American Express Charge Card – 10 Flip Ultra Cameras to Giveaway!

This giveaway has ended. See the list of winners.

American Express Charge Card Services has offered up 10 Black Flip Ultra Video Cameras for me to give away here on the blog. Yes. 10! Skip to the bottom to find out how to enter yourself into the giveaway.

American Express Charge Cards

What’s a charge card? Charge Cards are different from credit cards. The debt is not revolving credit, it’s a small loan. And you have to pay off the card in full each month. There are some definite advantages to using one of these cards in the way of services. To see more about American Express Charge Cards see my previous post on charge cards.

CardInitial BonusAnnual FeeNotes
ZYNC from American Express (review)$100 - After Initial Purchase$25Earn 2 Points Per Dollar in Select "Go Pack" Categories
American Express Preferred Rewards Green CardNone$95Annual Fee Waived 1st Year
American Express® Gold Card$100 - Spend $500 in 3 Months$125Annual Fee Waived 1st Year
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card$150 - Spend $30K in Calendar Year$175Annual Fee Waived 1st Year.
American Express Platinum Card$250 - After $1,000 Spent in 1st 3 Months$450Gives you free office space anywhere in the world.

Flip Ultra Video Cameras

I already have my own Flip Ultra video camera. I love it. It’s perfect for capturing those spontaneous moments. We leave ours lying around the house or in Mrs. PT’s purse. We’ve got a ton of 30 second little moments of little Miss PT’s life captured on that thing. The cameras hold about an hour of footage and they quickly link up with your computer for uploading. It makes sharing your videos really easy.

flip ultra video camera black

To give PT Money readers a taste of the types of rewards available through the Membership Rewards program, American Express gave me the opportunity to host my own American Express Charge Card holiday giveaway on PT Money in which 10 of my readers can win one Flip video camera each! Here is how it works:

10 Flip Ultra Giveaway

I’m giving away 10 Black Flip Ultra video cameras. Here’s how to enter the giveaway… there are 2 ways to enter:

#1 - Simply answer this question in the comments section below:

What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?

I’ll choose the 5 comments that I think are the best answer and American Express will provide the Flip video camera prizes.

#2 - Via Twitter:

Step 1. If you like what I tweet, follow @ptmoney on Twitter (optional).
Step 2. Simply tweet the following:

Just entered to win 1 of 5 Flip cameras from @ptmoney. Retweet to enter. Rules: http://tinyurl.com/AmexFlipPT

I’ll randomly choose 5 from the tweets and American Express will provide the Flip video camera prizes.

The Giveaway Rules:

  • No purchase necessary; void where prohibited
  • One entry per person/household; US residents only
  • All prizes are provided by American Express.
  • Contest ends Thursday, December 31, 2009.
  • Flips will be shipped shortly after.

How I’ve Made My Money Work Harder

I’d say the savviest thing we’ve done this season is to buy some things on Craigslist and pay a portion of full price. We purchased a barely used pre-lit Christmas tree for a 3rd of the new price.  It looks great in our living room. We also found some nice, clean toys for little Miss PT’s Christmas presents.

That’s all. Good luck to ya!

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Last Edited: February 18, 2012 @ 12:10 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Giving donations as presents is my savviest way to use my money this holiday season. Instead of buying presents that depreciate quickly, donations go to people who need it for food, shelter, etc. The joy the people in need get out of my donation is must more valuable than a present that is forgotten after 3 weeks.

  2. One of the savviest ways I’ve found to make money work harder for me is by buying presents in bulk, COSTCO style.

    The idea is to figure out a present that is scaleable, much like an internet site for attracting business for example. Once the idea is set, implementation is quite easy.

    My idea this year is simply getting long sleeve shirts to my various friends and family members around the country. I went on a particular custom T-shirt site, and branded each T-shirt with a particular logo. But on each shirt, I customized the lettering to say “Dad”, “Mom”, “Uncle Joe” etc.

    With several clicks of the button, I’ve been able to send out 25 custom shirts. Not only do I save time shopping online, I save on unit costs since I’m buying in bulk.

    It’s about efficiency (internet), branding, and scale to save money, and to make money!

