Dollar Store Gift Guide

Ready for three super-easy, super-cheap gift ideas? Put on your frugal santa hat and let's get crafty!

Before you laugh, before you decide that I’ve gone off the frugal deep end…let me explain. You won’t actually be buying a gift from the dollar store, you’ll be buying the supplies to make a Dollar Store craft that is oh, so worthy of gift giving. I promise, cross-my-heart…nobody will suspect that you only spent … Read more

Secrets of a Savvy Shopper – 6 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

save money on christmas

save money on christmas

The countdown to Christmas is on!

Let the shopping begin!

This year, you will save money on Christmas shopping when you use my 6 savvy shopping secrets!

You’ll learn how to buy a dress at J.C. Penny that is normally $60 for only $27.20, and that’s not just because it’s on sale!  Read on and learn the secrets of a savvy shopper!

Plan Ahead, Make Lists

  • Planning ahead gives you TIME, and time is required to shop for bargains!
  • I love lists because they are one of the best tools for planning ahead and saving money.
  • Lists will keep you organized – don’t you hate spending a day of shopping, coming home & realizing you forgot something?  Lists will prevent that!
  • Lists will help you feel in control especially when you check them off!
  • Important lists:  gift list, Christmas card list and meal/party planning lists.
  • Be prepared, don’t shop without a list!

Preview the Black Friday 2011 Ads 

  •  You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to look at the Black Friday ads…catch a sneak peek by visiting  Some ads are already posted!
  • Read the fine print!  If it says quantities are limited…don’t get your heart set on that deal unless you plan to be one of the first in line.
  • Prioritize!  You can’t be at all the stores at once, so go for the big ticket items first to maximize your savings OR get your husband to turn off the football game and run few errands!
  • Use the internet to compare prices before you hit the stores.  Sites like allow you to search by product, compare prices and read reviews.
  • Don’t forget your list!  It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy & make impulse purchases.

Buy Discounted Gift Cards

  • Do you know that you can buy discounted gift cards to hundreds of stores & restaurants?  Even better, nobody will know that you didn’t pay full price!
  • Here’s how – go to:
    Click on “buy a gift card”, browse the available stores and restaurants and buy cards for any stores you’ll be shopping during the Christmas season.
  • Right now you can get a JC Penny gift card for 15% off!  I suggest using it when JC Penny is having a big sale and combine it with a coupon from their newspaper ad.  Yes, this is how you can buy that $60 dress for only $27.20.
  • Discounted gift card inventory changes daily, so check regularly!
  • If a gift card you want is sold out, you can set up an alert, and you’ll receive an email when that gift card is available.
  • If you shop online, ecodes are available for some discounted gift cards.  Once you purchase these, they are immediately available for use.
  • Here’s the catch…discounted gift cards take about 1 week to arrive, so order now & be ready to shop Black Friday!

Are You an Online Shopper?  Learn how to earn Cash Back

  • Sign up for (it’s free) and you’ll earn cash back on your online purchases plus you’ll discover money saving coupon codes.
  •  Here’s how it works…
  •  Let’s say I want to make a photo calendar for Christmas.
  • Go to and on the left side of the page, click on “electronics and photos” to see a list of stores, and how much cash back you’ll earn.
  •  I discover that Snapfish is offering 20% cash back and a coupon code for free shipping.
  • Click shop now & you’ll be taken to the Snapfish site.
  • Every 3 months, ebates will send you a BIG FAT CHECK!
  • Whenever you’re shopping online, get in the habit of making ebates your first stop!  They work with over 1200 stores, so they’ll likely have just what you need!

Learn The Outlet Mall Lingo

  • Don’t assume everything’s cheaper just because it came from an outlet mall!  Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross & Homegoods frequently offer better deals.
  • Do your homework first – you know the drill:  make a list and compare prices online before you hit the outlet mall.
  • Learn the lingo that you might see on the tags…
  • MFO stands for Made for Outlet which means it won’t be the same quality as their regular store.
  • Irregular – means slightly imperfect, so inspect carefully!  Irregular items are usually a really good deal if you can live with the imperfections.
  • Refurbished – these items have been inspected, tested and restored to their original condition.  Refurbished items are common  in electronics stores, and the prices are great!  Just make sure to ask if it comes with the same warranty as a new item (most do!).

Take Advantage of Daily Deals
If you’re not already paying attention to daily deal sites like Groupon and Eversave, today is a great day to start! Groupon has recently started offering nationwide daily deals on great gifts like a personalized children’s book for half price! Check out the Groupon Gift Store today and everyday during the shopping season!

Now you know the secrets of a savvy shopper, so go forth and save money!