Dough Roller held a contest earlier this week asking:
What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?
I absolutely love this question, because I saved a ridiculous amount of money this Christmas. In fact, it’s probably the most I’ve ever saved during the holiday season! Although I didn’t win the contest I thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic. So without further ado here is my list:
First, I purchased gifts that provided extra kick-backs. For example, for every dollar I spent on Marriott gift cards I earned 10 Marriott Reward points. These purchases helped me earn a free night’s stay at any 4-star Marriott hotel. I also took advantage of similar promotions at local restaurants in my area, which offered a $5 bonus each time I purchased at least $25 in gift cards.
Second, I purchased gift cards from online sites like Plastic Jungle. I saved between 10 – 15% on each gift card purchase and then used the gift cards to make in-store and online purchases. I also waited for sales and coupons, which further expanded my savings. On average I saved at least 25% using this technique.
Third, I used a cash back credit card for all in-store and online purchases that didn’t involve a gift card. If I went online I used cash back sites like Ebates and Fatwallet. Recently I learned about ev’reward. This site compares all of the cash back websites so you can get the most bang for your buck. I also held off on most of my online purchases until Cyber Monday. I knew from experience that many online sites offered double cash back that day.
Lastly, I finished at least half of my holiday shopping prior to November and when stores in my area closed I bought stocking stuffers for 10 to 25 cents on the dollar.
A little advance planning went a long way in helping me save this season. I plan to count my Christmas receipts later this week to find out just how much money I saved. I bet it will be in the ballpark of 50%.