Last time in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series, we talked about making a list (and checking it twice!). With your list written out, you are getting a general idea of what you’ll get for each person on your list. And how much you might be spending.
Sometimes you tally up your total expected budget for Christmas presents and your eyes pop out of your head like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. “Wait…this is going to cost me how much??”
Now you see why we are planning ahead! It’s time to get creative with the money you’ll be spending. Here are a few ideas for finding money for Christmas presents.
7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money: Gift Cards
Gift cards can be a good gift idea for some people, but that’s not what I mean in this case. I’m talking about getting gift cards that you can use to purchase gifts for others. Here are some ways to do that.
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Have you ever heard of Swagbucks? You might even have an old account there that you had forgotten about. If that’s the case, you should dust that puppy off and get back to earning free bucks!
In case you haven’t heard about it, Swagbucks is a website that asks you to do various things to earn points which are called “swagbucks”. The tasks are simple things like answering a fun one question poll, watching videos, taking surveys, etc.
Many times you can have videos running while you are doing regular household chores like laundry or dishes, so it doesn’t require dedicated time. You can also print coupons and play games to earn “bucks”.
Another way to earn “bucks” is by referring friends. The links here are my personal referral link (which would help me purchase Christmas presents if you would like to join Swagbucks, too!).
Each “buck” works out to be roughly worth a penny, because once you earn 100 Swagbucks, you can redeem it for a $1 Amazon gift card. They have a variety of increments of Amazon gift cards, but they pretty much work out to a 100 Swagbuck to $1 Amazon money ratio. (500 Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon card, etc.)
I find it doable to earn $10 or more in Amazon money through Swagbucks each month. It’s not a lot. But if you had started in January, you could easily have $120 to spend at Amazon for Christmas this year. Even if you start now, you can probably purchase a gift or two with this money.
Another easy way to earn Amazon gift cards is by signing up for Microsoft Rewards. (Formerly known as Bing rewards.) I set Bing as my primary search engine. Every time I search, I earn rewards points towards my next $5 Amazon gift card.
My points don’t add up super quickly, but it’s a great way to earn an extra $10-$15 in gift cards or so per year. If you participate in more than searches, you could probably get to your gift card more quickly. Other options include short quizzes, specific searches, and inviting friends.
I personally don’t want to spend a lot of extra effort to earn just pennies. But when I am being rewarded for things I would have done anyway, I always jump on that!
The loyalty card I use at our local gas station not only earns me a free soda every time I purchase 7 (although I’ve cut way back on stopping in for a drink!). I can also get free gift cards once I have accumulated enough points. I always hand them my card when I make a purchase, so I have a lot of points just sitting there on my card waiting to be cashed in.
I’m not likely to give a gas station gift card to anyone on my list (although I guess a new driver might appreciate something like that!). But if I use that card to purchase my gas this week, I can take the cash I would have spent and add it to my Christmas present money envelope.
Check out any loyalty cards you use for regular purchases and see what surprises they might have for you! You might find coupons or gift cards just waiting for you.
This one is slightly different from the others, but it’s another reward program for shopping you would already be doing. Whenever I plan to shop online, I always check Ebates first. Once you sign up, you simply go to Ebates and look for the name of the website you’d like to shop from. They’ll tell you what percentage of cash you’ll get back from your purchase.
Another thing I love is that Ebates will tell you about any sales or coupon codes you can use while you are shopping. So on top of getting cash back, you also might find a nice discount that you didn’t know about.
The downside of Ebates is that unless you shop online a lot, it will take a while to accumulate enough money in your account to get your money. They send you a big fat payment when you reach $20. And they only send payments 4 times per year.
So this tip probably would fall under the “plan ahead” category. But be sure to do your Christmas shopping through Ebates this year so that you will earn money towards the following Christmas!
Purchase Gift Cards
Once you are ready to shop, consider stopping to buy a gift card on your way to the store. Some grocery stores sell gift cards and give you extra points towards discounts on gas.
Another option is gift card exchanges. Sites like Card Cash link people who want cash more than a gift card with people who want a discount on gift cards. Use this site to purchase cheap gift cards to stores you know you’ll be shopping at. Or if you have a gift card lying around that you know you’ll never use, you can sell it here to get more money for Christmas presents.
Another way to help yourself save towards this goal is to purchase a gift card each month throughout the year. Then save the cards until you are ready to do your Christmas shopping. If you purchase at a store like Kroger, you’ll also get fuel points.
There are so many ways you can use gift cards to help you find Christmas money!
With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your eyes inside their sockets the next time you tally up your Christmas budget.
I hope you have found a tip or two here to help you in finding money for Christmas presents this year! Be sure to check in again for more tips in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series! Or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media to keep up with the latest posts.
If you enjoy this series, I’d be honored if you’d click a share button on the right-hand side. Let others know how they can save up for Christmas, too!
Want to read the whole series? Links are at the bottom of this post.
Do you have a tip about using gift cards for purchasing Christmas presents that I missed? Be sure you share it with us in the comments!