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Unless you started stashing gift money away last January, you’re no doubt like the majority of Americans facing a tight holiday budget this year.
It’s not too late to develop spending guidelines for Christmas money. It’ll just take some careful planning and–here comes that ugly phrase–belt tightening. Read on for 20 truly feasible strategies to scrap together Christmas Cash.
Buy Gifts With Coupons
Stores are trying to lure shoppers in early, so start making your gift list now and looking for matching coupons from major merchants. For example, Kohls coupons have already offered $10 off every $50 you spend. Sports Authority coupon codes provided the same deal. And Barnes and Noble printable coupons offered 30% off some of the hottest bestsellers in early October, a deal they’ll likely repeat. In other words, buy early while there’s plenty of selection and coupons.
You know you’re going to splurge on restaurants and entertainment expenses during the holidays, so tighten your belt now, both to save cash and lose weight before packing on holiday poundage. Reassign the money you’d normally spend on prepared foods, snacks and eating out to the gift-giving budget.
Eat From Your Pantry
Dig deep into the staples in your pantry and freezer and start using up your stockpiles. With careful planning, you can skip at least one trip the grocery store.
Do the Daily Coupon Dance
Don’t forget to use your coupons for your everyday needs as well. There are coupons for everything from apples to Zyrtec, so clip, clip, clip… or use mobile or online coupons.
Now’s a good time to ditch the credit and debit cards and pay with cash for in-person purchases. You’ll be more reluctant to spend if you can’t just present a piece of plastic, plus you’ll avoid those nasty fees and interest payments.
Create a Coin Stash
Now that you’re paying with cash, you’ll also have more coinage. Round up all that spare change from pockets, purses and couch cushions and corral them into one big container. Keep adding at every opportunity, then hit your bank’s change machine when it’s time to go gift shopping.
Eliminate Your Land Line
You’ll save an average of $50 in two months by turning off that unused land line. Many of us hang onto our home phones because we fear losing the 911 function, but the fact is most of us still reach for our cell phones in an emergency. Of course, if there are little ones around the house, a home phone is still a good idea. According to the Federal Communication System, all wireless providers must transmit 911 calls to a Public Safety Answering Point and include location information, accurate within 50 to 300 meters. By 2012, the FCC will require providers to include even more specific location information.
Adjust Your Tax Withholding
The average tax refund this year was nearly $2,900. If you received a refund, you were paying Uncle Sam to store your cash–interest fee. File a new W-4 form with your employer’s human resources department and start receiving more money on your next paycheck. To find out how many withholdings you should claim, use Kiplinger’s online calculator.
Auction Your Extra Stuff on eBay
The online auction house is a good outlet for selling lighter items you can pack in a box and take to the post office without risking a hernia. It’s vast reach exposes your sale to millions of buyers, but it’s important to understand the process and how best to market your items. To judge the worth and marketability of your item, search for similar products at eBay’s “Complete Listings” list under “Advanced Search.” You must register first, but there’s no charge to do so. Before you post your listing, rad through eBay’s seller’s recommendation guide.
You’ll pay roughly 10% of the money you earn back to eBay, including fees for posting your listing, completing a sale and receiving payment through PayPal.
Sell Your Lower-End Stuff on Craigslist
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. While not all of your stuff may qualify at the eBay auction level, it could be just the ticket for other online deal hunters. If you’ve never sols items on Craigslist before, check the various guidelines at the bottom left of their homepage.
Buy Budget Gift Cards
Did you ever think about buying gift cards to purchase daily staples? Let’s say you buy $100 worth of food with a $90 grocery gift card. You’ve saved $10. That’s huge. Combine it with a few judiciously used grocery coupons and one trip to the supermarket can save enough for a decent gift.
Pick Up Holiday Cleaning Jobs
Cleaning houses is an odious way to make money, but certainly the quickest picker-upper for short-term cash. It requires no specialized training, just a lot of elbow grease and a good work ethic. Even in this economy, people are willing to pay someone else to perform this ugly chore. Check Craigslist under “services” and “household” for holiday cleaning jobs. Grab your bucket and prepare to work your fanny off. In six hours, at $20 per hour, you can earn $120 of Christmas cash. (Figure it should take five hours to do a basic clean on a two-story, three-bedroom house, if it’s not filthy at the start.)
Be a Short-Term Lab Rat
There are facilities throughout the country that offer paid compensation in exchange for your participating in clinical pharmaceutical research studies. If you’re lucky (or maybe not), you’ll find a short-term study that you can easily complete. For full details, read and expert’s advice on Asylum.com.
Make a List
This refers to both shopping for groceries with a list (which helps you stay on target and save more money) and creating a gift wish list of goals you can work towards. When shopping for groceries, stop for 10 seconds and think before popping something into your cart that’s not on your list. Why are you buying it? Do you really need it? If not, put it back.
For Christmas gifts, write each recipients name on an envelope, along with the gifts you intent to purchase and how much they’ll cost. Then start stashing the cash inside each envelope. Prioritize the money distribution and make purchases as the cash becomes available.
Increase Your Auto Insurance Deductibles
In just two months you can save an average of $100 by increasing the deductibles on comprehensive and collision covers from $500 to $1,000, or even $2,500. This will reduce your monthly premium by roughly 15%. You’ll want to drive more carefully during this period, of course.
Amazon allows you to sell all kinds of products, not just books. You pay fees to Amazon only if your item sells. Commissions range from 6 to 15% of the sale price, depending on the product. Amazon also charges 99 cents for each transactions and levies a closing fee that varies by item.
These retail stores resell your merchandise and keep a percentage of the final sale price. Check out various shops to determine which suit you needs, get the best prices and will showcase your consignment items best. Prep your products before bringing them to the store as many owners will reject items that need more work than they’re worth.
Trade Out Babysitting
Holiday events mean more babysitting bills. Since many of your friends with families are in the same situation, consider arranging a cooperative arrangement, whereby you watch each other’s kids on select days or evenings. It’ll take some careful calendar coordination, but it can be a win/win situation if everyone plays fair.
Win McDonald’s 2010 Monopoly Game
Granted, the odds are very, very, very long, but Bargaineering.com explains a few tips to help you win anywhere from a lowly $5 to nearly $1 million in cash prizes.
Take Advantage of Free Stuff
Use HeyitsFree.net, Sweetfreestuff.com, and Mr. Freestuff to find hundreds of freebies ranging from toothpaste to granola bar samples.
2 thoughts on “20 Ways to Scrape Together Christmas Money”
Your ideas are great, but maybe it is also useful tip – ot make purchases in intarnet shops. Online stores don’t pay rent and the prices there are much lower. You can find there a big choice fo presents for christmas
These are some great ideas. I think most Americans are under the budget crunch this year. I am already seeing many of the stores starting to offer some great coupons and sales. Most are starting the black Friday sales at least one week early this year. I wouldn’t count on winning the McDonald’s Monopoly game, though, don’t think those odds are too great!