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11/23/2011

American Express Holiday Shopping Challenge $250 Giveaway

 There are generally two groups of holiday shoppers.  The people who make it their goal to be finished before Thanksgiving and the people that don't even start until Black Friday.  Now that the craziest busiest shopping season of the year is upon us, it is finally time for me to start tackling my shopping list.  I love the fun of Black Friday, but surrounded by the crowds and deals it is pretty easy to go overboard.  It is really important for me to go in with a plan, so this year I am teaming up with American Express to share some of my favorite holiday smart shopping tips.

You can continue reading this post over on my Review and Giveaway Page.

125 comments:

liz said...

The best thing that we do is to pay cash for everything. That way you are not paying for those toys for the next five years!

Ashley said...

My family draws names for Christmas and sets a spending limit. Makes it easy!

Morgan Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyce said...

What budget? Oh that budget...Well I do my best to shop early and find deals months before Christmas season is in the air.

Morgan Williams said...

We allow a certain amount to be spent on each family member and cannot go over. It helps to have a 'family theme' .. something everyone {or the kids} can share :)

Anonymous said...

I start shopping really early (like, year round, really) to find great prices on gifts. That's the simplest way for me to stay within budget!

Elisa said...

We eliminated cousin exchanges and created "Caring Cousins" instead. The kids earn money and 1 family picks a charity to donate the money to.

As for our own kids, we have money limit and I try to stay with it even though it takes all the self control I can muster. I keep saying to myself "experiences over things" so I don't keep buying more stocking stuffers for the little darlings. When the money is spent I stop shopping. I can't even look or I will loose my control.

I LOVE the small business Saturday idea. Small businesses are the heart and soul of a community.

Ash said...

Mostly I don't. But this year I'm trying an envelope/cash approach. We'll see how it goes!

jill said...

I stay within my budget by having a budget and sticking to it...exceptions are very rare. However when they do occur, we must have the cash on hand or available or it isn't even considered. Credit is no way to live...the borrower is slave to the lender and Christmas gifts are no reason to go into slavery. Merry Christmas!

Renee said...

A good list and paying cash. I do neither of those thngs, but I know they work!

My girlfriend gave me a great tip for balancing out gifts for kids. She gets four gifts a piece:

one to wear
one to read
one they want
one they need

I thought that was cute!

Trav and Linds said...

Every year we make a list of everyone we need to buy for and what we are going to buy, then we make a budget and set aside the cash for all the gifts. It has worked for us so far!

lindsfitch at hotmail dot com

Jen said...

I try to make a list and use cash. If I only have a set amount of cash set aside, then I can't go overbudget. Planning ahead is the key!

Anonymous said...

I find that if I stick to the list and shop around (online), I'll stay close to budget.
Jess

Mrs. Schmid said...

I try to shop all year 'round and get as much on sale as I can!
mrs.schmid(at)gmail(dot)com

B&S said...

We use American Express specifically to get the reward points. We got 2 free flights this year and I have a chunk of money to spend at Amazon. Will be using that for Christmas!

Sherron said...

I keep the number of gifts low. My kids know that they will get 3-4 gifts from mom and dad and Santa. Keep it simple!

Emily said...

We just have set amounts and do a lot of gift cards (which we don't feel bad about because they're our favorite thing to receive!).

dancin' momma said...

We pay cash for everything and make most of the gifts handmade! Paying cash definitely makes you more accountable for what you purchase!

Ashley said...

I start making a Christmas list around July. That way I have time to search for good deals and sales. That keeps us in our budget and gives us more bang for our buck!
ashley.whipple@gmail.com

JC said...

One of my tips is to stick with the list that we made/decided of how much to spend on each person, resist impulse buy.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

JC said...

tweet.http://twitter.com/#!/tcarolinep/status/139448755693948928
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

JC said...

Facebooked.https://www.facebook.com/#!/tcarolinep/posts/2293817581036
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

Lauren said...

I plan on making quite a few gifts and have been on the lookout for the supplies I need for months. I love that I bought everything on sale and they will be personalized!

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

I always pay with cash and I make a list and stick to it.

jmac333wentz@gmail.com

Tiffanyann said...

i like to save money in advance and try to make as many things as possible. also starting way in advance i can wait for a good price and not have to just end up buying something that looks good instead of the thing that the person may want.
tiffanyann_B@hotmail.com

Katie said...

I went exactly $250 over my Christmas budget last year so I'm best person to be asking. Um...Shop sales? :)

But I LOVE my American Express! I really do!

Lori said...

I keep an excel spreadsheet with all my names, ideas and budget to help stay on budget with gifts. :)

COTTAG3 said...

