Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thrifty Christmas Shopping

Today we have the great privilege of guest hosting Ruby and Macy from Real Housewives of Minnesota!  We met Ruby and Macy at the Minnesota Blogger Conference and were immediately drawn to them because they are awesome girls, they are a blogging duo just like us and, they blog about being thrifty!  In this post they talk about saving money while shopping for Christmas presents.  Without further ado...

How To Be Thrifty When ChristmasShopping
When it comes to holiday shopping, it’s easy to spend oodles! But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to save when doing your Christmas shopping. Here are some thrifty tips to keep your pocketbook safe this holiday season.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade: Santa's Naughty or Nice List
Photo by armadillo444

First off, prepare your list. Take a moment to sit and write out who you have to buy gifts for. Think hard now, and be sure to include any teachers, nannies, coaches, etc. Be sure to cover all your bases before you move on to the next step. 

Now that you’ve made your list, stick to it. The list does not expand. This list is your final list. Anyone who is not on your list does not get a gift. Whether you see something they’d like or not. Part of saving money, comes from only buying what you need to buy.

Next, brainstorm a few ideas for what you might want to give the people on your list. Write your ideas down. And, if your friends and family are cooperative, have them get you their wish-list early – I shoot for Thanksgiving. If it helps (which it probably will!), set a budget for each person and jot it down next to their name. Make it your goal to spend less than what you budgeted. It’s a great feeling when you spend less than you expected to!

Now for the actual gift getting part. I’m a big fan of making things when you can. With the help of (LOVE!), there are all kinds of homemade gifts and crafts that you can put together and give. But if you’re running out of time or would rather buy a gift, there are plenty of ways to save big!

My Little Consumer

Photo by Myles!

Now that you are about ready to hit the stores, list in hand, take a minute to do a few steps of prep work – you’ll be glad you did!
  • Glance through the newspaper advertisements first. Companies are at their prime for advertising right now and there are some great deals to be had if you just educate yourself beforehand. Make a note of how much something is at a certain store. Many stores such as Walmart will price match competitor prices. This is good information to have because it can prevent you from running around town going to different stores. I think we can all agree that one stop is better than five. 
  • Now that your mind is primed with some ideas for shopping and where you can find some good deals, narrow down your list to a couple ideas for each person of gifts you would like to give and that fall within your budget. 
  • Jot down on your list some ideas of where to get each gift. This makes the big malls seem much, much smaller AND will save you a ton of time when you get to the mall. Once you have your stores in mind that you’re going to go to, hit their websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to look for additional savings. Sometimes if you ‘like’ a company’s page on Facebook, they will have a coupon for you. Check their Twitter to see if they tweeted out a sale or coupon that you wouldn’t normally have found online. Also try googling the store + coupon to see if there is anything you might have missed. These are all great ways to save even more money. 
  • It’s tough to catch online sales right now because it’s getting down to the wire on shipping times. Make sure to check the ship dates and see whether a site guarantees shipment by Christmas. Normal shipping times at a certain store might be pushed out a bit because of the holiday sales. If you do find a site that will ship by Christmas, do your homework and look for coupon codes. A great site for this is, and for free shipping, you can visit for awesome deals. 
  • Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. These stores hold many designer items in store and are often sold for a fraction of the cost. It doesn’t get much better than that! 
So stick to your list, shoot for below budget, and do your coupon homework. All these things can score you great deals for your holiday shopping this year, and they’ll never know the difference!

Now that you've read their great post, go ahead and visit Ruby and Macy at Real Housewives Of MN and follow them on Twitter: @MNHousewives.
What the best Christmas shopping deal you've come across?


  1. Thanks for allowing us to be a guest on your blog ladies! So glad we could help :) You guys are wonderful!

  2. I've found that I can get a lot of my Christmas shopping done for free, throughout the year, through following a website that lists various deals. (I live in Australia, so the website I use isn't relevant for most people; but I'm sure you'd be able to find one or a dozen of them in the US.) I've been surprised at how many companies give out free $10 or $20 coupons, with no minimum spend. At the end of last year a major studio was giving away free double DVD packs for filling in an on-line survey. Companies that print your photos on various items often have free promos, or promos where you just pay postage. By taking advantage of these I've managed to get quite a few Christmas gifts, for free or for next to nothing. We also went to Asia last year and I stocked up on silk scarves, pashmina, and brooches for presents - they'd cost about $30 retail but I got them for about $2 each.

    I'm finished with all of my Christmas shopping for 2012 for everyone but my husband and kids. (I've got 9 items put aside for each child; some are homemade, some are store-bought; for a total outlay so far of 80 cents each. I wait until closer to Christmas for their big present.) I calculated it the other day - not counting my husband and kids, I buy presents for 28 people. Most people get a charity gift card in addition to another present(s). I don't count the charity gift card in my total because that comes out of my charity budget; I kind of feel like I'm already cheating by making it into a gift when I would've spent the money anyway. Not counting charity gift cards, I've spent about $40 in total for presents for 28 people.


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