Hey y’all, Tiffany here.
Even if you wanted a no-cost Christmas, it’s still difficult when your love language is gift-giving and you don’t have time to do them homemade.
Have a No-Cost Christmas!
What is this mysterious solution to a magical Christmas that doesn’t break the bank? The answer is…..gift cards!
Yes, you read that right – gift cards! We start planning for Christmas on December 26th. We work hard to get gift cards all year, and we save them up for a no-cost Christmas!
We’re going to go over each method that we use. Some of these methods don’t get us tons of money in gift cards individually, but all together they easily add up to several hundred dollars in gift cards!
This year, as you can see below, we saved $1,050 in gift cards that will go towards our no-cost Christmas! (Note: we actually reserve some of these for birthday presents throughout the year as well.)
Swagbucks for a no-cost Christmas
Swagbucks is an online rewards program where you earn points (Swagbucks) for your online activity. This includes internet searches, online purchases, watching short videos, playing online games, and more!
In our first six months of using Swagbucks a few years ago, we earned over $300 in gift cards! However, now we mostly just earn points with doing searches. This earns us about $25 in gift cards each quarter, or about $75 per year.
Don’t miss our post on how to set up a budget with our free printable!
Ebates is another online rewards program that is very similar to Swagbucks. There are a few differences, however. Ebates has an extension that will automatically apply promo codes when you shop online to help you save. It then also gives you a certain percentage cash back when you make purchases (Swagbucks does this as well, but Ebates tends to be a bit higher) through them.
Once per quarter they deposit the money you’ve earned into your account! We then turn around and buy gift cards with this extra money. We usually get about $5-$10 per quarter, or $30 per year from Ebates.
So many sales at Target involve receiving gift cards! For example, about once a month they have gift cards for buying a certain amount of diapers.
We save those gift cards up all year, and we usually end up with around $300 by Thanksgiving! Then we use them for Target’s month of toy deals that starts the day after Thanksgiving each year!
Each day, they roll out a Cartwheel (coupon on the Target app) good for 50% off a specific toy. You don’t know what the toys are in advance, but there are usually some really good deals for a no-cost Christmas!
Need to re-think how you view money? Read these four books!
Pinecone Research is a surveys website where you earn points that you can redeem for cash or gift cards! Now before you disappear at the word “survey,” we promise that this is not a gimmick. Each survey is a guaranteed 300 points (which equals $3).
With most survey sites, you spend five minutes answering tons of questions, only to be disqualified. Pinecone Research is not like that. Usually there are only 4-5 questions to see if you’re qualified, and it’s hard to be disqualified (unless it’s about pet food and you don’t have any pets or something).
Additionally, each month you can get an automatic 300 points by uploading your Amazon purchasing history (not personal information).
We usually do about 4 surveys per month, plus get the 300 points for the Amazon history. This adds up to about $15 per month = $180 per year (which we redeem for Paypal cash or Amazon gift cards usually). Pinecone Research is currently accepting new applicants HERE.
Wondering how to live a frugal life? Learn how the Mormons do it!
Achievement is one of our favorite ways to earn extra money! If you have an exercise tracker (like Fitbit), you can link it with Achievement and earn points for logging your exercise, food, etc. It’s a great way to motivate you to be healthy!
Once you get to 10,000 points, they send you a $10 check. We typically turn around and buy a gift card of some kind with this money and save it for our no-cost Christmas.
This one is a bit slow for earning, but you earn by basically doing what you should already being doing anyway. We get enough points for an Amazon giftcard about four times per year, so $40 total. GO HERE to see the list of the 25+ apps that can sync with Achievement to earn you points!
Get in shape with this couch to 5k plan!
MileUp for a no-cost Christmas
MileUp is an app that tracks the miles you drive and gives you points for them. (Tip: once installed, change your settings so that it only updates when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Otherwise it will eat up your data).
The points for driving can only be used to purchase entries into giveaways. That’s not why we like MileUp, though. Once you’ve had the app on your phone and have driven for a bit, you can upload your C.L.U.E. report for enough gift card points to purchase $100 in gift cards! The C.L.U.E. report is just the same driving history that a car insurance company accesses when getting a quote for your car insurance.
The point of MileUp is to help people drive safer – they see your accident history and compare it with your driving style. Also, if you are in an accident, you can submit the accident report and get $250 in gift card points! Accidents aren’t great, but this help makes it a bit easier.
In 2018, Phillip and I each submitted our C.L.U.E. reports and got $200 in Amazon/Target gift cards! CLICK HERE to get the app!
If you have a car payment (or any other debt), learn how to pay it off quickly! If you have a lot of debt, read about how this couple paid of $300,000 in three years by reading the Bible!
Rare Patient Voice for a no-cost Christmas
Do you or a loved one have a chronic health condition? Or are you a caregiver of someone who is chronically ill?
Rare Patient Voice is an organization that puts health researchers in touch with patients and caregivers so they can express their voices. You get a $5 Amazon gift card when you initially sign up and qualify. After that, you can earn $50+ for each interview/survey that you qualify for! Obviously, there are not dozens of opportunities each month, but it is definitely worth it when they do happen! I have Crohn’s disease, and in 2018 I participated in two different 60-90 minute telephone interviews and was rewarded $325 for my time!
If you have a chronic illness, you have probably gone through the stages of grief. We’ve learned a lot in our marriage because of Tiffany’s health issues, and it’s easy to feel like a bad mom when you’re sick all the time.
VeryDice is a new app where you roll dice for free, earn tickets based on the rolls, and exchange those tickets for items you can purchase on Amazon as part of your no-cost Christmas!
You could choose to buy rolls if you really want, but we don’t recommend it. Instead, just open the app once a day to spin a wheel that gives you a certain number of free rolls.
Within our first two weeks of using VeryDice, and we earned enough tickets to “purchase” a Christmas toy that is normally $10 on Amazon! On average, we earn $50 worth of prizes with VeryDice each year. If you want to get the app, then use our friend code 961160 to get an extra 50 rolls to start with!
In addition to rolling dice, you can also easily improve your finances by watching Netflix!
Ibotta is a rebate app where you upload your receipt from your grocery trips and receive money back. You can receive your rewards when you reach $20, and you can either cash out to Paypal/Venmo or receive gift cards for the same amount.
We received over $200 in Ibotta rewards in 2018! If you download the app HERE or use our code uottmxp then you can get an extra $10 when you redeem your first rebate! (Exclusions apply, see app for details.)
Save even more on groceries by learning how to coupon!
Dosh is a cash-back app that is kind of a combination of Ibotta and Ebates or Swagbucks. You get cash-back on purchases like Ebates or Swagbucks, but it works for in-store purchases like Ibotta does as well!.
You don’t even have to upload pictures of receipts! Just link your debit or credit card (or even a pre-paid card with $0 balance) to Dosh and get a FREE $5. Then each time you make a qualifying purchase with your regular card, you get cash back that you can cash out to Paypal.
It’s a great way to have a no-cost Christmas!
An earlier version of this post was written by Tiffany on The Crazy Shopping Cart
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