We make a list and set a budget and we do not go over. We pay cash only, no credit cards. For co-workers, friends and neighbors, we bake gifts. My husband and I do not buy gifts for each other. If we can, we buy one gift for the household. This gift card might let us do something special and buy a little surprise gift for each other. Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous said...

I try to buy early and on sale to keep within my budget.

Karie @ The HoB said...

I use cash! I do not even carry my bank cards or any credit cards when I am Christmas Shopping, that way it has to be cash!!

Jess said...

We set aside a certain amount of money each paycheck so that when Christmas comes, we don't really even feel it.

Anonymous said...

I try to buy early. But I am way too generous and find five or six things "on sale" for each person. And I can never pass up a good deal I know they'll love. So don't follow my lead! ;)

Lisa Bauer
Lad_76 at hotmail dot com ;)

cw said...

I stay within budget by using the deals out there (cash back sites like ebates, coupon sites like retailmenot.com, etc). The other way is by making lists and sticking to it

Ashley @ Bride on a Budget said...

I'm plan on doing my research before I buy anything. I want to make sure I get the best deals.

D'Lonna said...

We set a budget for each person and stick to it. It can be harder but it feels better after the holidays when looking at our budget.

Roo said...

To stay in my budget, I always figure out how much I actually have to spend total first. Then I make a list of each person that I need to shop for and put a target amount to spend next to each person's name. Sometimes I spend a little more or less, but it ends up being really close to the amount I have set aside.

Sissi said...

By shopping deals all year long, I'm hoping to stay in my holiday budget.

Unknown said...

I always buy gifts when they are on sale and my family does a secret santa with the adults so we can focus on giving to the kids.

catherine0807@hotmail.com

lorene said...

I have a file box for each child - they are adults with their own families now. but all through the year i put in crayons, disposable razors, toothpaste, gum, notepads, coloring books - just little things. by the time christmas come the box is pretty full. so it's like a BIG stocking stuffer! the kids and grands love it.

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

I make most of my gifts. Except for Grandson!

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

My tweet link: https://twitter.com/#!/muralmaker1/status/139538182747340801

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

FB link: https://www.facebook.com/MuralMakers/posts/10150406808189442

Renae said...

We make lots of our gifts, and Santa brings only 1 "big" gift per kid.

meredith said...

Make a list and watch for when there are sales for gifts on your list.

Anonymous said...

I shop all year ling and use coupons to get the best deals.
Susanericksoncmatyahoodotcom

Eva said...

I don't do christmas presents. If I see something I want to give someone, then I give it to them. But I refuse to buy random junk because it's a holiday.

Sharla said...

I make bulk cute food/holiday dishes and share them between with friends and neighbors between Thanksgiving and Christmas when everyone is so busy for their presents.

A good list is key too!!

LeAnn said...

Last year was the year I DIDN'T stick to my budget. The problem? Every time I went shopping I grabbed stocking stuffers. Fifty dollars here and fifty dollars there, times 5!!! and I was way over budget. This year to help me with my budget I'm doing stockings in one trip!

leannolsen at hotmail dot com

Cindy said...

We have 11 children but likely we spend less than the average family. I keep my eye open throughout the summer to look for nee or almost new items to give the kids. Sometimes this is clothes, often it is a toy, kit, or game. i know for many this is probably outside their comfort zonea as they would only buy new. But my 3yo will be more than thrilled with a huge playmobile castle with hundreds of parts which I paid $35 at rummage sale as opposed to hundreds. We often head out toBlack Friday sales in the wee hours of the morning, especially for higher ticket items like MP3s etc

We also began a tradition if letting the kids pick names to exchNge a gift on CHRISTMAS ADAM, the day before Christmas Eve. The tradition has evolved and now we encourage the giving of a hand made gift since Adam was made by the hand of God. Its a fun twist and I think helps the kids focus on GIVING more than receiving since they are investing time in creating a gift (not a Christmas list for the exchange). We have more info at christmasadam.net

sara e said...

I use my debit card only... and take advantage of fabulous bargains throughout the year for my sons & stash the finds for Christmas and birthdays

Aim said...

I try to make as many presents as possible, this year we are on a super tight budget. So I am scouring the internet for ideas on what to make people.

Kari Clark said...

I use cash. Once it's gone, it's gone.
Kari Clark

Anonymous said...

I LOVE swagbucks! It has helped me get a lot of extra spending money so I don't feel as guilty using our actual money.

Kelly B
kellyburton81(at)yahoo(dot)com

Marina said...

I buy gift cards on sale online and on eBay too!

Anonymous said...