    Best,

    Sam

  3. I made home made cookies and salad dressing with the kids as presents for the holidays. Yummy and thoughtful!

  4. We did two things: we took advantage of an ING offer to open up an Electric Orange account on Black Friday which offered a $121 bonus. Easy gift money! The other thing is among the family we agreed to only buy gifts for the kids rather than for each other. This way the kids enjoy the holidays and we all save some money.

  5. The savviest thing I did this year was to open my first investment account not associated with retirement. This is going to allow me to make my money work harder for me so I don’t have to.

  6. Michael Newton says:

    One of the savviest ways that I have made money work for me is by not spending much of it because I am making homemade gifts. My wife is getting a DVD of our kids singing her favorite songs, some gifts made by the kids, and all during the holidays I am doing the 12 days of Christmas, which include acts of service for her each day.
    This is a significant savings and should mean much more to her than things money can buy.
    We both agreed to spend little or no money on each other and it makes this time more fun and LESS stressful.

  7. I’ve been getting everyones gift cards from the grocery store where I am earning 5% cashback on my credit card. I also opened a new savings account with a higher interest rate.

  8. Hands down…it has to be bank offers. I opened a College Advantage 529 for my (4) children with $25 each and earned an extra $250 in bonus money.

    I opened a ING Orange checking account with no minimum deposit and earned $50

    ING Savings $25 deposit earned $25…

    I also did the Wachovia’s Way2Save promo + $25 gift card offer

    whew!…I love bank offers. I get to try new bank products and services and also get a great ROI

    This is a great giveaway. Fingers crossed. BTW, I am a long time lurker/ subscriber and I really enjoy your blog.

  9. I am following you on Twitter. I am @proverbswife, and I tweeted about your giveaway.

  10. Gail Lannom says:

    I use my Discover card on everything. I get cash back and only have one bill to pay! It makes bill paying faster and easier. You do need to keep track of your budget and not over charge what you can’t pay off every month!

  11. This is the first year that we used a credit card to make all our purchases. We pay off all our complete balance at the end of the month and then collect our points. Easiest money we’ve ever made.

  12. I only shop whereever has some special big sale especially shop online which is a lot cheaper than retails. Even better if I shop thru website which offer me a cash back for example ebate.com or retailmenot which give me a coupon code for more discount. Also make sure that I use my credit card which give me the most benefit such as cash back, reward or collect points.

  13. I watched coupons/sales seriously this year and have combined them to come up with some very low cost deals already! I also set a budget, which I haven’t done in the past! The best thing I did though was to save all my points from Mypoints and my credit/debit card transactions which has garnered me HALF of my budget!

  14. The best thing I did this year was to fully fund my 401(k) up to the match. Week in and Week out my contributions were matched! Made a couple grand just from that!

  15. I kept my 401K going.

  16. Dave Siriano says:

    Ok, last year I gave a sweater to my dad and he looked at me and said, “that’s nice.” I went home and told my wife that that was the first time my dad ever lied to me. I have never seen the sweater since, (and it was expensive), so here is what we did. Both our families (my wife and I’s) have agreed this year to cut down on frivolous gifts.
    (Frivolous=not having any serious purpose or value).
    Most of the adults are giving each other gift cards to the movies (which we love) and the kids are getting a game for their game systems (which they also love). This decision has cut hundreds of dollars off our Christmas list.
    No more wandering aimlessly in the mall and picking out junk just because we NEED to.

  17. I have made a point to research gifts better and look for them on Amazon and Ebay for substantial discounts!

  18. Anne Alexander says:

    my saviest ways to save money this Christmas :
    1. not use credit cards
    2. transfer presciptions at pharmacies@
    get free gift cards to spend or re-gift
    3. decorate packages with homeade stuff
    4. make home made gifts to share
    5. make use of fun @free or unexpensive activites to attend.

  19. The savviest way I have used to make my money work harder for me this holiday season has been by taking advantage of my company’s annual 401(k) benefits enrollment process and looking for smarter ways to invest tax-free or tax-deferred. I met with our financial advisor and used the market information from him to examine the funds in which I am invested in my 401(k) plan. I was very aggressively invested in the more speculative funds, and I was able to tailor my investment options to a more balanced view that will give me more predictable gains in times of growth but less volatility in down times.

  20. The savviest way we’re making our money work harder? We’re using the envelope system for spending at our house, allocating money to all of our spending categories at the beginning of the month in cash envelopes, and then not spending more than is in the envelopes. If we allocate $300 for groceries, once we hit that amount and the cash is gone – no more groceries unless it comes out of another category. By using the envelope system our money gets stretched further and we spend a lot less. More money to save and give!

