Maybe last month your finances weren’t quite where you wanted or needed them to be. That’s fine, no problem. That just means it’s time to create a household budget that you can stick to.

Most people think budgets suck! “Eww, what’s a budget?” “Budget? HA. We’re too rich for a budget.” WRONG. No matter how much money you have coming in, if you can’t account for every dollar you’re spending, you probably either aren’t spending it wisely, or you my friend are more than likely spending money that you don’t really have. Instead of viewing budgeting as a negative thing, view it as more as a critical tool to help you reach your financial goals.

Your finances are extremely important, but budgeting can, and more than likely will be a trial and error experience. What works for you may not work for someone else. Everyone’s pennies are different, and everyone’s expenses vary. The only things that will be the same for everyone is that everyone will have expenses. Unless of course, you’re just living off of the land, creating your own textiles, sewing your own clothes, and walking or riding a bike wherever you need to travel. And, everyone will need some sort of income to pay those expenses.
Now is the perfect time, now more than ever, to find what works for you and really start to concur your finances.

What a Budget Does

Budgets give you the tools you need to plan for how you will be spending over a period of time (usually month to month), how you can or will be saving over a period of time, and it can also be used to keep track of your spending patterns so you can start to see exactly where your money goes.

Where to Start

For most people, finances are scary, but it’s vital to keep your financial house in order. At some point, you need to think of your family finances like a business. You need to be detailed, accurate, and as thorough as possible. If you have your last 2 or 3 months of income statements, bank statements, or copies of your bills, start there. Gather this information to review so you can get a better idea of your average income, and expense numbers.

1. Record your average monthly income
Record the average monthly take home pay for your household. This is where being detailed and thorough comes in handy. If you have your last few paystubs or bank statements, this should help to give you an average number of what you’re bringing home per week, biweekly, or monthly. Use this to determine what your total monthly income number is, because this is what you’ll be using for your budgeting since you’re recording expenses on a monthly basis.

2. Create a list of household expenses
Now that you have a clear idea of what money you have coming in, create a list of household expenses. Everything that you can think of. Don’t just include household bills, (mortgage payment, car payments, auto insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment) and then forget to include expenses like your actual household items. Cleaning supplies, sponges, rags; if you change them out monthly, toilet paper, paper towels, all of these things are also considered household expenses, because these are things that you will inevitably need in your home every month.

3. Categorize your list of household expenses
Separate your expenses into two categories: fixed and variable. Your fixed expenses will be the things that stay relatively constant each month. Things that are usually a requirement to your everyday living like, rent or mortgage, car payment, cable/ internet, credit card payments if you have them. You won’t really find these expenses sporadically changing.
Variable expenses are your expenses that may change from month to month. Items like gas, groceries, entertainment, and even your grooming (hair, nails, haircuts) budget. These expenses may or may not be essential to your everyday living, but these are normally the things that are easiest to make changes when in need of cutting back.

4. Total your monthly income and expenses
After totaling both your income and expenses, you should have an end result that shows more income than expenses. This means that you’re bringing in an adequate amount of income to cover your monthly expenses. Pat yourself on the back, that’s great! This means that you can start using your excess money to use for a designated savings of your choice, and or extra splurges and entertainment. If your results show that your expenses are higher than your income, no worries. This just means that you’ll have to do some adjusting to your budget and expenses.

5. Make adjustments to your budget
If you have accurately listed all of your expenses, the end goal should be having your income and expenses either be equal, or have an increase in your income amount. If you happen to have increase in your expense number, you should look at your list of variable expenses first to either decrease costs, or cut them all together. You currently can’t afford it. Since these expenses are typically non-essential, it should be easy to find ways to bring you closer to your income number, whether that be decreasing your grocery budget, finding a cheaper hairstylist, or decreasing how often you’re getting your nails done. Another great thing to look out for when decreasing expenses would be things gym memberships and subscription services.

6. Review your budget (Trial and Error)
Now that you’ve created your budget, here is when the trial and error comes in. It’s important to go back and review your budget, weekly to make sure that you’re staying on track with expenses and saving, but you should also look over your budget again after your first official month using it. Sit down and compare what you planned for expenses, versus what you actually spent. This will help to show you where you did well, and where you might need to make improvements. If there is a large difference between what you expected and the reality, then you might need to increase your budgeted expenses accordingly. If there is a slight difference, that’s still okay. Trial and error. Just work harder throughout the next month to stay within budget. Soon you’ll be budgeting and spending like a pro!