I do what you do, I have a list with all the people's names that I am buying for and a limit of how much I can spend. Then I have all my Christmas money broke down and I know I have enough for everyone as long as I stick to my limits!

Amanda Sours
soursuc@frontier.com

a multitude of things said...

Early morning black Friday shopping. I can get just about everything for incredibly cheap.

susan@pocacosa said...

Open a Christmas account! Every month, deposit a little & at the end of they year, you will have your Christmas money!

chelz said...

i do a lot of after christmas shopping and save it for the next year. target does good toy clearance in feb and then again in july!

MishMashCrafts said...

Hah! Very carefully! It is a challenge.

Susan said...

Our big family get together is on New Years Eve. So I can shop the after Christmas sales for stocking stuffers!!

Amanda King said...

We try to start early and budget a little each month. We also love using loyalty/reward points to get free gift cards and gifts. amandaadnitt@shaw.ca

Anonymous said...

I make my list in October of what I want to get for each person and start finding the deals.

Jenn said...

Holiday budget? What's a holiday budget?

Monica said...

This year we're doing a lot of hand made gifts <3

Gina M Maddox said...

I stay within my budget by shopping at stores with price matching policies! Thanks for the chance to win!

gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Gina M Maddox said...

shared on twitter-http://twitter.com/#!/CrazyItalian0/status/139787902728142848

gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Gina M Maddox said...

shared on fb-https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=253294318062731&id=100001464938109

gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Mia said...

Staying within our holiday budget. We use cash and envelopes. Once the envelope for a family member or friend is empty no more money to spend. Thank you for such a great opportunity.

Morgan said...

We decide on a budget BEFORE we look at the stores and ads. Those ads and store displays are designed to make us spend more. Then we take pride in finding a great gift at our budgeted price!

cat.janer said...

Using cash only, girrrl. And buying discounted everything.

Kyra @ RACKS and Mooby said...

I try to buy during the year when I spot things on sale, rather than waiting for December to start my shopping.

chris said...

I start working on handmade Christmas gifts during the fall, and we set a specific budget for each child.

Ted said...

Set a limit to be spent on each person you will buy a gift for this Christmas season. Use your American Express credit card for all purchases so you will have an itemized record of everything you purchased. Save your money so you are able to pay the full amount when the statement arrives.
Ted

Tammy said...

I set a limit for my spending. I also bake goodies and make gifts from the kitchen. People usually love those.

Kelli said...

I make a list, check it multiple times and, track the sales. It's a lot of work but I'm usually pleased with the result!

Marla said...

We make a "gift liist" and price map it out--and try to stay within that map! This year we are having a smaller Christmas :)

Kimberly said...

One of the ways that I shop is to use the buy 2, get one free deals. I have two boys and use the extra gift for their cousins.

shelley bray said...

Merry Christmas! i brave the black friday madness, have a budget but most of all i have FUN!!!

Randee Mecham said...

Everyone has a budget of x amount and we just don't go over. I save all my reciepts to make sure I don't go over.

Amber said...

I come up with great crafting ideas and spend a lot of time making items, makes it cheaper and more special.
Also I get started early, like in October, searching for good deals then when I find something I hide it away in my craft room till Christmas.

k11haugo said...

I make a list of everyone I need to buy a gift for and make a plan. I know what I want to get them and how much I plan on spending before I even start shopping. It seems to help me stay within my set budget.

Mami2jcn said...

I make a list in September that I strictly stick to. I will only buy the items on my list as I see them go on sale or if I have a coupon for them.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

tweet:

https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/140620876612771841

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=134842773291910&id=100000611160195

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Elena said...

I make a list and don't buy something that I don't need/like just because it's a good deal.

elena150980@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I utilize online discount codes when shopping, and I don't use credit cards, helps not to go over! :) Thanks!

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Shared a tip on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/roomofmyown/status/140655570075123712

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

Elena said...

http://twitter.com/#!/ElenaIstomina/status/140655553235009537

elena150980@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Posted a tip on my Facebook(Amber H):
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=294071377290168&id=100000485587437

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

amramazon280 said...

i look for the best deals online. i save money for the gifts as early as june

Anonymous said...

I take advantage of craft store coupons all year long to get the materials to make most of my gifts.
kauffmanpak at aol dot com

Janice said...

I definitely make a list and stick to it. It can be hard sometimes but I make an extra effort to stick to my list. I also use coupons and take advantage of sales (early bird and night owl sales too).
tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janice said...

Shared on facebook. FB name Jan Peoples
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=233370953396774&id=100000080232560
tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janice said...

