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Christmas Shopping Hacks! Save Tons!

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Christmas Shopping Hacks That Really Work!

I have to say that the holidays are my favorite time of year. I love the decorations, twinkling lights, food (yum) and getting to see all of the family and friends we’ve been out of touch with. The only problem I have with the holidays is the price tag! I love to give gifts but what I want to give and what I can afford to give are often two very different things. So over the last few years I have developed several Christmas Shopping Hacks to drastically reduce the amount we spend each year. This is my favorite one because it can really be applied at any time of year and to almost anything you can purchase online.

This process may sound confusing and time-consuming but it literally takes 5 minutes and you can save big on your purchases.

Here are the steps:

1) Locate the item(s) you want to buy.

2) Find discounted gift cards – We suggest CardPoolGiftCardZen, GiftCardGranny and CardCash

3) Purchase giftcards through a cash back website using a cash back credit card.

My go-to cash back site is Ebates because I’ve had the best luck with them.

ebates

But I’ve also heard great things about FatWallet.

FatWallet Coupons and Deals

 

Nerd Wallet picks the following credit cards as having the best cash back programs currently available. Read their full explanation for these picks here

Best 5% rotating bonus rewards: Chase Freedom®
Best for debt payoff and rewards: Discover it®
Best flat-rate rewards card: Citi® Double Cash Card
Our favorite for gas and groceries: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

4) Go to the retailer’s store where you found your item, add the item(s) to your cart and apply any discount codes

Ebates provides a list of current coupons and discount codes. But you can also find additional discounts through sites like RetailMeNot or CouponCabin.

6) Use the gift cards to purchase your items

Three ways you save…

Purchase gift cards for well under face value

Cash back through your credit card for the gift card purchase

Cash back through Ebates for the gift card purchase

 

Doubting My Christmas Shopping Hacks?

Don’t write it off yet. Check out some of my recent purchases and how much I was able to save in about 5 minutes.

Example #1: Crazy Expensive Boots

ugg

I am currently persuing this pair of Ugg boots for my daughter. She is 10 years old and wears an 8.5 Women’s (NOT KIDDING)! So shoes are extremely expensive for our family right now. She’s been wanting a pair of Uggs forever and since I have to pay for the adult size I need to do this as cheaply as possible. So here’s my plan…

I found this pair on the Victoria’s Secret website listed for $205. Oh my gosh… over $200 for a pair of boots? For a 10 year old!? I’m losing it. But this is her WOW gift this Christmas and anything else she gets will total about $50, because I’m cheap.

Let’s start…

Login to Ebates and lookup Victoria’s Secret in the search bar. Bring up their Ebates deals and you see that you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases (if you buy without gift cards). They also have a coupon:

  • Limited Time! $15 off $100, $25 off $150, $55 off $250, $125 off $500. Exp. 11/13/2014

Click through the Vicky’s Ebates link and place the boots in your cart. Don’t Panic!

Capture

Now apply the discount code you found earlier. This will take you from $224.99 to…. $209.99. You can apply mulitple discount codes and I see that they have a deal for…

  • Limited Time! Free PINK Anorak with $65 purchase. Exp. 11/12/2014

Score! But we are not paying yet.

We are going to check for the biggest discount on gift cards. It looks like you can get 8% off Vicky’s electronic gift cards at a gift card site. Head back to your cash back site to see if you can receive cash back on your gift card purchase. On Ebates you can earn 1% cash back on purchases from this retailer so I click the link taking me to the discount gift card site.

Purchase the Vicky’s gift card(s) using your Cash Back Credit Card. Most credit cards that offer cash back will increase your percentage back during the months of November and December (mine is currently giving 2% cash back but has gone as high as 5% back).

We bought $210 in Vicky’s gift cards for $193.20. When I get my next credit card bill I’ll also have a rewards balance of $3.87 bringing the total paid down to $189.33 for the giftcards.

Once your giftcards are delivered go back and purchase the boots -and- a bonus gift, the PINK Anorak. You can gift this to someone or keep it for yourself!

But wait! We used Ebates to purchase the gift cards so we earn an additional 1% cash back on that purchase.

  • Gift Card Purchase – $193.20 =’s $1.93 cash back

This brings down the total paid – after cash back on the credit card purchase and the Ebates cash back – to $186.50. So we saved $40 in about 5 minutes, plus you got a bonus gift. Not bad!

Does this really work? Absolutely.

Example #2: Major Home Appliance Purchase

My biggest score was new stainless steel appliaces for our kitchen (range, micorwave hood, french door refrigerator and dishwasher). By purchasing our appliances during the home improvement store’s Black Friday weekend (2013) we went from a possible purchase price of $3,600 to $2,400.

We found discount gift cards that were 10.4% off face value, we earned 2% cash back through Ebates and another 2% cashback through our credit card. Our total out of pocket for the gift cards was $2,064.

By purchasing the gift cards and working the cash back rewards system we saved an additional $344 off the Black Friday sale price. This deal took a little more time because I shopped around for the appliances. But anytime you make a purchase of more than a few hundred dollars you need to take a step back and be methodical about your research.

Another tip: If you replace something like appliances DO NOT let them haul your old ones away. Ask them to move the old ones to your garage. Why? Because you can sell your old appliances on Craigslist to reduce your out of pocket even further. It took a few weeks to sell the entire set but we ended up selling our old appliances for a total of $475. In the end our BRAND NEW appliance package cost us a total of $1,589. This is less than the regular list price of the fridge by itself – $1,698.

OKAY! I might give it a try…

Can’t Figure Out What to Get Them? Shop By the Largest Discount

Some of the Discount Gift Card Sites allow you to sort by the largest discount. If you really aren’t sure what you are looking for this is a good way to (1) check out stores you may not normally shop at and (2) find REALLY big discounts on gift cards. Some gift cards for smaller online stores go for as much as 40% off face value.

Cash Back Sites also let you sort by largest cash back percentage. If you are looking for something specific, say new baseball cleats, you can sort the sporting goods section by cash back percentage and find out which retailer offers the most money back. Check the discount gift card sites for additional savings from that merchant.

I hope you enjoyed this post and will be using some of these tips to save big this season! Check back next Sunday for more Holiday Shopping Hacks!

Featured Pic via Match

** Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We use affiliate links to help offset the costs related to running this site. Thanks!

 

 

 

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