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10 Savvy Tips For Christmas Shopping Thrifters

10 Savvy Tips For Christmas Shopping Thrifters

We’re getting closer to Christmas with each passing day. Have you started shopping for the best gifts for men, women, children, and your loved ones yet? You might think that you have plenty of time, but that’s the surest way to find yourself on the edge of the holiday with a lot of shopping still to do (and not enough time to take advantage of shipping discounts!). Suddenly, the prices of everything that your children, your husband, your mother-in-law – everyone on your list, in fact – wanted will start to shoot up before you know it. Fret not and take a look at our top ten pieces of advice to beat the rush, and save some cash in the process.

1. Use discount apps.

Have you heard of Wikibuy? It’s just one browser extension that pops in when you are shopping, and when you head to the “Checkout” page, it automatically starts scouring the Internet for a better deal on that same exact product or service. If there’s better deal for cat litter out there, for example, it will pop up for you.

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2. Sign up for emails from your favorite stores.

If you have an email account with a provider like Gmail, which separates your promotional offers out from the rest of your inbox, then you should go ahead and sign up for email alerts from the places you like to shop. They filter into your promotional tab, and you can take a look through there and see if one of your favorite stores is offering a deal. You don’t have to surf through store websites – they will just pop up in your inbox.

3. Finish your shopping as early as possible.

That might sound unrealistic, but hear me out. TechieState says that in those last ten days before Christmas, prices will starting going up, as retailers take advantage of procrastinators. Even if you’re shopping online, you’ll start to see those “FREE SHIPPING” offers dry up as you get closer to the big day. This way, your packages have plenty of time to get where they are going.

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4. Mix needs in with wants.

No, your kids won’t get excited to open a package with a sweater inside or a jacket. However, if you have also gotten them a few things off their “wants” list, you can combine your winter “need” shopping with what your kids want.

5. Sign up with the major discount websites.

Sites such as Overstock, Groupon, and Living Social put out new deal emails every day. Websites like Groupon Goods offer deals on a wide variety of gift ideas, often with discounts well above 50%. With a Gmail account, these messages will slip into your Promotions tab, and you can pick out the ones you want to read.

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6. Consider experiences instead of objects.

Does your son want an XBox One? That’s going to set you back at least $300 new, and then the games are $50 – $75 each – and special edition games cost even more. But is your son also a huge fan of your local NBA team? You can get two pretty good tickets for $100 each – less than the XBox One – and you’ll make a memory with seats at the big game.

Another way is to give your loved ones a year subscription of your local gym or a complete course of 21 day fitness rock, just in case your recipient is an exercise aficionados. A roundtrip ticket to some nice place, a concert, or holiday festive cruise within the country also works great. It isn’t just unique, they are going to love the life experience and memories it will give them for years to come.

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7. Start next year’s shopping in January.

OK, if you max out your cards in December you might have to wait until February or March. But here’s the deal – if you buy when most people aren’t, you’re always going to get better deals.

8. Don’t forget local discount retailers.

Stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Big Lots often carry name brand items for pennies on the dollar. People who stay at home and just shop online can miss out on huge deals this way, especially if you are thinking about what to buy for a baby, as these products are running low during holidays. If you can slip out on your lunch break and hit the store (and ideally take an early or late lunch), you can avoid the rush that comes in the evenings.

9. Consider memberships instead of lump-sum gift prices.

There are clubs for the Beer of the Month, the Fruit of the Month, even the lingerie of the month.  Buying this sort of present gives your loved one something to open all year – and you can accept monthly billing instead of having to buy a larger present all at once.

10. Never stop hunting new discounts.

One thing that’s always true – new sites are opening all the time to give you access to new ways to shop. Keep pounding the pavement – and you’ll keep saving money. Happy Holidays!

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Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

Most people want a few more dollars in their wallets. But between an employer and family, the time most of us can devote to a second job is severely limited. Running a small side business can provide a few more options: you don’t have to show up at a set time and you can use skills you already have. Not all will be perfect for everyone, of course, and I’m sure that you’ll have a few ideas of your own after reading this list. If you’d like to share any other business ideas, please add them in the comments.