  21. The savviest thing we are doing this holiday season is only using cash. We have spent many Christmases accumulating debt and it was hard. Only using cash has made us more aware of what we are buying and it even caused us to plan out things better.

  22. I used new credit cards to make my gift purchases to satisfy the promotional requirements which means that I’ll be getting cash back on the gifts plus CC bonuses in Jan or Feb to make up the budget. The promotions should just about cover the cost of all the gifts with a little left over.

  23. The savviest thing I did this year for the holidays was to learn to sew! Money is obviously tight this year for presents so I decided to invest a little in some sewing classes. Then I was able to buy fabric and make everyone pajama bottoms stuffed into their very own tote bag, both of which I made. Although I spent some money for sewing classes and in buying the fabric, even with those expenses, I was able to spend a fraction of the price of what I would have had to pay in a store and now I have the added skills of knowing how to sew, something I’ll always have and can utilize for years and years. Plus, homemade gifts always seem a little more personal and it’s a great feeling when you see your family and friends enjoy the fruits of your labor :)

  24. I don’t wait for the holiday season to shop. Everytime when I go to the store I always check out the sale and clearance and buy stuff and save it in my closet. I also check out website such as ebates to see if the store I shop at is on the list for extra percent of saving. So far I got almost $200 back from ebates.

  25. The saviest thing I did to make my money work for me was that I decided to be honest with friends and family. I moved into my own place and can’treally afford to buy everyone the gifts they were so used to last year. I could have put these gifts on credit cards but those charges add up.
    So I was honest. Instead of all of the adults getting gifts, I decided to get just the children (nieces, nephews, god-children) a gift. Instead of getting each child 5 gifs a piece, they only received one meaningful gift and that was a piggy bank. A local bank in my area was giving away their company logo banks.
    The adults are getting copies copy of the “Richest Man in Bablylon”. I was able to get these books for under $2 because I brought them from half.com or amazon’s used sectio.

  26. I have bought some things that come in multiples and then broken them out into smaller gifts. For example, I have several dog lovers in my immediate office. I want to get each of them something little. So I went to Costco, found a package of dog toys; opened the package and split the toys inside into seperate gifts. With nice brown paper gift bags that I decorate myself with stamps…you’d never know they were part of a bigger package. That way also, there are no “favorites”.

    I also do this for gifts that I need to send to friends in different parts of the country. They don’t even know that the others have received similar items from the same original package!

  27. First …..all year long I tried to pay down my previous credit card debt because every holiday season, I charge up my bills and really never get them paid by the next holiday…so this year, I put any extra money I made from my side job in a stash, and used only cash to buy gifts this year…along with cutting back in other ways like sending holiday emails instead of sending Christmas Cards etc,

  28. Tiffany Ayers says:

    We have worked hard to make our money go farther. My husband has been out of work so we have had to watch every penny. I have shopped on Amazon to get the daily specials, watched blogs for coupons and specials, looked for buy one get ones on things such as photobooks that are economical but still sentimental. Also, we made gift shopping lists and priced at several stores to make sure we were getting the best price for everything on our list! :-) Merry Christmas!

  29. Happy Holidays! Our church is in need of financial help. They have begun selling scrip cards, where they make a certain percentage from the stores when we buy the gift cards from the church. We try to help the church as much as possible by buying their scrip cards! Also, we enjoy donating toys to our local toy drives and the toys for tots program. We tend to buy family members one nice gift versus more than one less expensive gifts. We only use our credit card for holiday purchases in the amount that we can pay off in January. Many thanks,Cindi

  30. First I list down all the things/gifts that I plan to buy. Search those gifts online and see if I can find some great deals. Discount coupons and the like are love. I also compare the prizes of an item in every store that I can think of. And buy the cheapest one with a good deal.

