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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Frugal Christmas Finds of '09

So as frugal as I am with my coupons, store deals, and daily freebie finds...Many of you have been asking these kind of questions: What was your Christmas budget? How do you remain frugal throughout the Christmas season? How do you buy gifts for people on such a strict budget and low income? Should you abandon buying gifts when you're struggling to get by? etc. etc. etc.

Many of the answers to these questions will have to come next year with the "Simplifying Christmas" series that has been postponed. However, I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the best deals I have found this year for Christmas gifts!

Our budget was about $100 - $120 total. I'm having to make this post quite vague, because almost all of my family members read this blog, and I don't want them to know what I bought for them. =) But here are some of my favorite finds this year (pictured above)!
  • Boggle Game (deal at Target) - I snagged Boggle and a Scrabble card game for $7 total! The Boggle game itself is usually priced at about $15 to $20 (even on Amazon!)
  • Hallmark Cards - I got all my personal cards for our parents and grandparents at Hallmark for practically free, using three of these $5 off coupons (2 were printable, 1 was from a magazine I had). That's $15 worth of cards for completely free!
  • Hot Wheels - I picked up 3 hot wheels cars at Publix for free with coupons during one of my shopping trips. They were 99 cents, and I had $1/1 toy coupons!
  • The Christmas Box - I got 20 copies of this book for free (I only paid shipping). It was an offer the author was doing as a gift to his readers. I stashed these away to give to people over the next couple years as gifts. It is a nice addition to a gift, as well. I am reading it right now, to determine how great of a book it is, and who to give these as gifts to.
  • Ornaments and Treats - To help reduce our budget some, I decided to do some homemade gifts (part of simplifying Christmas!). I went up to Hobby Lobby. I got some small plastic gift bags to put baked goods/treats in. It will look nice with a ribbon tied around it to complete it! Also, I bought some ceramic ornaments and a 2-can spray paint system that makes a really pretty gold crackle finish. I was able to buy 10 ornaments, the gift bags, and the 2 cans of spray paint for only $10 total. The ornaments and gift bags were on sale for 50% off, and I had a 50% off coupon for the spray paint!
  • Taste of Home $5 Cookbooks - I grabbed 2 Taste of Home cookbooks when they went on sale for $5 a while back. This is an amazing gift, considering they are normally $25 each!
  • I bought the UP! DVD for only $10 when the blu-ray first came out at only $19.96, and I had the $10/1 coupon. Great gift for my little brother-in-law! (he doesn't read the blog, so I think we're safe).
  • I also pre-ordered a couple of DVDs for only $9.99 with free shipping. Most of these would have been $15 to $20 in store.
  • I ordered the Burt's Bees grab bag for only $20. It is normally a $50 gift! It was on sale, and I used a code to get an additional % off and free shipping. It was a really nice gift set, and the recipient is going to love it!!
  • I picked up a skein of yarn at Michael's with a 50% off coupon. It was only $2.50 after the coupon. I'm knitting a friend a pretty scarf. Talk about an inexpensive, simple, and very meaningful gift!
  • Bath & Body Works - I took advantage of one of the great Bath & Body Works sales, and used a $10/$30 coupon on top of it. I walked out with 6 bottles of spray and lotion for only $20! That knocked out a couple of gifts right there.
  • Swag Bucks - This is the biggest key to my savings this Christmas. I don't think I will ever have to pay for Christmas gifts again, really. I simply traded my Swag Bucks in for Amazon gift cards, and I was able to pretty much buy all my gifts on Amazon! My husband was quite skeptical at first. He was like, "Amazon doesn't have anything." But after discovering that they had the exact model number guitar pickup he wanted for the guitar he is building...he became quite excited. I was able to buy him his $100 guitar pickup (what he really really wanted) for only $65 on Amazon, PLUS it was completely free with swag bucks. This is something I never would have bought him otherwise, as you can see that the retail price is as much as our total Christmas budget! I recommend signing up for Swag Bucks now, so that next Christmas you can get some gifts for free! It's the best program ever!!!
So those are my best frugal finds this year for Christmas gifts. I hope you enjoyed hearing about them! I always love to hear about a great deal! It's so much fun! =)

What about you? Feel free to share the deals you were able to snag this season!

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Blogger Maria said...

Megan, I read so much about Swagbucks on all the frugal sites, but i don't understand it. I sign-up for an account a month ago and I only have 4 swagbuck. Would you please explain this program to me and tell me how can i build my account. I too plan to pay for some of my Christmas presents next year with swagbucks, as many as my other frugal friends do. However, i just don't know what is the best way for me to accumulate points. Thanks for your help

December 26, 2009 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Our Blogs said...

Hi there,
thanks for a great blog! I really enjoy reading in and it has helped me save a ton just in the last few weeks that I found it.
I was wondering about the Amazon e-gid]ft cards from swagbucks. by looking it seems like the most bang for your swag buck would be to get the 5.00 amazon e-gift card for 45 swagbucks. So What I am wondering is is it possibly to use mor than one of the e-gift cards for each purchase?
So if you made a purchase on Amazon for 10.00 could you use 2 of the 5.00 e-gift cards then to pay for it?
Thanks for clearing this up for me!

December 26, 2009 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Meagan said...

Maria ~ I am going to do a Q & A post about Swag Bucks very soon. I will explain in depth how to make the most of Swag Bucks. For now, just set Swag Bucks as your home page, and start using it every time you search for anything on the web...just like you would any kind of search engine.

Our Blogs ~ Yes, you can use many gift codes per order, as many as you want! On some orders, I have used as many as 10. So, it's no problem at all. I agree - $5 for 45 swagbucks is definitely the best deal. Be careful, though. Trade them in as you go, because you can only trade in for 5 of the same prize per month, and only 2 of the same prize per day! Good luck!

December 27, 2009 at 11:46 PM  

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