How I Spent Only $30 on Holiday Gifts

84/365 - So far, so good!Hard to believe, but it’s true.

I spent just $30 this year for holiday gifts for the family. I buy for my parents, my Nana, a family friend, three nephews, one niece, two children and a husband. Each year the amount I can afford to spend for the holidays decreases based on cost of living for us on Long Island. In turn, this means I have had to figure out how to continue to give truly wonderful gifts, but not pay for them.

I know—I didn’t think I could do it either. Shockingly, I’ve figured out tricks to spending less and less each year. I am impressed with my $30 this year, but my goal next year is to knock it down to just $15 for the same amount of people. However, this post is about this year and how I did all my shopping for just $30, so here we go…

First, I redeemed points I earned all through the year at Swagbucks, My Coke Rewards, Pampers, RewardPort and MyPoints. At Pampers I redeemed points for free photo gifts for my parents and Nana. At RewardPort, I redeemed points for gift cards to one of my favorite stores, Target. Over at My Coke Rewards I redeemed a gift card for my husband and so on and so forth.

The biggest redeeming happened at Swagbucks. I get a lot of points from the various ways to earn points such as daily polls, no sign up deals, just checking my daily surveys, doing searches on the internet, watching videos and referring friends. Tons of ways to earn without spending a penny! All of those points were redeemed for gift cards. The gift cards were used to shop with at my favorite stores during sales and with big coupons. Those gift cards were stretched to “infinity and beyond.”

Here’s my huge hint for redeeming points: check to see the best value for redeeming your points. For example: Amazon gift cards are redeemable in values of $5 and it costs less “points” to redeem 4 of them, as opposed to redeeming points for one larger gift card. Just sit down and do your math! I stretch those points to the outer limits and beyond.

Second, I scoured the internet for free offers. I get a lot of them emailed to me from Snapfish, Shutterfly, Vistaprint and other companies that love to do a freebie photobook, or collage. I just pay shipping, which is why this year I paid $30 for gifts. It was for shipping my free gifts to me, not the actual gifts. My family will be getting fabulous photo gifts like calendars, books, pens, post it notes, flip books and re-usable totes!

Finally, holiday cards. I don’t pay for these either. Do you know how many photo places have offers for free cards? Pretty much every one of them. Just keep your eye out, sign up for the various photo companies emails and make sure to fan them on Facebook. I’ve ordered photo cards from everyone, paid nothing and all I will pay for is mailing them. Small price to pay for amazingly beautiful, personal cards.

However, this year, I’m doing something different. I received free stickers from a contest I ran, so I’m making my own with card stock, the stickers and stamps—again, I’ll only pay for postage. I cut down on the postage costs by handing our cards to relatives and friends we see prior to the holidays at family gatherings, or short visits. Just mail out the ones to out of towners!

And that’s how I spent $30 for the holidays this year.

*Pampers link & Swagbucks link are both November Sunflower’s referral links.



  1. […] When the check arrives, cash it before you lose it! Then, it can go back into the original spending category to lower the next month’s budget. Or, you can use all of your rebate money for something specific—save for vacation, buy holiday gifts or add to your emergency savings. Last year, Staci, who blogs her frugal ways at November Sunflower, paid for all of Christmas with rebates & cash back shopping. […]

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