10 Ways to Do Christmas on the “Cheap”

Christmas is that time of year when all moms get rushed and have a tendency to overspend, oftentimes without even realizing it.  Want to avoid that surprise credit card bill come January?

Stick to your budget!

In fact, you can make shopping easier by purchasing gift cards for nearly everyone on your shopping list. When you use gift cards, it’s easier to keep to your budget and, if you decide to buy $10 gift cards for all those extras on your holiday list, you can manage an inexpensive and stress-free holiday season. Of course, not every recipient lends itself to a small denomination gift card, but for the ones that do,  these places can be excellent choices.


1. Best Buy: Have a gamer or tech lover on your list? They’ll love a Best Buy gift card. Ok, ten bucks won’t buy too much but it does help defray the cost of whatever it is they really would like.  Plus, it gives them the excuse to go in and browse!

2. Starbucks: When in doubt, coffee wins. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t like Starbucks? A frugal shopper can get at least three cups of joe out of one itty bitty gift card. And you’ll feel good knowing you’ve brightened their morning THREE times.

3. iTunes: Have a teen or young adult that you are shopping for? Chances are they have an iPods or similar product. Your gift will be enjoyed for years to come as they download their favorite songs.  Maybe they will remember your generosity every time they hear their choices.

4. Blockbuster: Yes, Virginia, there are still Blockbusters.  Many people have been lured away from old fashioned “video” rentals by Netflix and Redbox, but for most people, Blockbuster is still a local option. You can make a gift basket with a couple packs of  microwave popcorn and sodas with your gift card.  Oh, and check out the prices for Blockbuster gift cards at your local grocery store.  Sometimes its cheaper.

5. Cold Stone Creamery: Want something that will bring a smile to their face? Cold Stone is a treat among ice cream parlors, allowing patrons to basically create their own blends.  Keep a look out for coupons to include to make that gift card stretch even further!

6. Barnes & Noble: This is my fall back gift of choice, especially to my father.  If you have a book lover (or even a music lover or coffee lover) you can’t go wrong with Barnes & Noble. The best part is not actually spending the money, but spending the time wandering the store trying to pick something out!

7. Phone Card: With the rise in popularity of Net10 and TracFones, its pretty easy these days to buy a refill card.  Yeah, it’s not the most personal gift, but if you ask my tweenage daughter, it’s at the top of her list!

8. SkinIt: Have a tech lover? Most techies love cool accessories for their gear. And at Skinit.com, they can get what they want. Skinit offers 1,000’s of different “skins” for laptops and other mobile devices. These are basicallly giant, re-positionable stickers. The  smallest denomination for a gift card is $14.99 but when you weigh in the cool factor, it’s probably worth that extra 5 bucks.

9. Movies: This can be a great way to gift (on the cheap) nieces and nephews in your family.  Movie theaters offer gift cards for tickets and snacks.  If they go to a matinee, they might just have enough for a ticket and a shared popcorn!

10. Amazon: If you’re looking to buy me a gift, send Amazon.com codes. And delivery is versatile.  You can email a gift, mail it, or even share it via Facebook.  Gotta love simplicity.

Hopefully, these gift card ideas will help you stay in budget this Christmas season!

Ways to Save Money on Gifts:

What are your favorite places to purchase gift cards?

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