    And there are also times that it’s hard to pick a gift for someone so I just decide to make a personalized card for them. It’s really cheap since I only use materials available in our house like cutouts from a magazine, glue, paper puncher, stamps, etc. and recycling the used papers I have. I only need to spend an extra amount of my time and a little bit of money to finish the card. I guess the message inside would do all the talking. Anyway, it’s better that you remembered that special someone, right. :)

  31. Izzy Corbo says:

    I opened a Perk Street checking account with $1,000 from my credit card and will receive a 1% reward bonus from my credit card and a $50 bonus from Perk Street in 3 months. I opened a Lending Club account and received $64.62 as a promotion–I used my Perk Street checking account to transfer $935.38 over. Now I’ve invested $1000 and hopefully will receive 10% back (if the people I’ve loaned don’t default!). So if everything works out I will have made just shy of $150 in the next 3 months ($50 bonus from Perk Street, $10 from my credit card, $64.62 from Lending club and around $25 in interest).

  32. Actually, the saviest thing I’ve done this year is to read PT Money’s financial blog and win a flip camera. I was planning on getting one for Christmas for the family. Now I will save $160. Now that is savy!

  33. Dana Joy Sartin says:

    Being a senior on a fixed income, I really took advantage of the Amazon/Walmart price war this year. With Amazon’s lightning specials, and free shipping, several of us in the family co-gifted our loved ones with way nicer gifts than we each could have afforded individually!

  34. It’s a busy time of the year and it’s easy to get so busy you are late with a payment, especially if you are traveling quite a bit. Communication with your banks is crucial and I put that to good use this month. I called to touch base and explain what happened and they wound up not charging me the finance charge. :)

  35. I entered a lot of giveaways online to get presents for family members. It was a very cheap (free) way to get them all something nice! Just required alot of work but was totally worth it. I also signed up for alot of store newsletters because usually when you first sign up for their emails, they give you some kind of promo deal and every percentage off helps! I signed up for a Macy’s card too to get an extra 20% my purchases that day so I made sure to get more than a few gifts there! It was awesome. And I also attended Walmart’s PRE BLACK FRIDAY Saturday sales and saved a bundle on electronics, which like the giveaways, took extra time and effort on my behalf but saved me alot of money! And if I win, I am giving this flip to my friend Jaime, she’s been dying for one for her upcoming honeymoon! Thank you!!!!

  36. We used the following strategy:

    1) Made a list of what we wanted to get ahead of time.

    2) Watched the ads from our favorite retailers both online and locally.

    3) Paid cash for all our purchases when the timing was right. This avoided high prices and interest.

    It worked perfectly!

  37. Research product prices and features online, so you can be prepared to bargain when you enter the stores.

    For example my wife wanted a new camera. We found the one we wanted on Amazon for $299, but we were not ready to purchase without being able to use/hold first. We went to our local photography store with price we would pay in mind. We told them how much we could get it online for and they were happy to make the same deal and throw in a free memory card. Plus, we didn’t pay shipping and handling cost, so we really came out $30-40 cheaper than online.

    The salespeople/stores are hungry to make sales this Christmas Season. To get the best price/save the most money you have to know what you want and the cheapest price you can get it elsewhere (online). Also, you have to be willing to walk-away if they can’t lower the price.

    Bonus tip: Department stores (Dillards, Belk, Macy’s) are much better places to get amazing deals than at the Mall.

  38. My savviest move for saving money this Christmas season was developing a plan for our extended family gift exchanges. As everyone continues to get married and/or have children, the Christmas gift-buying lest was getting very long & out of control.

    I suggested that instead of buying a gift for everyone, we should draw names and each buy only one, nicer gift for one individual. Everyone loved the idea! Now we have less stress and will spend less cash on our gifts this year.

  39. My saviest smart money move this year was to take a lot of pictures during the year and give small photo albums or frames with pictures from the various events for Christmas presents to close friends, family and co-workers. Each photo album is and will be specific to the person.

  40. I’ve been following prices on specific items I know I want to get for people (not just jumping on whatever is a good deal). Finding sites with the best coupons, cashback, etc., and then buying when everything comes together so I can get the best price possible.

  41. The savviest way we saved money or made our money work harder/better for us this holiday season is by doing a combination of the following:

    1. Participating in blog giveaways for potential free Christmas gifts.

    2. Pumping gas at Giant Eagle for fuel points to redeem for the gift cards they sell for use at various restaurants & stores.

    3. Comparing prices online & searching Ebay, CraigsList & WinnIt for the same items before paying full price.

    S7Bailey@gmail.com
    @SBailey7 – Twitter

  42. My family and I agreed to cut back on presents, so I’m making my money work harder by putting it into my Roth IRA instead of spending it on acrylic sweaters that no one will ever wear.

