Sunday, July 9, 2017

How I Pay for Christmas (without spending any extra money)

I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time.  I'm not sure why it took me so long, but here it is.

While my husband was building his business, money was tight.  Like SUPER tight.  As in I had to raid my children's piggy banks to scrounge up enough money to buy bread and milk (don't worry.  They've been paid back - with interest).  That Christmas was so incredibly stressful for me; trying to figure out how to provide a magical holiday with zero funds.  However, I managed to have a normal Christmas without spending ANY extra money (and I still do Christmas the exact same way!). Let me tell you how.

There are a few money saving/earning apps I use religiously.  I started using these apps and opened a new PayPal account that I don't use for anything else.  The money saved/earned from these apps goes directly into that PayPal account, where I save it all up and use it for my holiday spending.  Now.  I know it doesn't earn any money in PayPal, but I found it the easiest way to stash it, forget about it and not have direct access to it.

Here are my go-to apps/websites:

Ibotta*.  Ibotta is simply a coupon app that gives you money back for specific purchases you make at pretty much any grocery store/drug store/etc.  You can also earn money back from movie tickets, online purchases and eating out.  You can also earn bonuses based on a) how many coupons you redeem and b) how much money you save alongside any friends you have on your "team" (i.e. friends  you have who also use the app).  My first year using the app I saved over $200.00.

Ebates*.  Ebates is another site that gives you cash back on purchases made online.  Depending on the website and the day, you get anywhere from 1% to 10% of your purchase back.  Obviously, I buy a LOT of fabric.  Luckily, one of my vendors is a partner with Ebates.  So every fabric purchase I make with them gives me 3% back.  Hotels.com, Walmart, Etsy, Ebay...all websites that partner with Ebates.  It's super easy to use and the money can add up quickly.  I've also earned well over $200.00 on Ebates.

WalMart Savings Catcher. Rumor has it that this might be going away.  I don't know if it's just the in store matching that they're doing away with, or the entire program.  But.  Until then, I keep on going!  All you have to do is download their app and scan your Walmart receipt after every trip.  They do the rest!  Any money you saved (by price matching the ads of all nearby competitors) is then transferred to an American Express Bluebird card or use it with Walmart pay.  I save up all those savings and don't touch them until the end of the year.  I easily have enough each December to cover all the little stocking stuffers and candy for my 3 kiddos and my husband.

Acorns.  This one is brand new to me, but I'm excited to see how it does!  Simply link any accounts that you'd like and Acorns rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves that pocket change for you.  Once you hit $5.00 (less than a day for me!), you can start investing it.  One of my friends saved $1500.00 his first year.  I saved $100 in my first 30 days, so I have high hopes for this addition to my holiday savings plan!

We have 7-ish months until Christmas.  I know that's much time, but at least you can get a jump start on saving for it!  Or maybe start now and start saving for next year.  What about you?  Do you have any quick and easy money saving tips?



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