Tips on Affording the Holidays + $300 GC Giveaway

10:09 PM


Black Friday has officially kicked off the start of the holiday season and we are all feeling our wallets getting a little lighter. So how do you afford everything. Gifts for grandma, the kids and everyone else in between. With all the expense, many people (myself included) are struggling to figure out how to make it work. These tips can help you save money and budget for the holidays.

{Saving a Little Really Adds Up}

I try to find small ways to save a little bit of money up for the holidays throughout the year. Back in June I opened an Even Up savings account with my bank. This account rounds my purchases up to the nearest dollar amount when I make a purchase with my debit card and puts those cents into a separate savings account. I have not touched it since then and have an extra $250 for Christmas shopping. Finding small ways to save can really add up.

{Shop the Deals}

Black Friday isn't the only day of the year you can save money. There are deals all throughout the holiday season, you just have to be willing to keep your eyes open and do some research. Research sales fliers and online deals and discounts to get the best price. You can easily save 40-50 percent on purchases with a little vigilance. 

{Take Out a Cash Advance}

If all else fails and you just need a small advance on money that you know is coming in, a cash advance could save the holiday! H&R Block's Emerald Advance credit line can give you up to $1,000 in cash for what you need now. You don't need to be a previous customer of H&R Block to enter, you just need a valid photo ID and your most recent paycheck stub, not even a W-2! You can check out more on the Emerald Advance credit line at the link above.

{Win It}

H&R Block knows how hard it is to afford the holidays. They are giving one Life With 4 Boys reader $300 to help with your shopping this year. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below and the giveaway is open to US residents 18+ only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize was provided by H&R Block and may be shipped to the winner by H&R Block, but H&R Block is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of H&R Block. Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the US only. Winner to be chosen at random. 

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160 comments

  1. Watching the sales and shopping on Black Friday (online, from home!) and Cyber Monday. :)

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  2. I like to do all the trimmings and stocking stuffers myself to money since that all adds up.

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  3. I write up a list with a budget before I start shopping and I stick to it. I also look for bigger priced items online and in newspaper adds to see where I can get the best price.
    Thanks so much.
    rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. Have a list and set a budget! Find everything I can online on sale and skip wasting gas and time driving.

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  5. Make the holidays about enjoying life and family and friends instead of who can purchase the most expensive gift. Make pacts with family and friends to search for unique and interesting items that aren't pricey but fit perfectly for the giftee.

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  6. Watch for sales and shop throughout the year and stash it away
    debbie jackson
    djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

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  7. I definitely shop the deals around the holidays. I love using Amazon Prime to get fast shipping, plus Amazon has great deals all the time!

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  8. i run around and use all the coupons for all the different stores to make the holidays the most affordable.

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  9. Definitely shop around and find the best sales. Don't just settle on one store. Use coupons whenever possible, and also take advantage of rebates.

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  10. Shopping WITHOUT the kids is a sure way to spend less! Of course that means shopping after they go to bed when I am exhausted!

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  11. compare prices, use coupons, and start early!!

    sweetheart4171(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  12. I save money on Christmas gifts by shopping sales year around. For the remaining things on my list, I compare prices online and use promo codes when possible.

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  13. I like to give gift cards because you can set a limit and stick to it. Our local supermarket also has gas rewards that I can get by buying my gift cards there. Check around for rewards deals in your area.

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  14. I have a budget and watch the sales and shop Black Friday. I will also buy presents any time of the year if I find a good deal on something.

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  15. Ads, price matches and online coupons!!

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  16. I do price comparing and shop during sales!

    Amanda Sakovitz on rafflecopter form

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  17. family pictures make great gifts

    ssgsweeps @hotmail .com

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  18. I don't go overboard on the Christmas shopping and I make a budget and compare prices. I also figure out what I'm going to buy for everyone beforehand, it helps.

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  19. Price comparison is essential during holidays. Also shop online via cash back site and use coupon codes.

