Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Scouring Budget Nooks and Crannies for Christmas Gifting

It's Wednesday - time for another "Works for Me!" tip, inspired by the blog carnival/series at We are THAT Family. Check out this week's carnival here.

November and December take a bite out of almost everybody's budget. The great thing that I am discovering this year, though, is how to scour the nooks and crannies of my budget for little ways that the discounts can add up. It's the product of continuously honed awareness of sales, bulk discounts, rewards systems, couponing, and elbow grease that add up to free or heavily discounted Christmas gifting.

Here's one example: My parents use a Keurig K-Cup machine. They also happen to really like Gloria Jean's Hazelnut coffee.


Watch the nooks and crannies add up through four stacked discounts:

1. For select products, Amazon has a new frustration-free packaging that is more earth-friendly, and cheaper, too! The Gloria Jean's Hazelnut K-Cups in the frustration-free packaging are much cheaper per unit ($0.42/cup) than the regular retail-style-packaged Gloria Jean's Hazelnut K-Cups that Amazon sells ($0.47/cup).

2. Subscribe and Save on the frustration-free package makes the deal sweeter, bringing the per-cup price down from $0.42/cup to $0.36/cup. The great part about Subscribe and Save is that it can be cancelled at any time.

3. I recently redeemed some Swagbucks for a couple of $5 gift cards that will go to this. I just went from paying $17.85 for the Subscribe and Save package to $7.85 out of pocket. Find out how to get started searching via Swagbucks as your search engine - and earning rewards like Amazon gift cards!*

4. I took a jar full of pennies that we've long collected to my Giant's Coinstar machine, where I redeemed them for a gift certificate number printed on the receipt. If you trade change for cash back, you are charged a fee, but if you trade change for a gift certificate from any number of popular retailers, you will receive all of your money back on the certificate. Gina also highlighted a Coinstar deal, through December 6, where you can get $10 extra sent to you by gift card when you trade in $40 or more in coins for a gift certificate.

In my case, a spaghetti sauce jar full of pennies (and just one each of a rogue nickel, quarter, and dime) came to $10.03 credit total! That just more than paid for the rest of the 50 K-Cups. Locate your local Coinstar machines here.


I'm sure that you can see where I'm going here. K-Cups normally retail around $10 for a 16-18 ct. in many stores ($0.55/cup or more), so assuming that I had bought three packs retail, I would have spent $30 to get my parents around 50 Gloria Jean's Hazelnut K-Cups. Using my above "budget scouring" shopping tactics, I covered 50 K-cups - one of their main presents - for free!

I'm going to add some other special treats to these K-Cups - like a couple of tins of the Petite Pirouette Pepperidge Farm cookies that I bought for $1.35/tin at Shopper's triple coupons - to create an overflowing "party hosting" package. For the parents who have everything, a package of yummy consumables makes a pretty practical Christmas gift - for just a few dollars out of pocket.

How are you scouring the nooks and crannies of your budget to pay for Christmas gifts this year? How many discounts can you stack on just one deal?
*Disclosure: if you start a Swagbucks account through our referral link, we will receive Swagbucks rewards matching yours, up to 100 Swagbucks (Thanks!) - and so will you for any swagging friends whom you've referred.
Works for Me Wednesday: Scouring Budget Nooks and Crannies for Christmas GiftingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Ebates and Swagbucks are both easy ways to earn rewards while doing what you normally do - web-searching through Google and shopping for bargains online!


Amy Rainey said...

I found two games at an online shop, Marble Quest-original retail $29.98, and Ripley's Believe It Or Not-original retail 34.98 on clearance for $9.99 and $12.99 respectively. I shopped through ebates, of course. I had to pay shipping, but still got a great deal.
At full retail with shipping- $74.87

My total-$32.00

Not free, but well within my $15-$20 per gift budget.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I agree! Consumables are the perfect gift for people who already have everything!