12 Ways to Get Inexpensive Presents for Each Person on Your List

While Christmas falls on the same December day every single year without fail, some of us still feel like we don’t plan ahead enough. In addition, there are so many things to do that by the time the holidays are over it’s almost a relief. Whether we are prepared or not, though, Christmas day eventually arrives.

But for some people, preparing for the holidays is easier said than done. When budgets are already tight and the list is long, paying for everything can be a real struggle.

Nevertheless, there are 12 ways to get inexpensive presents for each person on your list.

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Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping (From a Fellow Mom)

Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

It’s hard to believe, but Back-to-School season is already here. The evenings are slowly starting to get shorter again, vacation time is just about all used up, and planning for school is in motion at full-speed ahead. Whether your student is preparing for college or kindergarten, back-to-school shoppers will spend roughly $688 per household this year, with 64% spent on electronics and apparel, the National Retail Federation (NRF) states. In fact, results show in the NRF’s annual survey that the combined 2017 spending for college and primary education will be $83.6 billion, a 10% increase from last year. While overwhelming, there are actually plenty of ways to save on back-to-school shopping. Below are just a few from a fellow mom:

Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

Tips from a Fellow Mom:

I spoke with my good friend Krista, who currently lives in Philadelphia, to find out how she saves on back-to-school shopping. She and her husband just bought a new house, so I know she is definitely not trying to spend $600 on supplies.

“[Even before the house], when it comes to saving money, I’m all about it. It’s my passion,” she joked. “Back to school shopping is more than just pencils and a new lunch box – it spans to include shoes, jackets, a new haircut, and more. Add that to activity and sports fees, field trips, etc. and sending your child back to school became a bigger cost than budgeted.”

So, going beyond the coupons and sales, here are some ways she saves that you can try as well: 

1. “Know where you will shop and buy a gift card,” she advises. “Do you always shop at a particular store for clothing? Perhaps you love Kohls or TJ Maxx for back to school clothing. If you are going to a particular place to shop, you can save up to 20% off by purchasing a gift card ahead of time. Check out Raise.com for discounted gift cards that have a money-back guarantee. You have the peace of mind knowing the gift card is authentic and the savings in your wallet. Combine these savings with a coupon code or cashback site if you’re shopping online, and you can save up to 35-40%.”

Now, that’s a deal.

2. Another simple way that Krista saves money? Signing up for loyalty programs and email lists. This especially comes in handy when your child needs a back-to-school eye exam, haircut, or even a physical. 

In the last week, I have received 4 offers for free back to school kid haircuts and an offer for a free eye exam. This saves us extra money and exposes us to a new business that we will likely go back to in the future.”

3. Ask yourself, does it need to be new? Krista raises the point that kids grow out of clothing, shoes, sports equipment, and so on so fast that sometimes they don’t even wear what we bought.

“You can save upwards of 75% retail by shopping children’s consignment sales,” she said. “There may be many in your area coming up for the fall. A quick Google search can put you in touch with savings opportunities around the corner.”


Some General Tips:

In general, there are other ways to save on back-to-school shopping, especially for those headed to college. Here are a few:

  • Make a List: Make a list of what you need, then, before you even think about shopping, do an inventory check of what you already have. By cross-checking your lists of needs and haves, you’ll avoid spending money you did not need to spend.
  • Determine a Budget (And Stick With It): Once your list is made, create a budget for your back-to-school shopping and stick with it. Don’t allow trends or unnecessary product features affect you spending goals.
  • Go online: Regardless of age, there are many savings to be had by shopping online. A great site to find textbooks cheaper is textbooks.com. You can purchase hard copies or electronic versions as well as sell books to other people.
  • Save By Waiting: If you’re a procrastinator when it comes to shopping, you’ll actually be able to benefit by this trait in some ways. Pencils, notebooks, and even fall clothes will all be cheaper at the end of August and beginning of September. The cost of clothes can certainly add up, so waiting for deals before you splurge will be a great money-saving tactic for which your bank account will thank you.
  • Buy in Bulk: While buying in bulk is not always great for grocery shopping, it is when it comes to school supplies such as those notebooks and binders. These are items your student will likely need next year, too, so save money by stocking up ahead of time.

When you put your mind to it, you’ll find some really creative ways to save on back-to-school shopping. What tips would you add to the list that have worked for you?

The Importance of Understanding Auto Insurance (And How It Could Save You Money)

understanding auto insurance

Having auto insurance is one of those essentials you need if you drive…legally, that is. Not just that, but having auto insurance does protect you and your vehicle should anything happen, whether it be a head-on collision or a hit-and-run. You need to see your car as an investment because it is. Thus, understanding auto insurance will be wise so that you know you are getting the best deal (and not just emptying your bank account). Here’s how you can save money while still ensuring you’re protected:

Understanding Auto Insurance

Compare Before You Buy

Similar to the concept of “try before you buy,” you want to always compare quotes side-by-side. In fact, you do not even need to wait until you are buying to do a comparison. Many companies would be more than happy to go over cost-savings with you based on your current insurance provider. But, if you don’t want to deal with a salesperson, do the comparison online.

For most providers, they will offer to email you an initial quote first based on the information you filled out. Once you do this for multiple companies, you can see the best route to take. Some sites, like Progressive, will even do a comparison side-by-side for you, which is a smart sales tactic for them. For a faster look at different quotes from various companies, though, NerdWallet offers a free online tool for you to do just that. Check it out here.

Don’t Go Without It

Every state makes it a requirement for drivers to carry auto insurance. Even motorcycle drivers need to have insurance. If you get caught without it, the costs could be much higher than your monthly premium. If you were to get into an accident, the state may go after your personal assets, you may have higher insurance costs, a suspension of your license, and so on. You can learn more about these penalties at DMV.org.

Be Cautious About Loaning Your Car

Insurance policies go after the vehicle and not the driver. This means that in an accident, they pursue the vehicle at-fault for costs, and whoever owns the car and is the policyholder is responsible for those costs. So, even if you were not the one driving your car, your insurance has to cover it, which will lead to higher insurance rates for you to pay.

More Miles, More Money

The more you drive on a regular basis, the more money you’ll have to pay for an insurance policy. They base this on the increased likelihood of an accident to take place with the amount of times your car is on the road. In order to avoid this increase, try to periodically utilize public transportation instead whenever possible.

Look for Policies With Accident Forgiveness

When you’re in an accident, your premium will typically increase, especially after multiple accidents in a row. That is, of course, unless you have accident forgiveness in your plan.

Put Multiple Cars On One Policy

Many auto insurance carriers have “bundle plans” that allow you to insure more than one car under one policy. This can help you save money rather than going through multiple companies.

Ask About Military Discounts

As a thank-you for serving our country, many companies will give a military discount for those currently enlisted or veterans. Be sure to ask and see they have any options for you.

Overall, understanding auto insurance helps you to save money (or avoid wasting it) by knowing what to look for or mistakes you can prevent. Hopefully, with this knowledge, you’ll be able to find the best coverage and plan for you.

What would you add to the list?