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7 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Gifts

Everyone knows to use coupons when trying to save money on purchases, but we have several other tips for staying within your budget this year. Start early and make a list. Don't toss junk mail. And shop with a friend. Wonder why? Read on.

The holiday shopping season has begun, and it's easy to fill up a credit card this time of year. My goal this year is for a cash-only, credit-card-free season—and it means getting a bit creative with the budget. I've created extra spending money by creating extra promotions for my work-at-home business and selling a few items that were just collecting dust. But having a cash-only Christmas will also mean some creative savings, too—here's a few creative ways to save on holiday shopping this year.

Start Early and Make a List

If you know what you are looking for ahead of time, it's easier to choose the best time to buy. Make a list of those you're buying for this year, and jot down a few gift ideas. Then, be on the lookout for sales and coupons for the items on your list and you probably won't pay full price for anything.

Don't Toss Your Junk Mail

Coupons start coming in the mail quite readily this time of year—look for them before tossing the junk mail. I found a $10 off coupon that didn't have a minimum purchase that I used to get a stocking stuffer for free, and I used a $15 off $30 coupon to buy an item that was already on my gift list. That's just two coupons—but $25 that I almost threw away.

Search for Coupon Codes

As a general rule, always do a quick Google search for coupon codes before checking out online. Better yet, use a site like Retail Me Not and subscribe to a custom email list to see when the stores that have the items on your list have special offers; it will give you a better idea of the best time to buy. Some sites will let you use more than one code—I combined three codes and crossed off one person on my list, paying less than half of retail.

Watch for Rewards Points

Shoppers rewards are a nice way to save a bit of cash—and sometimes, they offer bonus points. I got an email with $10 in surprise points—and used it for $10 worth of stocking stuffers. Many programs also offer bonus rewards just for signing up for the program.

Shop with a Friend

Many holiday deals are buy more, save more style specials where the discount is greater the more that you spend. Ask a close friend or family member if they'd like to combine orders and you'll both benefit from the bigger discount.

Embrace DIY

Crafting something yourself can make an inexpensive gift feel much more personal and special. Search Pintrest for ideas. And don't forget when you pick up supplies that most craft stores have printable coupons online.

Coupons for Stocking Stuffers

While you should look for retail coupons, you shouldn't ignore grocery coupons either. Snacks and candy make good stocking stuffers. Stack them on top of sales for the best deals. While you're at it, clip coupons to save on your holiday meals, too.

Christmas is about giving, but saving allows you to be able to give more. Being creative with your holiday shopping can keep gifts off the credit card—so you can focus instead on enjoying the season.

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