How to save (and earn!) money while Christmas shopping

If you’re anything like me you’re stuck between a rock called Everyone I Love Deserves the World and a hard place called I Literally Have Very Little Money. Insert all the eye rolls here.

This year I’ve been very diligent about my Christmas shopping. I decided who I would get gifts for and then started listening to what they say they wanted/needed, and have stuck with that list. If I had the money, my mom would be getting a MacBook and my boyfriend would be getting a pair of Danner boots and my dad would be getting airfare and tickets to see the Raiders play. But I don’t have that kind of money.

I’ve been trying to be very careful about when/where I spend money and how I can save (or earn!) a few extra dollars during my Christmas shopping. Here are some ways to save and earn money while you finish up your Christmas shopping this year.

How to save and earn money on Christmas shopping //

ONE // Shop online

Seriously, shop online. Paco Underhill, an environmental psychologist, says that the longer we touch something the more likely we are to buy it. Put your blinders on, get signed on to Amazon, and search only for what you need to buy. If you’re anything like me, Target is home to the $34 creamer because you go in ONLY for creamer and walk out with shampoo, a new pair of socks, a coffee mug, pretzels on sale and maybe creamer if you’re lucky. doesn’t have the same effect though it houses the same (and more!) products.

TWO // REDcard

Speaking of Target, if you don’t have a Target REDcard (ONLY the debit one, please!) you are MISSING OUT. You get 5% off of all of your Target purchases, PLUS you get free shipping on It’s completely free, and I LOVE that they have a debit card option so you don’t have to open a credit card to take advantage of the savings. Sometimes people will say “I don’t go to Target enough for it to pay off,” but it doesn’t matter. When you go to Target, you’ll save 5%. PLEASE. Get yourself a REDcard.

THREE // Cartwheel

Okay last thing about Target. They have an app called Cartwheel that you also need to be using. Like any coupon/money saving app, it will only save you money if you save money on something you were going to buy anyway. 40% off of a purchase you weren’t planning on making isn’t a good deal, it’s still a waste of money. The feature I love the best is searching by barcode. I’ll just search everything in my cart. Sometimes there will be offers on similar products (usually on the Target brand version of what I’m buying) and so I’ll switch out what I’m getting to save the money. So far, I’ve saved over $170 simply by using Cartwheel.

FOUR // Only spend money you have

This one should be basic. It’s a no brainer in my mind, but it’s not. The other day I was talking to someone who was telling me a story of when she put something on her credit card and she said “it wasn’t a huge deal, it wasn’t my money.” and I had to clench my teeth from letting my jaw drop. It’s NOT her money, but she has to pay it back at $.15 per dollar. A credit card IS NOT YOUR MONEY. If you can’t pay for it with real money you have earned, do. not. buy. it. Start saving for Christmas early next year so that you don’t have to pay back Christmas until June PLUS with interest.

FIVE // Use Ebates

Mattie’s been posting about Ebates for awhile now, but a few weeks ago I finally decided to try it out myself and YOU GUYS. SIGN UP FOR EBATES ASAP. You get cash back for online shopping (and some in-store shopping with a linked card… debit, please). I installed the Safari plugin and when I’m on a site about ready to check out, I click the E and it activates the cash back rebate. I had a few gift cards that I used online, and activated Ebates… which means I’ll essentially have made money for using gift cards. Yes please and thank you. Sign up with my link and you’ll get $10.

SIX // Honey

I recently discovered Honey. It’s an extension/plugin that will search the web for coupons and promo codes when you’re on an online shopping site. Even BETTER (and I’m still figuring this part out, so this is just hypotetical) – in addition to saving you money, when you make a purchase you have the chance to claim some bonus points that will be added to your account 60 days after your purchase. I had $10 in Walgreens Balance Rewards points and went online to buy something and Honey found me a code that saved me 25% on my purchase! Jump on board the Honey Train πŸ™‚

SEVEN // Ibotta

By now we should all hopefully know about Ibotta – the app where you unlock rebates, scan the barcode of your purchase and then upload a receipt to get your rebate. But did you know this also applies to bigger purchases at places like Cost Plus World Market, H&M, Groupon, and American Eagle, among others? This app that is normally used just for grocery shopping can also earn you money back for your Christmas shopping, too! Don’t forget – if you join with my Ibotta link, you’ll earn an extra $10 after you redeem your first rebate!

EIGHT // Shopkick

I LOVE SHOPKICK! You guys, Justen and I each redeemed $10 Starbucks gift cards to use at Disneyland, and we got them just by walking into places and scanning stuff. BUT! You also earn points for linked cards. 1 point for every $2 spent at Target, Walmart, and more. 1 point for every $1 spent at Yankee Candle, American Eagle, and Aerie. These points can be redeemed for gift cards… which could be given away as gifts! Helllloooo free Christmas presents!


I hope these eight ways to save and earn money help you not just during the Christmas season but throughout the year as well! Are there any ways you save/earn money that I missed? I’m always excited to discover new tips and tricks to share with my friends and readers! Drop me a comment below.





  1. December 12, 2016 / 9:06 am

    You’re so right about Target going in vs shopping online, I feel like the website is the worst, which is probably for the best because if I’m buying something online I don’t bother with mindlessly browsing for other things very often.

  2. December 13, 2016 / 4:11 am

    I had no idea Target has a debit option for their RED card! I just opened an Ebates account thanks to your post on it πŸ™‚

  3. December 21, 2016 / 11:25 am

    Such good tips, Steph! Online shopping is just as dangerous for me as in-store though, haha. It’s too easy to hit the button and get all the things delivered πŸ™‚

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