Thursday, July 28, 2022

How to Easily Save All Year for Christmas

A wonderful candle from my sweet Eva
I love Christmas! 

My family loves Christmas! 

I love shopping for my kids, my husband, my parents and step-parents, my grandmother, my friends, neighbors, extended family, teachers at the homeschool coop, the mailman, kids I don't even know, EVERYONE!

How are you supposed to save up to have a meaningful Christmas full of gift-giving and donating to the poor when you have to pay for things like clothing for growing kids, stove repair, surprise dental work, and so much more? 

Well, you start very early and you keep your eye on the prize of peaceful family togetherness and financial independence (eventually)!

It used to sneak up on me every year and I never seemed to have enough money for the things I budgeted for. But this year was different. First I'll walk you through some of the sites and apps I used to save the first few hundred dollars effortlessly, then I'll give some more ideas.

MYPOINTS -- Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash, VISA prepaid card, or other gift cards
Here's my referral link for MyPoints.

SWAGBUCKS -- Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash, VISA prepaid card, or other gift cards
Here's my referral link for Swagbucks.

HONEY -- Just about any gift card you can think of!

FETCH -- Amazon gift card or other gift cards
This app pays you to shop. If you only shop at Aldi, you won't get much out of this app, but if you shop everywhere and shop for many different brands, including many name brands (and magazines at the checkout), this app will quickly pay you back.
Here's my referral code for Fetch after you download the app from the App Store: MJNYQ.

VITALITY HEALTH -- $250+ Amazon gift card, other options as well. If your employer or your spouse's employer has something like Vitality (an online employee wellness site), take advantage of it! My husband and I get points for going for a routine physical, logging activity, taking nutrition courses online, watching webinars and so much more.

IBOTTA -- This mobile app is also great, but it does take time to set up your shopping list, and it even connects to your WalMart grocery pickup receipt to give you credit for those items. Here's my blog post about Ibotta and my referral link, which is ckrwavq.

One day while putting away clothes in my son's closet, I noticed he had a metric crap-ton of Nerf guns that he wasn't playing with. He had more Nerf guns than any kid should ever own. Keep in mind he has two older brothers who also passed their guns down to him. Once my 11-year-old realized that he could make some money off of them, we sorted them and started listing them. Within a week he had $60 to put toward the dirt bike he wanted to buy! 

At that point, I took a hard look at all the homeschool resources I had, games, clothes, etc. that we never used or had grown out of and started listing those things as well. I would meet people in public places as I went to town for other errands, and it worked out great! Once a woman sent me money via PayPal and then picked up from my porch.

Head here for 9 more fresh ideas for how to save or make money this year, including the amazing Honey app, which I used a lot this past Christmas to get deals and rack up Honey Gold (which turns into PayPal cash and gift codes)!

Level up!

I suggest letting the funds accumulate in these various apps and accounts until you can cash out for Amazon gift cards (assuming you shop there) and PayPal cash or other gift cards you prefer, otherwise you might be tempted to spend it. I usually cash it all out sometime in November to hit early sales and get Black Friday deals. I used to kick myself for missing out on great early deals but that's not the case anymore! If you are saving cash from things you're selling, I suggest putting it in an envelope in a safe place or giving it to someone in your family so they can hide it for you (depending on the ages of your family members, of course!).

FYI, I used to save money using a sinking fund system in envelopes but everything is digital now so I just keep line items in my PayPal Excel sheet earmarked for certain things. It's how I was able to save for Christmas by November.

See you here next Christmas!

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