  1. Selling collectibles — From antique books to teddy bears, there are plenty of opportunities to buy and sell collectibles. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the collectible of your choice but if you choose something that you’ve been collecting for a while, you’ve got a head start.
  2. Locating apartments — It can take time to sort through apartment listings, but you can make some money by finding the perfect apartment for a renter.
  3. Baby proofing — New parents often prefer to bring in an expert to make sure their home is safe for a new baby.
  4. Calligraphic writing — If you’ve got elegant handwriting, you can pick up gigs writing or addressing wedding invitations, holiday cards and more.
  5. Selling coupons — Search on eBay for coupons right now and you’ll see thousands of listings for coupons. It’s just a matter of clipping and listing what you find in your Sunday newspaper.
  6. Pet training — A surprising number of people don’t know where to start in training a pet. Even teaching Rover simple commands like ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ can bring in a few dollars.
  7. Running errands — A wide variety of people want to outsource their errands, from those folks who aren’t able to leave their homes easily to those who have a busy schedule.
  8. Researching family trees — Amateur genealogists often call in experts, especially to handle research that has to be done in person in a far off place. If you’re willing to go to a local church and copy a few records, you can handle many family tree research requests.
  9. Supplying firewood — The prerequisite for selling firewood is having a source of wood; if you’ve got some land where you can cut down a few trees, you’ve got a head start.
  10. Hauling — As more people trade in their SUVs for compact cars, hauling is becoming more important: people have to rent a truck or hire a hauler for even small loads.
  11. Image consulting — Image consultants provide a wide variety of services, ranging from offering advice on appearance to teaching etiquette.
  12. Menu planning — For many people, the trip up in eating home-cooked or healthy meals is knowing what to prepare. Meal planners set a schedule to solve certain dietary problems.
  13. Microfarming — Cultivating food and flowers on small plots of land allows you to sell produce easily.
  14. Offering notary public services — Notary publics can witness and authenticate documents: a service needed for all sorts of official documents.
  15. Teaching music — If you’re skilled with a musical instrument, you can earn money by offering lessons.
  16. Mystery shopping — Mystery shoppers check the conditions and service at a store and report back to the store’s higher-ups.
  17. Offering research services — Just by reading up on a topic and compiling a report on it can earn you money.
  18. Personal shopping — Personal shoppers typically select gifts, apparel and other products for clients, helping them save time.
  19. Pet breeding — Purebred pets can be quite value, especially if you can verify their pedigree.
  20. Removing snow — During the winter months, shoveling walks can still be a reliable way to earn money. You might be asked to take care of the driveway too.
  21. Utility auditing — As people become environmentally-concious, they want to know just how efficient their homes are. With some simple testing, you can tell them.
  22. Offering web hosting services — Providing server space can be lucrative, particularly if you can provide tech support to your clients.
  23. Cutting lawns — An old standby, cutting lawns and other landscaping services can provide a second income in the summer.
  24. Auctioning items on eBay — Want to get rid of all your old stuff? Stick it up on eBay and auction it off.
  25. Babysitting — Child care of all kinds, from babysitting to nannying, can offer constant opportunities.
  26. Freelance writing — If you’ve got the skills to write clearly, you can sell your pen for everything from blogs to advertising copy.
  27. Selling blog and website themes — Do a little designing on the side? Customers that don’t want to pay full price for a website will often pay for a template or theme.
  28. Offering computer help — Particularly with people new to computers, you can earn money by providing in-home computer help.
  29. Designing websites — It may require a little skilled effort, but designing websites remains a reliable source of income.
  30. Selling stock photography — For shutterbugs, an easy way to put a photography collection to work is to post it to a stock photography site.
  31. Freelance designing — Check with local businesses: you can provide brochures, business cards and other design work and get paid a good fee.
  32. Tutoring — Math and languages reamin the easiest subjects to find tutoring gigs for, but there is demand for other fields as well.
  33. Housesitting / petsitting — Stopping in to check on a house or pet can earn you some money, and maybe even a place to stay.
  34. Building niche websites — If you can put together a site on a very specific topic, you can put targeted ads on it and make money quickly.
  35. Translating — The variety of translating work available is huge: written word, on the spot and more is easy to find even on a part-time basis.
  36. Creating custom crafts — No matter what kind of crafts you make, there’s likely a market for it. Etsy remains one of the easiest places to sell crafts.
  37. Setting up a wi-fi hotspot — With a little bit of equipment, you can set up a wi-fi hotspot and charge your neighbors for the access they’ve been ‘borrowing.’
  38. Selling an e-book — You can write an e-book about almost anything and put it up for sale online.
  39. Affiliate marketing — If you’re willing to market other companies’ products, you can earn a cut of the sales.
  40. Renting out your spare room — From looking for a long-term roommate to listing your guest room on couch surfing sites, that spare room can make you money.
  41. Offering handy man services — Handling small household tasks can provide you with plenty of work, although you’ll probably be expected to have your own tools.
  42. Teaching an online class — Share your expertise through a website, an online seminar or variety of other methods.
  43. Building furniture — For those with the skill to create handmade furniture, selling their creations is often just a matter of advertising.
  44. Providing personal chef services — Personal chefs prepare meals ahead of time for customers, leaving their customers with a full freezer and no mess.
  45. Event planning — From planning corporate events to bar mitzvahs, an event planning business can require plenty of work and offer plenty of pay.
  46. Installing home safety products — Particularly as Baby Boomers age, people able to install handrails and other home safety products are in demand.
  47. Altering / tailoring — If your sewing skills are up to par, altering garments is coming back as people try to stretch more wear out of their clothing.
  48. Offering in-home beauty services — Hair cuts, makeup and other beauty services that can be performed at home have a growing demand.
  49. Business coaching — Helping others to establish and develop their businesses can provide many opportunities to earn money.
  50. Writing resumes — Writing resumes can provide a reliable income, especially if you can put a polish on a client’s credentials.

There are plenty of offers that claim to provide you with the opportunity to make thousands of dollars a week. Unfortunately, none of these businesses will provide that sort of income, but they aren’t scams either. They were chosen because they all require a minimum investment to get started — some require nothing more than a flyer advertising your business. Even better, if you do enjoy any of these businesses, there is a potential with most of them to continue to expand — perhaps even to the point of going full time.

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Featured photo credit: Omar Prestwich via unsplash.com

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