Shopping for gifts on a budget, isn’t that an oxymoron?
Ha – no. A budget is simply a set amount of money that you have to spend on certain things. If you are buying gifts, you should have a set amount of money that you have designated to spend on gifts.
As with almost every area of budgeting, having a plan is key. You don’t need to know exactly what you want to get, but it helps to at least have an idea. I take a three pronged approach to buying gifts on a budget and they all require time to watch and plan. Rarely can you find what you want for a good price on the spur of the moment.
Step One – Watch for Sales
This is almost a no-brainer, but it does require patience. Some things almost never go on sale, so do some research along with it. An example of this is the Raptor Power Wheels my son wanted for Christmas last year. I have never seen those things go on sale, so I immediately skipped to step two to get a little break on that purchase.
Watching for sales is now a little more high tech than in the past. Make sure you download store apps and check store websites because they will often have special deals that you can’t find anywhere else.
Step Two – Use Rebate Apps
I have three favorites, Ibotta, Rakuten (formerly Ebates), and TopCashBack. I check all three to see if the store where my item is sold has a current rebate. Usually this requires an online purchase, but you can almost always pick up in the store if free shipping isn’t available.
Watch for special rebate offers, too. Sometimes the rebate percentage will be increased just like a special sale. So, with the Power Wheels that I bought last Christmas, I got a 5% rebate buying online through WalMart.com. It’s not a fortune, but it was literally the only way I could get any money off, and it took one more click than normal for a $20 rebate. Absolutely worth it!
Step Three – Join ALL the Rewards Programs
I could not begin to tell you how many rewards programs memberships I hold. Probably over 30. Rewards members usually earn points toward money off and they often get emailed offers with special coupons. Most rewards programs are free of charge, so it doesn’t hurt to enroll. I recently bought my mom a $49.99 toaster oven for $8 by combining a sale and some rewards dollars.
I have a list a mile long of things I’ve purchased that I needed (or strongly wanted) at a fraction of the price by following these three rules. It’s a special day when all three work together, but it’s so awesome when it happens.
If you don’t like your email junked up by coupons and promotions, then create a new one just for this purpose. It’s easy to create a free email address, so get busy!
Bonus Step – NEVER throw away wrapping materials unless they are trashed
I have a tote full of gift bags and a tote full of tissue paper. When I’m at a birthday party, if it looks like that stuff is getting trashed, I shamelessly scavenger it. I haven’t had to buy a gift bag or tissue paper for years. Why add another $7 to a gift? Just keep it organized and you’re good to go for any reason. Although…I think I have about 67 baby boy gift bags still. It could take me awhile to use those, I should probably donate some. 🙂
Happy shopping, and please message me if you have any questions. This is kind of my favorite thing to do.