  43. Like many people, my stepfather is without a job this Christmas, so my family decided to keep our gift exchange to just stocking stuffers this year. I’m making homemade granola and my mom is making jam from berries picked from our garden this summer. I think limiting our gift exchange is going to make our holiday better–no one’s going to be worrying about their credit card bill come January, no presents have to be returned after Christmas, and rather than shopping and wrapping lots of presents we’ll have more time to do the things we actually like to do around the holidays: eat, play board games, and catch up with loved ones.

  44. I created a faux “hedge fund” for my dating budget. I allow myself $75 per week, and any money that doesn’t get spent during that week is automatically transferred into a “surplus” savings account, which I can transfer back into the date fund within the month if needed. If there is still a balance in the “surplus” savings account by the end of the month it automatically transfers into my Roth IRA.

    Automation for the win!

  45. I have done all of my Christmas shopping online using websites that offer free or low cost shipping when items were on sale.

    twitter @buddlites1

  46. Not only do I try to save money, but I try to save money by saving in ways that help others or help me be healthier. I normally shop at Whole Foods (which everyone knows is expensive), I try to cut back on how often I go there and try to plan the trips there only when I know I need something that is only offered at Whole Foods or hard to find otherwise. I reuse my bags and save 5% to help the environment while giving myself a discount. Believe it or not, this is pretty close to how much the mark up is at WF compared to regular grocery stores. While I am there, I purchase items that are on sale and make food for the week. I use leftovers for lunch and have completely stopped buying my lunch each day from take out places.

    I currently live with my parents and am not charged rent. I started putting “rent” in an account that I am using to save for a house. I put my savings into a CD with no fees and I use my check card as much as possible rather than cash to benefit my “keep the change” program. I even upgraded my card to get 10% back on my keep the change rather than 5%. I also switched my visa card to an interest free, cash back program. It should be known that my American Express is still my card of choice though!

    I traded in my leased car early and negotiated the trade in to be $1000.00 more than the buy out. I used the savings for a down payment on a car that uses cheaper gas and has a lower monthly payment. Also, I took advantage of the tax rebate for buying a new car.

    I stopped shopping at designer stores and purchase my clothes from TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I find they have the same styles at an upwards of 70% off the normal price. The first place I check is the clearance rack. I am still wearing Lucky Jeans, but not many people know that I got them for 6 dollars rather than 75.

    I am doing a lot of group presents this year. My Girlfriend and I are treating my parents to a dinner and a night out, rather than both buying them each separate presents. I am using rewards points from my corporate American Express card to purchase the dinner and the show we are going to, and using Marriott points from my travels to pay for the hotel we are putting them up in. Normally that would have been a 600 dollar night. The only thing we will pay for are tips and taxi’s instead! (I only use the hybrid taxis!)

    There are many ways to save, but try to keep the environment and others in the loop as saving can be contagious! Show people how you save, and they will want to do it and so on!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  47. After visiting my mother on thanksgiving, we went to her security deposit box and pulled out all of the bonds that have been in my name for years that have been accumulating interest ever so slowly.

    With the market still recovering, i cashed in the bonds, and maxed out the remainder of my Roth IRA, getting more interest (via the market) for my money, and allowing it to go tax free. The thanksgiving trip to see my mom’s was profitable solely for that reason.

  48. Two things we’ve been doing:
    1) Instead of buying friends gifts, we’re inviting everyone over for a fancy dinner that we’ll be making ourselves (healthy, cheaper, and fun). We’re also thinking about doing a $5 limit white-elephant party along with the dinner.
    2) For those who are getting gifts from us, we’ve been buying things that have either longer warranty periods or lifetime warranties/guarantees. The items may cost a little more upfront, but they’ll be able to replace the products when they break or wear out further down the road. I’ve personally done this quite a few times and feel that the added cost makes my money work better for me in the end.

  49. One of the savviest things you can do this holiday season is to compare prices online and make sure you get free shipping. In some cases there is a price qualification for free shipping so I just buy things that I know I will need – say I’m buying a gadget on Amazon as a gift but the total doesn’t qualify for free shipping. Did you know Amazon sells toilet paper? I know I’ll need to buy that anyways, so buy it at the same time as the gadget to bump the total sale amount up and vuala shipping is free!

