This past weekend I wrapped-up (literally) the last of my Christmas shopping. It doesn’t come naturally, but thanks to the power of caffeine and coupons, I’ve become more strategic about where, when and how to snag each stocking stuffer to get the best deal.
Because winter weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable, I stick with brick and mortar stores for most of my seasonal shopping. If I lived in a warmer climate, I wouldn’t leave my laptop. Here are just a few of the ways I maximized at the mall:
- My mom requested a Keurig (like mother, like daughter). After scouting out stores, I chose Bed Bath and Beyond for this buy. Here, I was able to use a 20% store coupon stacked with an 8% cash back bonus by linking the credit card I used to pay with the Ebates app on my phone. Ebates also offers in-store cash back at other major retailers, including Macy’s, Old Navy and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
- The Bed Bath and Beyond closest to me also has a World Market inside the store. So I was able to pick-up some gourmet staples like Southern cornbread stuffing, truffle and Parmesan mashed potatoes and pumpkin lava cake mix for pennies, thanks to a 75% off post-Thanksgiving sale stacked with store coupons and the Ebates app. Now my pantry is stocked and ready for any potlucks that may pop-up this winter.
- Maybe it’s my Walking Dead obsession or the current political climate, but I’ve become concerned with making sure my family is prepared for emergencies. So under the tree they’ll find a survival kit from Wise Company. The only online purchase I made this year, I found MrRebates.com to offer the highest payout for this purchase, at 8% cash back. While MrRebates’ payouts aren’t as consistent as Ebates’ dependable quarterly calendar, I often find their rebates to be more.
- I picked up an assortment of gift cards for our secret Santas. Costco and Sam’s Club offer discounted restaurant, movie theater, gym, spa and travel gift cards, most of which are at least 20% off face value. We have Costco’s Executive Membership which offers an additional 2% cash back and thanks to the company’s move to accepting Visa credit cards, we’re also earning Southwest miles on our purchase.
- Other restaurants and retailers offer gift card bonuses and other perks during the holidays. Ryan and I are weekend regulars at our neighborhood Einstein Bros., which has been offering a $5 bonus with their $25 gift cards. Einstein allows you to purchase gift cards with gift cards, so I turned over as many as I knew we could use before they expire at the end of February. Panera has also been offering a $10 bonus with the purchase of a $50 gift card. And don’t forget to use the Mileage Plus X app at Panera. I’ve never had an issue getting the five miles per dollar redemption even on the purchase of gift cards.
- And I didn’t even have to pay for wrapping paper thanks coupons from Hallmark’s Crown Rewards loyalty program.
The holidays are stressful enough. Don’t max out your credit cards, but do maximize every dollar finding gifts (and better yet, experiences and memories) that will bring joy to your loved ones this year.