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20 Ways To Save On Your Groceries

20 Ways To Save On Your Groceries - Chic and Domestic

I’ve notice that out of all of the widely discussed financial subjects, the cost of groceries seem to come up time and time again. The conversation usually consist of the many ways to decrease a household budget. Even more importantly, the various ways to decrease a household grocery budget. The grocery budget alone is usually one of the largest household bills for a family. The larger your family, the larger the budget. When you get fed up with spending SO MUCH on food, I mean really fed up with not fully maximizing your savings, you start to take certain steps to attempt to decrease your budget. I’m here to tell you a few things that you could try if you aren’t trying them out already, and do not forget that every penny counts when we’re talking about saving money!

1. Make a Grocery List
Never walk into the grocery store without a list. No matter how good you think you are at just grabbing and going. You. Are. Not. You’re grabbing things without a plan, and when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The times that I didn’t come into the store, list in hand, were the times that I got home thinking that we were having burgers for dinner, only to realize that I grabbed everything but the meat, or everything but the buns to put them on.

2. Stick to one day of grocery shopping
Spending less time in the grocery store, means spending less money in the grocery store. This is where that handy dandy grocery list comes in, because you won’t come home to see that you’ve forgotten something. Having to come back leads you to not only have to take a second round trip to the grocery store, but possibly come home with a little bit more than you needed.

3. Stay away from inner aisles
This is a great rule to live by if you’re trying to eat healthier, but also a good rule to follow when you’re trying to save money. Inner aisles carry a lot of processed food of course, but it also carries a lot of things that you can save money on and make yourself.

4. Become a store rewards member
Remember what I said that every penny counts when you’re trying to save money. Invest your time in filling out one of those quick little store slips, and activate a member rewards card. Instant savings! Kroger does Friday freebie offers for rewards members, so does Farm Fresh if you have their store app. That’s money you can possible save right there. Being a rewards member also puts you up for store savings, and sales that are exclusive to rewards members. Imagine coming in to catch a sale, and getting extra money off just for scanning your card.

5. If you can, grow your own
This is a hit or miss. Not everyone has the option, and not everyone has a green thumb to grow an entire garden full of produce. I’m not naturally a person with a green thumb. I ultimately suck at keeping things alive. Baby steps are important, so if you decide to try this route, take your time and start an herb garden first, and then start to expand with some of your favorites veggies in a small garden.

6. Use coupons, Don’t use coupons
If you’re a coupon addict, use them! Of course it saves you money. Learning to coupon can be extremely beneficial for grocery savings. BUT, don’t fall into a coupon trap and start to buy things that you probably won’t use, or things that you wouldn’t normally need. Even when you’re saving with a coupon deal, you’re wasting when it later sits and collects dust in your pantry.

7. Utilize your rebates
Along with coupons, utilize your rebate apps. I’m HUGE on my rebate apps. I receive money for basically buying things that I would normally be walking into the store to buy. It’s great! My go to favs are Ibotta (Use my referral code niqaqku to receive $10 just to try the app) Mobi Save, and Checkout 51 are great too. You’re able to cash out and receive cash or gift cards for your purchases.

8. When in Walmart, Use Savings Catcher
I’m a Walmart girl all the way, so when I shop there I always remember to use my savings catcher app. Walmart takes pride in their super low prices, so with the savings catcher app, you just scan your receipt and it checks for lower prices in your area. If a store has lower advertised prices, then you’ll receive the difference to your Savings Catcher app. You can easily cash out onto a Bluebird card (My preference) or Walmart Pay to utilize in store and online at Walmart.

9. Don’t be afraid of Generic
Not everything needs a name brand. I like to splurge on little things that I like here and there just as much as the next person, but is it really worth it to buy the name brand box of pasta that’s significantly higher than the generic store brand? I buy generic whenever I can if it saves me a few dollars. Sometimes stores even give you extra rewards perks for buying their store brand products!

10. Stay away from convenience
Convenience meals are great for convenience, my husband isn’t a huge cook so I do still keep a few things for him to just pop in the oven and eat. As far as being mindful of what I’m spending, I stay away from those easy convenience meals as much as possible. That can easily eat up your money, they aren’t always the healthiest, and Meal Prepping and making your own to store or freeze for later probably tastes 10 times better than anything from the freezer aisle.

11. Scan the shelves, REALLY scan the shelves
Companies and brands actually pay for their shelf positions. Grocery stores tend to place more expensive items on the shelves at an eye level position for us to see first. It’s so important to scan the shelves for the items that you’re looking for that might come at a cheaper price point.

