Thursday, July 28, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

I was just flipping through my Google Reader & came across a post telling me that I better get my butt in gear because Christmas is less than 5 months away. 

GASP! I panicked for a minute... then realized that 5 months is still a long time and it's nowhere near crunch time yet. 

But, since saving money usually means investing more time, we probably should all start working on a financial holiday game plan- at least in the back of our minds. I want to share with you some tips for how we will be saving on Christmas gifting this year:



I mentioned Ebates to you back in May and June, so I guess it's time for your monthly reminder!

If you haven't already heard of Ebates, its a websites that gives you cash back for purchases made online. First, you need to open a new account. Earlier this week, Ebates was giving new customers a $10 gift card to a selection of stores (such as Target) for registering & making a qualifying purchase. I make no promises since they reserve the right to cancel promotions at any time but I suggest you run over to Ebates now just in case!

After registering, simply go to Ebates before any online shopping and link through to your store of choice before purchasing. Then, Ebates gives you a cash rebate up to 25% of the purchase price! Since opening my account in May, I have already earned $32.45!

By clicking the Ebates logo above or any of the Ebates links (like this one: Ebates) I will receive credit for referring a friend to the site & would very much appreciate it!


Reward Credit Cards

The hubs and I have two credit cards that we use for most expenses and for which we earn rewards points. Right now we have a combined total of $170 in points on our two cards, which can be redeemed for cash, used for online purchases (at stores such as Amazon.com) or redeemed for gift cards at over 140 retailers. 

We have found this to be a great resource for gift buying in the past. We like to stockpile our points all year, which helps to lighten the blow that Christmas can have on our pockets. Fair warning, however, this option may not be the best for everyone! I like to put all expenses on our credit cards- from $5 for lunch to any utility bill that will accept a credit card payment. BUT, we also pay off both credit cards in full each & every month to avoid finance charges. If you don't think you can do this, chances are the additional finance charges will out weight whatever you would receive in points- making it a money loser!

I found this great resource online to help you find the reward earning credit card that is best for you. It's from NerdWallet.com and it offers a cool interactive tool that lets you set certain perimeters for your card, based on your credit score, how much on average you charge per month, and what types of purchases you most frequently make. Then, it does the calculations & makes recommendations for you, showing you how much in rewards you are likely to earn annually for each credit card. 


InboxPays

Inbox Pays takes a little time to start seeing the rewards, but it is a super easy way to make some extra spending money, especially if you are glued to your computer all day, every day like me!

Basically, Inbox Pays will send you a couple emails every day with special deals, promotions & advertisements. For starters, you will automatically receive $.05 - $.15 for each email you open. (And honestly, if you can tell in the first few seconds that it's not something you are interested in, you don't even have to read it.) Additionally, if the offer is something you want to take advantage of, you will receive additional money in your account for each offer. Offers will range from free credit reports/scores to online purchases to product surveys to refinancing opportunities. There is a different value assigned to each offer and you definitely get to pick & chose which you want to participate in. 

Once again, to be honest, I rarely participate in the offers & just take my $.30 or so cents everyday for reading the emails. It takes just a minute and I have thus far earned over $30. One downside to Inbox Pays is that you won't receive a check until your account hits $50, which could take the better part of a year.

I will also receive referral credit in my account if you sign-up by clicking on the banner above or one of the links. Right now Inbox Pays is offering a promotion giving you $5 in your account just for signing-up. That's a good jump start!


My Coke Rewards

If you drink Coke Zero, or any Coke product, obsessively like me, than you should definitely sign up for My Coke Rewards. MCR gives you points for entering codes found under the caps of 20 oz. bottles & 2 liters, as well as in 12 & 24 pack boxes. Once your points add up, you can redeem them for entries in sweepstakes, merchandise, coupons, gift cards, or donate your points to a cause of your choice.

I like to redeem my points for magazine subscriptions, because I found that they are often some of the best deals in the reward catalog. I also like to give & receive magazine subscriptions as gifts. For instance, I would LOVE to receive a subscription to Real Simple magazine for Christmas this year. (Hubs, are you reading?!?)


Those are a few of the ways I save money over the holidays. I would love to hear what other ways you save! Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at 2010housewife@gmail.com!

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