Christmas is a big expense that should be budgeted for. It's not just the gifts. There are decorations, extra food, Christmas outfits, parties, and possibly extra travel that can add up fast.
One way to save is to set aside a monthly amount starting in January.
I have a different approach.
Besides a small amount of cash, we save all our rebates from coupon apps, and cash in points with Shoppers Optimum, PC points, and Air Miles. I have also hung onto to any gift cards I've received through promotions at Target and other stores.
The four coupon apps I use are Checkout 51, Cartsmart, Snap by Groupon and Zweet. I haven't cashed these out since last Christmas.
This may not sound like a lot, but the total value of all these apps, points and gift cards is over $1000!
There is another reason I like to cash out only once a year.
It's a lot easier to spend $20 here or a $10 gift card there, but receiving a $150 cheque from a coupon app feels like an accomplishment. I put more thought into how I want to spend that money.
I feel that all the work I've done using a $1 coupon here or there, is worth my time.
Shoppers Optimum Points, I still believe, is one of the best points programs in Canada.
Simply being intentional about buying essentials like milk, butter, and other sale items, I managed to amass over 300,00 points this year.
By using them on a bonus redemption day, I bought $600 worth of items and only paid the tax!
I buy items like stocking stuffers, Christmas wrap and cards, books/magazines, food, electronics, perfume, and other necessities that are hard to find on sale or with coupons.
PC points is a new one I'm using this year. What I like about this program is that I can use my points to "buy" gift cards from Superstore.
Everything from Visa gift cards to restaurant cards can be purchased with points. These offers are based on what I buy, and I can often double up points on one item by also getting in- store offers.
My rule is not to pay for points whether it's Shoppers Optimum or a coupon app. I won't purchase an over priced product just to get more points or use a coupon.
Don't underestimate your rewards programs. You may have a $1000 in store loyalty cards and points too!
Points programs and coupon apps to check into:
Shoppers Drug Mart - Shoppers Optimum Card
Superstore and other Loblaws stores - PC Points Program
Safeway, Sobeys and other retailers - Airmiles
Save On Foods - More Rewards card
The Bay and other retailers - HBC card
Coupon apps available on phones and tablets - Checkout 51, Zweet, Cartsmart, Snap by Groupon, Save.ca
Canadian Tire - Canadian Tire money, now collected easily on a card or app
Costco - executive membership 2% rebate cheques
Various credit card reward programs