Christmas Shopping With Fake Money: Time to Get Started
Last year, I wrote about Christmas shopping for my husband using "fake money" and it generated some excitement among readers who wanted to try it themselves for Christmas 2010. This post is laying down the gauntlet: If you want to shop with fake money for this holiday season, it's time to get moving!
The "fake money" I used last year came from swagbucks, an Amazon promotional credit, my PayPal balance, store credits, coupons, and free offers. This year, I have a bigger goal: Do all my holiday shopping with fake money.
Why do I feel that I can do this? Well, I have a lot more fake money this year. A little thing called Groupon gained steam since last holiday season, and I have earned many, many Groupon Bucks by promoting the excellent daily deals here and on my other blog. And I have a lot more SwagBucks than I had last year too, thanks to readers who have signed up through me. (Seriously. Thanks, readers.)
Here's what I am doing now, before the first green leaf has changed color, to prepare for Dec. 25:
- Sign up for free Amazon Prime, which will allow me to ship my fake-money purchases for free. Right now you can get a year of free Prime through Amazon Student (if you have a .edu email address), or three months if you sign up for Amazon Mom. That would end before Christmas, but you can extend it by a month every time you spend $25 on certain products.
- Build up my SwagBucks. SwagBucks earned for your own searches build up gradually over time, but you can really rack them up if you install the toolbar and watch for new Swag Codes to be released, then use those to encourage your friends or contacts on Facebook and Twitter to sign up through you.
- Trade in SwagBucks for gift cards — and not spending them. Since there are limits on how many gift cards you can redeem during each two-week period and on each day, it's a good idea to start trading in SB for gift cards now in order to shop later.
- Watch Groupon with an eye for gifts. Groupon will give you $10 for every new member who signs up through you and makes one purchase — and some deals go for as little as $5. Once you have some credits, keep an eye out for items that will make great gifts. Don't tell the people on my list, but a lot of them will be getting cashews and such from The Nutty Guys this year, since it's been featured several times on various cities' Groupon deals. (There are lots of other daily deal sites too, many of which also pay affiliate fees or credits.)
- Accumulating freebies that might go in gift baskets. Even though I'm busier than ever, I still stop into CVS and Walgreens to grab freebies using "the drugstore game," and some of the items I get are quite valued by those I love. My Grandma is notoriously hard to buy for — but her eyes lit up last Christmas when she got my basket of ThermaCare wraps and Metamucil.
So, who's with me? I'd love to hear your ideas on how to Christmas shop for free this year.
Disclosure: I used my referral links to the various stores and reward programs I used, so if you would like to sign up for any of them through this post, I will receive a small payment or credit.