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  20. use coupons and watch for sales, and use ebates

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  21. use lots of coupons and shop during sales.
    rounder9834 @yahoo.com

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  22. stick to your budget!! always look for coupons and deals!

    steph coupons

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  23. i watch of sales!

    freebiel0ve@yahoo.com

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  24. I start shopping a few months in advance and get things on sale.
    marcia.goss@gmail.com

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  25. I start scouring the internet, papers, stores, and everything else to see deals or sales. We also have a small group of people that email or text others when they see a good sale at a store. If you are patient the item you want will be on sale, probably multiple times, before Christmas arrives.

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  26. I compare prices on everything. I also try to shop online and use free shipping codes.

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  27. My best tip on saving money during the holidays is to really watch the sales, use online coupon sites and free shipping offers.

    april yedinak

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  28. using coupon codes and shopping online

    kport207 at gmail dot com

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  29. My family and I never use credit cards. We save up throughout the year and do overtime. I also watch for sweepstakes throughout the year from my favorite bloggers. When I win something I tuck it away for Christmas.

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  30. I make jams (blackberry, strawberry, apricot...) during the summer in small decorative jars, then bake lemon bread (I've got a lemon tree) and put it all together in a pretty basket. For adults, I add a pretty bottle of blackberry liquour (home made also).

    sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  31. I like to watch for sales and get stores to do price matches!

    tamilynn59@yahoo.com

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  32. Keeping a budget.
    davidholder3@gmail.com

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  33. wait for sales and free shipping (i do all my shopping online)

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  34. Search ahead of time and find the best deals before heading out.

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  35. Always look for sales, use coupons and codes, check prices online.

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  36. My best tip is to purchase things throughout the year and use coupons as often as possible (d schmidt rafflecopter)

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  37. Always make a list so you are less likely to impulse buy

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  38. I save money throughout the year and also buy gifts all year when their on sale.

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  39. Track prices on the Internet and compare them between stores. Also look at store circulars for coupons.

    Name on rafflecopter: Mary Happymommy

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  40. Keep a list so you don't forget the presents you've already purchased.

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  41. Use coupons and shop for items on sale

    elena150980 at yahoo dot com

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  42. I set up a santa saver account & put money in it every paycheck.

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

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  43. Research items before buying them

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  44. My way of saving money is being prepared by making a list of the gifts you want to purchase, and sticking to it.

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  45. I always use coupon codes whenever I order online

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  46. Online Coupon Codes is my favorite way to shop and save

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  47. I use coupons
    merleandtina@yahoo.com

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  48. I use the envelope system. I put cash into envelopes and mark the recipient’s name on each one. When I’m shopping, I only use what’s in the envelope and then put the receipt in the same envelope when I’ve made my purchases. This way I don’t go over my budget and I can keep track of the receipts in case there’s something that needs to be returned.

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  49. I like to comparison shop online to be sure I'm getting the best price.

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  50. Buy things ahead of time when on sale and save them for the holidays!

    Jennifer Marie

    lilnursejen at yahoo dot com

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  51. cutting coupons!

    vanitizebaby at yahoo dot com

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  52. Draw names for gift-giving. Don't feel pressured to give everyone something. s2inamug at aim dot com

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  53. Don't spend more than you have and be sure to use coupons online and in store, and watch for sales.

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  54. we do secret santa and buy for just 1 person!

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  55. I put money in a separate savings account all year and then when the holiday's get here I have the extra money.

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  56. Shop early on clearance racks and try to win your Christmas gifts!!

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  57. I save gift cards all year and only purchase gifts with gift cards!

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  58. shop the sales papers and comparison shop online. I don't buy anything big without searching online for the best price. A lot of stores are matching prices so don't forget that too. Thank you!
    crystalfaulkner2000 at yahoo dot com

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  59. I set a dollar limit for each person before beginning shopping, make a list for each person, and then make sure I stick to it.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  60. shop sales and stick to your list (Nancy Partin)

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  61. Dont put anything on credit.
    Thanks for the chance.
    mogrill12@gmail.com

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  62. Pare down your must give list. Your extended family would probably appreciate it too. I'm only buying what I can pay cash for.

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  63. I put a little money away each month so that when the holidays arrive I don't have to pull money from what's currently coming in. It makes a huge difference!