  50. A 3%APR CD matured and the current rates are very low at less than 2%APR, so I placed the money in a municipal bond mutual fund that is paying about 3%APR and has appreciated in value too. Also, I reinvest those dividends, which are paid monthly in more shares of the fund. And the dividends are tax free. Also, I am not locked into a one-year time frame, as I can cash-out the funds at any time. No more bank CDs for me!

  51. I saved money all year and paid cash for Christmas! No interest. Interesting… =P

  52. We booked plane tickets for longer duration so they were much cheaper (still not cheap though), and are working remotely for a few days!

  53. My tip: Instead of Christmas gifts to teachers, coaches, etc. our family gives Thanksgiving gifts. It takes a bit of preplanning, but it’s a great was to save money, reduce stress at Christmas and stand out from the crowd. While Christmas shopping, there’s usually Thanksgiving-themed merchandise (kitchen towels, hand towels, throw blankets, tablecloths and runners, picture frames, other Thanksgiving decorations) at substantial discounts – sometimes 90%. I will tuck these away to use next year. My son, husband and I sign a Thanksgiving card, being sure to include a reason why we are thankful for this person. The Thanksgiving gift stands out because no one else does this, and the gift is actually used, since not many people buy specific Thanksgiving decorations. The comments we have received over the years have been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks for asking for ideas!

  54. The year i have hopped on the Bing cashback deal. Saved 20% cashback on a present for my mom.

  55. I was able to save quite a lot this Christmas by planning ahead and using the internet. I made my shopping list and then watched for and searched for sales, free offers, discounts, and coupons. I was able to get great deals on all the gifts I wanted and free shipping on most it! There have been lots of printable coupons, too, that I was able to use at local stores for things like toys, clothing, and toiletries. I subscribe to many blogs that post these deals and also to newsletters of the shopping sites. It really takes only a few minutes a day to skim through what’s available and it’s been well worth the time! An added bonus…I did a lot of my Christmas shopping in my pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa at hand!

  56. I gave this a tweet! (someluckydog)
    http://twitter.com/someluckydog/status/6813473385

    and I’m following you, too!

  57. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve needed to go out and buy a new string of Christmas lights to replace the ones that no longer work because they have a mystery bulb (that I can’t ever seem to find) burned-out. So, this year I’m making a savvy investment in L.E.D (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights!

    My research told me that they:
    Use 90% less energy. They have a 50,000 hour bulb life. And, if you shop around you can get them with a guarantee.

    So far, they work great. They use less energy, so I’ll be saving on my electric bill. They’re Energy Star approved, so they’re better for the environment. But, the savings that I’m most excited about are the savings in my time spent not trying to find and replace those burnt-out little bulbs that keep breaking the circuit, and consequently breaking my wallet.

  58. The savviest way I made my money work harder for me this holiday season was to have the kids give homemade and personalized gifts for friends and family and to have everyone spend more time doing volunteer work and helping elderly neighbors. I want the kids to understand Christmas is way too commercialized and isn’t supposed to be all about expensive gifts, and homemade baked goods and arts and crafts type presents make great gifts too.

  59. I set a maximum dollar limit for myself ahead of time and forced myself to stick to it.

  60. I use reward sites like Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards to purchase holiday presents. I’m able to purchase to gifts at little or no cost out of pocket to me!

  61. To make our money work harder this holiday season, my wife and I made it a point to plan our Christmas shopping & expenses ahead of time this year, and by doing most of our shopping in advance, prior to Thanksgiving even, it allowed us to avoid getting caught up in the mad rush of holiday consumerism and spending and stick to our planned budget. It has also made the week before Christmas a lot more relaxed!

  62. steven epstein says:

    to make my money work harder this holiday, I bought delicious holiday foods for my family to enjoy instead of gifts. we shall feast on shrimp,clams,mussels and leg of lamb

  63. I established a Christmas savings account and saved all year so I didn’t have to worry about where the Christmas money came from. Now all I have to do is shop. :) Thanks

  64. Anne Alexander says:

    set a certain amount in stone to spend on each person on the list.
    I stuck to it and did other non cost things for them

  65. Anne Alexander says:

    making homemade gifts and showing hospitality,instead of pulling out credit cards.

  66. The savviest thing my wife and I have done this holiday season was invest in a bond for our 6 month old daughter instead of buying her more toys and other needless accessories that she will grow out of. She will still be getting spoiled by her grandparents so she will not be going without.