12. Rain Checks
I feel like a lot of people don’t utilize rain checks, or even know that rain checks are a thing. Stores will give you sort of an IOU if a sale item is sold out at the time so you can come back later and receive it.

13. Consider keeping your children home (If possible)
As a mother, ohhhh YES your kids will absolutely add to your grocery budget! Especially if you have multiple children. They ask for things, then the other one asks for things, and sometimes “No.” isn’t as easy as it should be. If you have kiddos with the “Oohs and Ahhs” syndrome, then when it is an option, shop alone.

14. Ditch the packaged spice mix
I know some people live for buying packaged spice mixes for convenience. They can be great for a new flavor that you just want to try out, but truth be told, it’s more beneficial to just whip up your own with the spices from your cabinet. Instead of using that one package of taco seasoning, you could have bought cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mixed your own. It also gives you variety for when it’s time to season other dishes at a later date.

15. Shop your circulars
By checking your weekly circulars, you can buy according to sales items. If you don’t get the newspaper, or if you’re more of a digital person, the Retale app is great! It will basically do everything for you. It shows you all of the weekly ads from your local grocery stores (any stores actually!) It lets you figure out where to get the best deal on items that you’re looking for. While youre browsing the ads, you can actually click the items that you’re interested in and add them to your shopping list. It also puts you in place to find store coupons, add your rewards card numbers right into the app, and add your own clipped coupons all within this one app.

16. Scan sales first, meal plan second
It’s beneficial to scan circulars for what’s on sale FIRST, before planning out what you’ll be cooking for the week. Instead of planning for beef this week, plan for chicken, because chicken is what’s actually on sale.

17. Meal plan in general!
Meal Planning, Meal Planning! If you aren’t already hip to meal planning, it’s time to GET HIP. Knowing what you’re eating ahead of time means less time in the grocery store, less time worrying about what’s for dinner, and less money spent on groceries that end up going to waste. Check out Meal Planning 101 for some tips and tricks to get yourself started.

18. Know the average cost to properly compare costs
It’s VERY important to know what the average costs are for your regularly purchased household items. How will you know you’re really getting a deal, or maximizing your savings if you don’t know what you regularly spend? I currently don’t, but I plan to try to start keeping my own running list of prices in my family budget binder.

19. If it’s on sale and you’ll use it, BUY IT
There’s nothing wrong with stocking your kitchen! (Within reason of course) If you happen to catch a good sale on your family’s favorite kinds or brands of meat, or even canned goods, buy them. If it’s something that you know you’ll utilize, it will not go to waste.

20. Proper Food Storage
A great way to make sure that you aren’t wasting money on groceries, is to learn how to properly store your food. I’ve had my share of trial and error with accidentally freezing my lettuce in my refrigerator (Oops!), and within a day or so my half eaten head of lettuce had to go in the trash. What a waste! Make sure you’re storing things in the proper places and in the proper temperatures to prolong the life of your groceries.

I hope some of these things were helpful to you. Don’t let that grocery budget kick your butt forever. Every penny saved is a big deal. Even if you can only start one of these tips before your next grocery trip, do it. Start small, and watch your wallet thank you.

20 Ways To Save On Your Groceries - Chic and Domestic
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Saving Money and Headache This Christmas Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most stressful! That’s right, I’m obviously talking about Christmas. Yes, I very well do know what month it is, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead. In fact, I like to get my act together 2 to 3 months in advance. Hence, the reason for this post. Christmas talk always comes early in my house, and for good reason. I’ve always been a huge plan in advance type of girl, and now being a parent has taken that into overdrive. My littles are still young, so I luckily don’t have the headache of hunting for Christmas list “must haves” that happen to land on every child’s wish list that year, but we all know just how busy the holiday season can get in general. I hate fighting other people, especially other parents for a parking space, aisle space, the last items on the shelves; it gets ridiculous! If I can save myself a little bit of headache, and a little bit (or a lot) of money, then of course I’ll jump at the chance to do that. So, here is my list of things that I’ve tried, and things that help me mentally and financially get ready for the holiday chaos.

• Saving VS Borrowing
Let’s start here by saying that you should NOT go broke for Christmas. Don’t let the season of giving overwhelm you, and have you giving too much of what you don’t have. Christmas should be saved and planned for, ensuring that you have a designated budget just for enjoying your holiday season. Start early, set your savings goal, and try your best to stick to it!