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

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  64. We just do not even attempt to buy presents for "one and all". We have begun to do ONLY the children. LOL Who have too much anyhow! But it is fun to get them something to open. The wee ones who believe in Santa are the most fun to gift.

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  65. Set up Google Alerts for your Hot Items so you can know instantly when you can get a good price!

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  66. Shop sales after Christmas!

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  67. Start shopping as early as possible. It never hurts!

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  68. I shop throughout the year and use coupons and watch items when they go on sale:)

    jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

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  69. I save money by shopping throughout the year and buying things when they are on sale!

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  70. Plan a budget and stick to it. Also shop throughout the year if you can

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  71. I shop all year if I come across good deals. And I always look online for deals/coupons/free shipping.

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  72. A great way to say is by doing surveys on the internet ahead of time! Most pay in Amazon or Visa Gift Certificates/Cards and you can easily shop for grandchildren with these!

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  73. MAKE your gifts. This year I'm personalizing hot pads and towels.

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  74. Only buy what you can afford....with cash.

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  75. I save money by staying out of the malls and mking homemade gifts.
    helenkeeler1949@gmail.com

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  76. I put money aside and that is all that is in the budget and I try to do alot of homemade things sewing and baking~

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  77. Buy gifts on sale all year round and check them off your list.

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  78. try to shop on black friday and cyber monday to save a few dollars.

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  79. We use a Christmas club account and stay within that budget so NO Credit cards are used at Christmas.

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  80. I buy presents on sale the rest of the year.

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  81. I keep my eyes peeled at my local thrift stores, alot of times they get discontinued items from stores, and I have saved alot of money buying new products from my favorite thrift stores! I shop them for gifts the whole year through.

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  82. i research for prices, use coupons or codes, try to find free shipping, buy on sale, buy early. i do what i can...

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  83. I shop throughout the year and take advantage of closeout sales, flash sales

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  84. Any gift cards/extra monies I get throughout the year go towards Christmas!

    Thanks,

    selinda_mccumbers at yahoo.com

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  85. save throughout the year

    bettty grace
    tthomason0031@hotmail.com

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  86. I shop sales and clearance year around so I don't have a huge amount to pay all at once.
    traymona[at]aol.com

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  87. watch emails for the sales and use coupons

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  88. I shop year round and avoid last minute shopping which can end up costing more (Debra L. Guillen)

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  89. Always check clearance shelves. Sometimes there are great gifts.

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  90. Check clearance shelves and racks...and you could teach your family that 1 gift is really all that is necessary..if that...the adults no longer exchange gifts...we all just do 1 gift for the kids in each family...like board games or family passes to fun things in the area to do

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  91. Do your research so you know you are getting the best deal

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  92. I make some of my gifts - like necklaces, scarves hats and mittens.
    Get my supplies on sale through out the year.
    Thank you.

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  93. We quit soda entirely, better off all the way around.

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  94. Find & follow deal-seekers on twitter to stay up-to-date with giveaways & deals!

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  95. Check the price comparison sites for the best bargains, set up alerts for the things you want

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  96. I always watch prices through the year and combine online discounts and coupons, and I also use ebates for cash back.

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  97. I normally shop throughout the whole year. I pick up bargains and by thanksgiving I am through shopping.

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  98. Leave a comment on this post letting me know your best tip on saving money and affording the holidays.

    dont spend any! seriously!

    kelsweeps@yahoo.com

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  99. Make your list, stick to it and wait for the sales.

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  100. My best tip is to actually make a budget per person (spend $30 on Uncle Mike, etc.) and stick to it. It works for me every year!

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  101. Search for coupons on your smartphone while you shop in stores. There are lots out there.

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  102. I used coupons and always looked for deals.

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  103. Cheaper is better. I just go for the best prices I can get!!

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  104. My tip is to compare prices online against store circulars for the best deals.

    kellywcuATyahooDOTcom

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  105. Shop all year long for best deals and use cash back sites with free shipping.

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  106. keep track of sales
    jessicawedwards@gmail.com

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  107. save a little each month
    Judy s
    pookiecat123 at yahoo dot com

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  108. Start shopping all the sales right after Christmas for the following year.

