The following is a guest post from Cheryl at Swap Savers.
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The holidays can be a strain on the wallet with gift giving, holiday parties and hosting the holiday dinner. Here are a few tips to help you save money.
Food Shop at Other Stores – If you are hosting a holiday party or dinner, instead of shopping at your local grocery store, shop at drug stores and discount chain stores (i.e. Wal-mart, Target, etc.). You can find food and other items for free or almost free when you combine sales, coupons and rebates (Walgreens and Rite Aid have their own rebate programs).
Homemade Gifts and Cards – Homemade gifts and cards are inexpensive and most of the time more meaningful than store bought gifts or cards. You can easily create gifts even if you don’t have any “crafting abilities”. Here are two easy ideas which anyone can do for little money. If you have younger children, place their handprints on a piece of paper, add a picture along with the date and frame it. Another idea is to create a CD mix which could have holiday songs or mix of music for exercising. There are a variety of free legal music downloads you can find on the Internet.
Create a Coupon Book – Similar to the homemade gifts, giving your time can be more meaningful than a store bought gift. Create a coupon book with activities you are willing to do for or with the person receiving the coupons. My personal favorite coupon to receive is one for babysitting. Other suggestions include a car wash, cleaning the house, or cooking a meal.
Freebie Gifts – You can get tons of freebies on the Internet or by shopping in the store when you combine sales, coupons and rebates. You can mix a bunch of freebies together and create a gift basket. For example you could create a travel gift basket and include a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, a razor, soap, gum, sleeping mask, ear plugs, and pain medication (yes I have received all of the listed items for free).
Use Rewards Points – There are free rewards programs available for just about anything (i.e. travel, soda, diapers, etc). Cash in your rewards points for gifts for other people. Some gift ideas you could redeem with rewards points are magazines, gift cards, movies, and music.
Swap Toys – Instead of buying all new toys for your child, swap toys with a friend or family member. Your child will be so excited about their new toys, they will not even notice the toy isn’t in a box and as an added bonus you will not have to put any toys together.
Recycle Gift Wrap – Even though gift wrap is inexpensive, it is thrown away within minutes (along with the money you spend purchasing it). Some other suggestions for wrapping your gifts are sheets, towels (you could use ribbon to dress it up), reuse gift bags, the comics from the newspaper, boxes or a brown bag from the store decorated with handprints or paint.
These are all great tips, and I think I’ve used each one of them personally. How about you?