• Make a list of who you’re buying for
I’m big on giving, especially when I’m in the holiday spirit. It’s important that you know in advance who you plan to buy for this year. Maybe in your home you only buy for close family (Spouse, Children) or maybe you also do extended family (Spouse, Children, Parents, Nieces and Nephews) Maybe you also go so far as to join in on secret Santa at the office, and other Christmas gift exchanges, and all of this needs to be planned for. KNOW who you’re purchasing for this year to help you plan accordingly.

• Create a budget
One of the most crucial parts of not overspending with anything, is creating an allocated budget for everything. Once you decide who you plan to purchase gifts for, it’s time to start thinking about just how much you want to spend on gifts. It’s better to do this before getting everyone’s Christmas wish list, because it will be based on what you want to spend, and not what you feel like you have to spend. Plan for what you can afford, and not for what you desire. On average, your largest purchases go to your close family, but if you normally partake in giving outside of close family, you should also plan a budget for those gifts as well.

Once you’ve found a magic number to reach for your larger purchases, save towards reaching those goals first. Save weekly, or biweekly (Whatever fits you personally) and remember to be consistent. When you’ve taken care of saving for the priority of your budget, you should then start putting aside money for your extra gifts (teacher gifts for your kids, classroom goodies) or gift exchanges, and it also gives you a cushion if you do decide to splurge on something special for someone. At least you’ll know you aren’t cutting into your budget from some of your other household finances. As time goes on, and you’re weeks closer to really getting in the Christmas spirit (obviously not in the month of September) once you start getting a better view of what all you’ll be wrapping up, you should start planning what you’ll be spending on bows, wrapping paper, gift wrapping services, or gift bags because this too is an expense that should be budgeted for.

• Purge your old belongings
This can be done however far in advance you’d prefer, but when you’re getting into the mode of giving new, why not purge the old first. This can be useful to do for many reasons. I like to do it to actually make room for new things to come into our home, to possibly find things to sell for some extra money, and to also be able to give to those in need. Out with the old, and in with the new! Throw away any old and broken toys or damaged clothes, and donate any toys or clothing in decent condition. It is fun to get and give shiny new things for Christmas, but it’s important to remember that it’s not all of what Christmas is about. Spread some holiday cheer and give to someone in need.

• Buy gift cards
Buying small gift cards (But GOOD gift cards) is also a good way to save yourself some headache when it comes to saving and giving. I’ve found it to be a cool way to “save” a portion (a small portion) of my Christmas budget, because I’m a lot less likely to dip into my gift card savings. When it’s finally time to start shopping, you can use your gift cards that you purchased to places like Target, Walmart, or any of your local department stores to either purchase actual gifts and wrapping paper, or to give the gift cards as a gifts themselves. Just make sure to keep track of their totals by either buying gift card holders to write on, or adding your gift cards to envelopes and labeling them for better organization.

• Utilize Rebates and Online Membership Offers
My faaavorite way to save money and make money to use for Christmas shopping, is utilizing rebate apps and online membership offers. Ebates is great for saving money on your online purchases, and we all know that online shopping can possible be more convenient than in store shopping during the holiday season. I also use Shopkicks for an easy way to basically get free money towards store gift cards. It saves me a ton throughout the year, but right about now I like to save up my points for larger gift cards. How it works is, you basically receive “kicks” for simply walking into the store, or making purchases that you would be making anyway. If you’re interested in trying it out, you can also use my code (MALL659750) to earn yourself 250 easy kicks to get started! For my wrapping paper and stocking stuffer gifts, I normally use my accumulated savings catcher money. If you’re a Walmart shopper and you haven’t gotten hip to savings catcher, you’re completely missing out. Just shop how you normally would, and remember to scan your receipt when you’re done. If another local store has lower prices on any of the items you’ve purchased, you receive the difference to your savings catcher app, and redeem your money through Walmart pay, or a Bluebird card (My personal preference)

• Don’t fall for black Friday and Cyber Monday “Deals”
Black Friday is great, BUT, not every deal will be a deal on black Friday. It’s important to be strategic with your purchasing, and really track the average pricing of the items you plan to buy. Just because it has a red tag, doesn’t mean it’s really a red tag deal. I’ve seen people feel like they have to splurge and spend all of their money on that particular day, and in reality they only save about $10.

• Utilize free shipping
Last but certainly not least, when you plan to do online shopping, it’s beneficial to make larger purchases to qualify for free shipping. Also, if you aren’t already an Amazon Prime member, holiday time is the BEST time to invest in a membership. Sometimes it’s also possible to receive discounts on prime memberships that are worth looking into.

Saving Money and Headache This Christmas Season - Chic and Domestic
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