Tweeted
https://twitter.com/#!/disneyfan40/status/140810121767948289

Courtney B said...

i stay on budget by avoiding the mall and cutting coupons ofr everything i buy!

vanitizebaby at yahoo dot com

Courtney B said...

i tweeted a tip!

http://twitter.com/#!/MeandBells/status/140845171393835008

vanitizebaby at yahoo dot com

Chip said...

I make a lot of handmade gifts to help stay in my budget.
chipdip2010(at)hotmail(dot)com

Chip said...

Shared on my fb wall and included my tip. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=282560405118595&id=100000637631151
chipdip2010(at)hotmail(dot)com

Chip said...

Tweeted my tip and linked it back to this post http://twitter.com/#!/chipdip2010/status/141004996908023808
chipdip2010(at)hotmail(dot)com

Brenda said...

What a great deal! We always struggle to stay within budget, but I get items on sale and average out the cost of gifts over all the recipients. Thanks!

FreeIndeed said...

my tip is just to make a budget and a list and stick to it
thepryfamily@gmail.com

FreeIndeed said...

https://twitter.com/#!/annatiffany2/status/141158777167687680
thepryfamily@gmail.com

FreeIndeed said...

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=308150832537589&id=100001681528724

thepryfamily@gmail.com

Joybellz said...

I'm trying to do more handmade gifts this year but sometimes even that isn't so cheap! I just do what I can and call it enough. It's the thought that counts, right?

The Fam said...

We have an Excel spreadsheet on the computer and input every purchase to make sure we don't go over our budget.

shannoncarman at yahoo dot com

The Fam said...

Tweet!

http://twitter.com/#!/channynn/status/141187787973079041

shannoncarman at yahoo dot com

The Bish Fam said...

I shop all year long to get good deals...it definitely helps to have young kids that don't have strong opinions :) We pick names among my siblings and we try to stick to a set amount.

marvelousmissm said...

I just shop for deals and do my best, usually works...I'm cheap! :)

Lindsay {Shrimp} said...

I stay within my holiday budget by purchasing gifts throughout the year and stockpiling. I also make a lot of my gifts - affordable AND thoughtful!!!

- Lindsay
shrimpsaladcircus[!at] gmail dot com

Lindsay {Shrimp} said...

I tweeted a tip!
https://twitter.com/#!/ShrimpSalad/status/141249419445153792

- Lindsay

Lindsay {Shrimp} said...

I shared a third tip on my Facebook page. Thanks for the generous giveaway - something we could all use this holiday season!

https://www.facebook.com/ShrimpSaladCircus/posts/299977176689874

won said...

I stay in my budget by not getting sucked into all the extra "fluff" things that will add up in a minute, and if you're not careful won't even realize it till later.

I try to be mindful of the marketing and appeal they try to give so many things...and ask myself if it's really wise. Often times when I take some of the emotion out of it, it's not a wise purchase.

won said...

https://www.facebook.com/brokenwon/posts/201966446550961

(Facebook name is Wendy T).

won said...

http://twitter.com/#!/won2x/status/141302129745862656

Thank you.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hey, Lorie, of course I'd love to win this! I stay within my budget by keeping it simple & only buying a few things for family. I refuse to go crazy during this time of year. Merry christmas to you!

Anonymous said...

We try and limit the amount we spend on each of the nieces/nephews to $10 each. Some may end up a little more, but then others are less so it usually evens out.

Tina said...

I use coupon code and shop on line, save gas money. I also compare the price before I place order
merleandtina@Yahoo.com

Julie N said...

We draw names for our extended families and we hunt down killer deals! Thanks so much!
jcnoorda(at)gmail(dot)com

moonsword said...

We actually make or buy gifts throughout the year whenever we see good things on sale. We've already made necklaces and a tool rack, and bought a bunch of cute things from summer estate sales and clearance sales earlier this year.
Thanks and have a cheery day!

Amy said...

I try to pay for everything in cash for Christmas. I have a list with the items(s) for each person and the approximate amount to spend on each person. That way I know what amount I have allotted for each gift. I am a bargain shopper, a gift hoarder (I love to stash things away throughout the year), and I love to make homemade items.

Amy said...

I facebooked about this giveaway.
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714284922

Krista's Paper Cafe said...

I pay cash, shop locally and my kids know that some of their gifts may come from the thrift store!
Thanks for the info on Am Ex and a chance to win!

Julie said...

I shop year round and pick up items on sale..i also enter contests to win prizes as gifts thanks and have a great day
aunteegem@yahoo.com

KimmyBP said...

I shop all year long, looking for the bet deals and coupons! I was done by November this year. Ready for the stress free holidays!
KimBourgeous@hotmail.com