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Save Money when buying gifts – and tips when short on time (belated post)

Save money during gift season. While I meant to post before Christmas, belated is better than never. If you are like me or just need last minute tips for other gift giving occasions, here we go with how to save when buying gifts…

bonus: deals are great now!! New year deals are popping up everywhere so check some apps for some deals and if you need a late gift or hate a gift you got, now is the time to save big.

Tis the season for saving

This is another post on how to save money via apps, which offer cash back, coupons, deals, etc. – who cares, lets just save. Apps can give you insight on great deals and boost savings on top if in store deals. But you know what else can? After holiday deals. When the stores want to get rid of all the gifts that no one bought. Before they forget its winter and roll out spring goods. So hop on these deals because the weather outside surely says we are still in winter ❄️.

See my earlier posts for some money saving apps

Check out my earlier posts on saving money via apps through cash back, deals, coupons, and receipts (here and here) and my post on general tips for saving money without trying. I’ll post some more soon.

Since it becomes a bit stressful around the holidays with gifts and winter clothes. brrr. Good bye money as you fly away into the snow  ❄️💸. We all may want to think of saving a little here and there…

Luckily some apps make it easy and so you can eliminate the stress and focus on the fun!

I’ll add additional apps to the ones I have mentioned previously in a separate post. The earlier posts with savings apps can get you started. Not everyone is a superstar with New Years goals. Just try some out and it can really add up!

If you need a gift (belated or for another occasion), here are some time saving tips…


  • Now lately I feel like I could be president of the universe if I spent as much time pursuing that as I did looking at gifts only to inevitably end up dealing with customer support over and over and over again.
  • I would give customer service credit for being unique in all the many reasons why you are not getting something you bought, if it was not so annoying. One store said I asked them if I could put a personalized monogram on something I wanted to order from their site and not if they could add this monogram. Said monogram was a picture I sent to them from their site. Silly me for thinking they could add something as advertised. All kinds of confusion at their response telling me I asked them if I could do it myself. I can ask myself that. They closed by saying sorry we simply can’t do that! Can’t do what? Put your own monogram on something or tell me if I’m capable of doing it myself? It sounds like a riddle.
    • Mysteriously someone from the same store responded later indicating that the picture I sent was not their product. Ok – so it is on your site….why??? So customers can ask the store if the customers can add this monogram?? Is it stolen? What’s going on. So that mysterious little riddle was not solved for Christmas. FAIL.
  • Some packages come part of the way but get lost in a UPS sorting facility about an 1-1.5 hours from my house? Can I just come pick it up guys???
  • Then what was my most annoying aspect of the holidays is the in your face deals. Every online store will tempt you with holiday deals, but if you have any issue at all, expect about 3 emails just to tell you how busy they are because of the holidays. Ok – then do not offer all these deals. And stores still seem to be in holiday mode as they keep on saying how super busy they are.
  • At the rate I was heading with the gift giving frustrations, I thought either a) start shopping for Christmas for the year 3000; b) shop at stores in person and not online; or c) if you shop online, shop at stores you really trust (Amazon Prime). It is the only one I do because of prime shipping. Others can guarantee you delivery dates but lose the package, forget their guarantee, or respond to say I asked if I can monogram something on my own…Maybe I need to read the fine print because it could be guaranteeing frustration. Then at least it would be honest and maybe a guarantee will finally be acknowledged!

So where am I heading here? If short on time or even if you aren’t, have a back up plan that does not entail talking to customer service more than once

  • if you have an issue that results in you contacting customer service and nothing is fixed from one interaction, I’d say 9 times out of 10 the only thing you’ll get by continuing this customer service frustration is a whole lot of wasted time.
  • do not stress yourself out by searching for a deal and worst, finding the PERFECT one when time is short, that gets lost on its way to Pluto. If you shop in a store (preferably not during weekends when it is like the end of the world in some places), at least you know you are not running into any surprises when you leave. Amazon – I have had something delayed maybe once and I shop there a ton. It was delayed by like a day. Better than seeing a delivery status labeled “undeterminable.” When it is sitting at a UPS facility 1.5 hours from my house.
  • Another tip: Personalization. But you do it. And don’t ask a place that specializes in personalized gifts whether you can – does anyone really ask if they can add personalized things themselves after purchasing an item? Are these items for rent now? No but thankfully you can take care of this yourself and make it special… There are stores with monograms, but if it is too late, borrow their ideas and go get some craft supplies! If you cannot draw or paint (like me), grab some stencils or stickers. Or print out some personal pictures. You can get ideas from these stores for what to write or how to decorate. and get the supplies to do something similar but unique and more personal since you did it yourself. Now it’s a one of a kind gift and you are in control of the timing of the final product.
  • Cool thing about this is even during the holidays, art supplies are typically not the types of things selling out right now. No need to watch tracking or figure out a monogram riddle. Check out a few products with the theme you want, borrow the ideas, add your own little touches, and create something special.

Being crafty is easier than you may think.

Stencils and colored pens can become your own monogram.

Here’s the ones I got:

I can’t emphasize enough the value of borrowing ideas on mass produced products. Have trouble thinking of something nice to say or a good phrase for this item? No problem – peruse about a few sites or stores and look at a similar theme. You’ll probably see the perfect phrase – easy! Now you make it yourself – your personalized efforts will mean more than something popped out of a factory. Going through this process helped me come up with some of my own cool ideas. After all, you know the person you are giving the gift to better than a store mass producing the same exact item. Once you get started, you’ll probably think of a little personal touch that fits like a photo, phrase you use, items from trips, etc. Add it on for a more unique and special gift.

So how does this save time? Easy. It’s you doing it – this will be faster for many items with the right supplies.  You don’t have to be Picasso to make it personal. But you may need to have the patience of a saint though if the gift you ordered is hanging out in limbo. And if that’s the case and you call customer service once and it’s still the case – any more time trying to get this item probably will leave you with no gift. Don’t waste time with customer service or searching for the perfect product if you can possibly create it yourself. You can. Art supplies can help you and if I can draw things with some, so can anyone.

What about the monetary savings???

  • Time isn’t the only thing you may save by personalizing yourself.
  • Expedited shipping isn’t always cheap.
  • Buying anything personalized is especially not cheap. Funny how slapping on initials can turn an item into a $60 one instead of a plain $10 item just without the initials.
  • If you can personalize it yourself, you will save money.
  • Finally – if you use some money making apps, check what your balance is and what rewards you can get. Something cool on eBay? Many apps offer eBay gift cards as a reward. I ignored some of these until I found something cool on eBay. I wanted to focus on the ones that paid actual money but the others can come in handy if they have a gift card as a possible reward and it happens to be for a store or site you found an ideal gift on. Bonus : usually you get more with gift cards versus getting paid out via check or PayPal. If you will shop at a store anyways, it doesn’t matter if you get cash or a gift card for it. Either way you are spending.
Need more ways to save?
    • If you don’t have Amazon Prime yet, try it out because the free shipping on prime products is a huge money saver and the fast shipping speed is great if in a time crunch. Try for free for 30 days and see for yourself:

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

    • you can also give the gift of amazon prime and give the gift of saving on shipping costs, prices and time along with the perks like streaming prime shows, early access to deals, kindle library, etc.

Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

Let me know your thoughts and if you have tips on getting gifts in a time crunch and/or saving money as you buy gifts.
And happy holidays!

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