I’m not someone who agrees with the whole ‘Presence not Presents’ ethos at Christmastime (but that’s a whole other post so stay tuned for that in a couple of weeks) but equally, I don’t want to spend a small fortune on the presents that I do buy.
There are a few things I try to do throughout the year that help me to pay for some presents without actually having to spend any money so today, I thought I’d share a few of them with you…
The first thing I do to save up for Christmas is to use the Swagbucks site throughout the year to accumulate Swagbucks which are kind of like points that you earn for referring people, doing surveys and entering competitions and signing up to various free trials. There are numerous other ways to earn Swagbucks but they’re the main ones that I use to earn my points.
At this point, I have enough points to redeem for £100 worth of Amazon vouchers with enough leftover and enough time left before Christmas to earn at least another £25 more I reckon.
You can sign up to Swagbucks using my referral link and when you get to 300 Swagbucks earned then you’ll get a 300 bonus.
Store Loyalty Cards
I use my store loyalty cards wherever I can through the year to save points and vouchers so by the time it comes to December I have enough to help me with some present buying. Here are the main ones I use and how:
- Boots – Throughout the year I seem to buy a fair amount from Boots and whenever I remember, I check the Boots app for any offers or bonus points vouchers. I save them up through the year and then work out what I need to buy from Boots for gifts. I always have quite a lot to buy from Boots for Christmas gifts so I try and maximise my points by buying some of the things I need on one of the advertised days where you get extra points at Christmas and the rest I buy with my points. I’m at about £30 right now but there are a couple of bits I need to buy and some extra points vouchers so I’ll have a nice little amount by the time Christmas comes around. Add that to the 3 for 2 deals and I’ll definitely get some great presents using my points!
- Morrisons & More card – I change my favourite shop from Morrisons to Tesco on a regular basis but when I do shop at Morrisons, I always use my Morrisons loyalty card. Usually the till would normally automatically print a voucher our when I hit the right number of points but I have my vouchers set not to print out until December. I’m not sure how much I actually have but last year I printed out about £30 at the start of December and if I remember rightly I got some extra money by saving shopping in store over a number of consecutive weeks – I’m sure it was about an extra £7 so altogether I had about £37 which was enough for a few gifts that I wanted to buy – gin and Baileys with a couple of boxes of biscuits and chocolates.
I also use Tescos and love their loyalty points but we use Tesco Boost to redeem them for treble their value (it use to be quadruple) for a local restaurant that we like to go to as a family. We probably redeem them twice a year so we can have a lovely meal there for the four of us with starters, mains and even a pud if we can fit it in!
Over the last four or five years, I’ve made Miss Frugal a beauty box as part of her Christmas gift and it’s usually made up of mostly free things that I collect throughout the year. My Freebie haul this year is massively less than normal as I’ve spent so much less time online with all our dramas and because we’ve had a few trips abroad, I’ve dipped into it more than I normally would to take the travel size things away rather than the full size so I’ve clearly had much less willpower this year! Next year I’ll be back with a vengeance but in the meantime, I’ll still give you my tips. 😉
- I rarely buy magazines but when I travel, I like to buy a couple and my choice is often based on the freebies as I pretty much love reading anything. Last year’s beauty box included Nails Inc, Benefit and a face mask from a company who I can’t remember but was a big brand one that went down well! They’re usually smaller travel size samples so look really cute in a little beauty box.
- I look out for freebies that come with make-up and beauty things that I’d often buy anyway. The beauty counters in shops like Boots, Debenhams and John Lewis often have free gifts if you make one or more purchases so I often pop the freebies away for the beauty box.
- There are lots of websites out there where you can find out about freebies so I keep an eye on those too although I’d say my success rate on actually getting what I submit a request for is probably less than half – more than likely because thousands of other people submit the same request.
- Some companies like Feel Unique allow you to choose five samples for free but you have to pay p&p which I think is about £3.95 making them not so free obviously.
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