As you know, shopping on a budget requires a little forethought. As moms we do it day-to-day when grocery shopping by using coupons and shopping for other items during sales. The key to buying great gifts on a budget is mere preparation. Once you’re prepared, gifts will just drop into your lap. Really.
1. Get Cash Back
Use cash back sites like eBates and Stop At Home all year long. The cash back you receive from shopping through those services can be saved to purchase gifts in the future. You can set it aside and earmark it as “gifts.” Which cash back site should you use? Well, I’ll leave that up to you, but what I can tell you is that I use eBates the majority of the time and I’ve only used Shop At Home a couple of times. In my opinion eBates is easier to use and, on the other hand, Shop At Home seems to release funds more quickly.
2. Stalk Your Favorite Stores
By subscribing to their enewsletters you’ll be the first to know when sales are starting or special coupon codes are available for their online counterparts. Go a step further and sign up for mobile notifications when available. Here’s a good example, my son wants Skylander Giants so it makes sence that I subscribe to each store that sells these types of gifts. I also sign up to those store announcements with an email that I can check from my phone. In addition to mobile text alerts I use some of the store apps, but the best are all-encompassing shopping apps where you can include a personalized profile or view information of the stores you specify. Three of my favorites are Shopkick, Coupons and Ibotta.
3. Stand Strong
You’ll have to endure the “I want that” blues song at least once or twice. You know the song, right? It’s the one you hear each time you sit down to watch a children’s show with the kiddos and a commercial comes on advertising the latest, hottest, hippest, prettiest, coolest toy ever that they must, must, must have. And to communicate that effectively, they repeatedly say, “Oh, I want that.” “Mom, look at that.” “Mommy, did you see that?” “Can I have that?” Grin and bear it while you write down what they say. That way when a great deal pops up you know what you’re looking for.
4. Put it on the calendar!
Annotate everything on your savings calendar. It doesn’t have to be a specific calendar (although that may help during this time of year) you can add it to your regular agenda. Keep track of when sales start and end, if you have a store coupon or online coupon code and in your notes add what gifts or kinds of gifts you’re looking for as well as the recipients. It’s also a good idea to include your budget.
It may seem like a lot, but once you get these things in place you will be able to find and buy the greatest gifts with a minimal budget.
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