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  109. My best tip is to price compare. I often use Google Shopping and Nextag to compare prices in different retailers

    Nathansmommy619(At)aol(dot)com

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  110. I try to shop at places like TJ Maxx an Gordman's,saves a bunch of money!

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  111. look for sales whenever possible
    gabbflabber@live.com

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  112. If you shop online, always look for discount codes

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  113. Make a list and so lots of price comparison. Also, start buying gifts way before the holidays. When you shop at the last minute you tend to pick up overpriced things.

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  114. watch for free shipping.

    pintworks at hotmail dot com

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  115. shop around and find the best sales

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  116. Don't use credit cards. If you can't pay for it with cash, you can't afford it!

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  117. I put $20 a week up all year long for the holidays.

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  118. I shop sales, deals and use coupons. Molly Bussler

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  119. make a budget and stick to it
    Thanks for the giveaway! Janna Johnson jannajanna@hotmail.com Janna@feedyourpig on gfc

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  120. I put up things for gifts all year long
    addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com

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  121. My best tip would be to buy after Christmas sales to find cheap items to give the following Christmas!

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  122. My tip for saving money is look for presents ahead of time and buy them when they are on sale if it will be lower than the xmas sales that they have. My other tip is to buy things in bulk when they are on sale or if you have a coupon for them.

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  123. Shop the sales & use coupons/coupon codes.


    calidreamin87 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  124. On saving money and affording the holiday...I just remember the reason for the season and know that it is not about gifts, excess and hoopla. I'm taking a stand against the whole commercialization aspect of the month.

    *Wendy T on Rafflecopter

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  125. Comparison shop online and use credit card and/or website cash back programs!

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  126. I try to buy christmas things in the sales after christmas, ready for next year

    sweepymummy at yahoo dot com

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  127. search for coupon codes on the internet jen gersch intime@myself.com

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  128. Shop year round so you don't spend so much at Christmas :)

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  129. I try to re-use decoration from previous year, it rally helps me save some $$

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  130. My best tip is to start your shopping early and always do comparison shopping!
    rjwashington2000@yahoo.com

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  131. My bank has a handy feature, they pull a specific amount from my checking account each month and put it in my savings account. It's great!

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  132. I buy gifts through out the year whenever they go on sale

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  133. shop the sales when you have toy coupons that can be used on sale merchandise!

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  134. Online shopping and price matching!

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  135. Coupons,online shopping, shopping through the year.

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  136. look for coupon codes using search engines

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  137. Buy gifts throughout the year when they are on sale.

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  138. Shop all year long so you can pick your price and don't get stuck paying last minute prices.

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  139. save a little every month. shop thrift stores.
    Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  140. Watch for sales, shop online and use ebates and coupon codes

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  141. I shop year round and also make some of my presents to save money (Debra L. Guillen)

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  142. My best tip is to make a list and shop for specific items, AND to find freebies! There are lots of them online, and if an item is full size, it makes a great stocking stuffer!

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  143. I love using coupons this time of year.

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  144. I did surverys throughout the year and entered giveaways with Amazon codes so by the time Christmas came around I was able to get presents for my kids for free. Otherwise our budget is very tight and I wouldn't have been able to afford presents.
    snowwolf222@yahoo.com

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  145. I coupon throughout the year and also have a christmas savings club set up that I put money into throughout the year.

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  146. My tip is to stick to your budget and look around for the best deals. Last year we spent less than we planned but got all we wanted and more because we shopped around!

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  147. Compare prices online before you even go to the store, and know your store's ad matching policy and coupon policy. Many stores will at least ad match during the holidays so you don't have to go to multiple stores.

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  148. start early and look for sales coupons and discounts - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

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  149. I usually use coupons, follow sales and put aside some money from my paycheck every month!

    annemarie562000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  150. I use price matching to get the best possible deal

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  151. Do your shopping all year long. I look through all clearance racks I come across. You never know what you might find. Thanks for the chance.

    sweetascandy579 at yahoo dot com

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  152. If you can, wait to do your Christmas shopping until after Christmas (when everything is discounted) or give gift cards so that money goes further

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  153. plan ahead and don't buy on impulse!

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