    This bond will double in value by the time she reaches college so it will continue to give every holiday season until she is 18!

  67. I have made my money work harder for me this holiday season by using peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sites to squeeze out a few more percentage points on a small portion of my portfolio. I have lent money to others on both Lending Club and Prosper.

  68. I set a budget and followed it. I also shopped the sale items and used department store coupons which saved me some money.

  69. We budget what we think we will spend for Christmas divide by 26 (my biweekly paychecks. We put that into an ING savings account. We also pick up things through out the year for those on our list.

  70. The savviest way I used my money this year was by using my American Express credit card which gave me back 2% at the end of the year and I used that money to buy christmas presents.

  71. The best thing I did during the holiday season was to set some time aside and decide on an asset allocation strategy to automate investments into Index funds.
    1) The money I save by investing in low cost Vanguard Index funds will help by compounding.
    2) Since the investing is automated, dollar cost averaging will help me and I will avoid emotions during investing.
    3) With the Asset allocation in place, I will rebalance annualy and thus buy low, sell high while keeping my investment tailored to my risk profile.
    4) The benefit of automated investing also meant that I will “pay myself first” and stick to a budget every month instead of investing with what was left at the end of the month.

  72. We saved up by putting a certain percentage plus any extra into savings – rainy day fund. The rainy day came…and we are glad we have the fund to get us through it.
    We also cut out holiday gifts to a much lower budget. We skipped any unnessary purchases.
    Went with VOIP phone service instead of our old land line.
    Got prepaid cell phones since we don’t use that many minutes. We are saving at least $500 a year compared to contract phones on this.
    Signed up for ING Electric orange to take advantage of the Black Friday bonus! Can’t beat free cash. We always pay off credit cards in full, if we can’t afford it, we don’t buy it until we can. The credit card’s rewards points turn into extra cash for expenses.
    Using coupons, both online codes and paper based has saved us hundreds over the year.

    Hopefully win this Flip camera with these tips! I can definitely use a gift for myself this year ;)

  73. sandra jensen says:

    I made every effort to remember – there is more to saving money in December than just keeping Christmas spending under control! I changed to an interest bearing checking account, added to and monitored my savings accounts, shopped around for a better cable/satelite deal, etc. Don’t forget your other goals under all the Holiday Dazzle!

  74. Took advantage of cashback offers like Bing, Discover Double cashback and stacked it on top of sweet online deals (and lots of them had free shipping).

    Got a 73″ HDTV for ~$1.2K.

  75. We checked with our gift recipients for ideas of what to buy to avoid buying useless gifts.

    We asked for and tried to buy experiential gifts that last a while instead of stuff: state parks passes, zoo memberships, movie tickets, and so forth.

    To support local organizations, we bought gift cards through a scrip program, so that the organizations get 2-19% of each card without costing us a thing.

  76. Natalia Crockett says:

    I paid myself the difference between the sale price and regular price of Christmas gifts, and put in the interest bearing account.

    Almost everything is on sale this season. For example, when I “saved” $20 on a purchase, I paid myself $20 and deposited into my IRA. That money will earn interest and I am sure I’ll appreciate having it later in life, whereas Christmas gifts provide short term appreciation.

    I also used my CC for all purchases because it earns cash-back, which is like having an additional discount. I paid the card off every week which makes it feel like using a debit card.

  77. Oh wow, I’d love a chance to win!

    The savviest way I made my money work harder this season was by earmarking a certain amount of money exactly LAST season!
    On Dec 21st, I decided to invest $2000 in the SPYDERS etf (SPY). I figured if I could invest some money then, and keep it in the market for 1 full year, any profits I make would be taxed at only 15% (long term capital gains tax)! Otherwise, I’d have to pay 28% in federal income tax on short term capital gains.

    And so I bought 24 shares of SPY at around $84, and watched the stock dive to $70 in March to my dismay. I stayed strong though, and patiently waited for SPY to finish this year around $112! With the $550 in after tax proceeds, I’ve bought 12 gifts for family and friends.

    Now, if I only had more money to invest last December! :)

    Thanks,

    Reb

  78. Jeanette Huston says:

    I have used coupons when shopping, I have bought in store deals, I have looked up ways to earn money blogging, I have entered in giveaways, I have saved on gas by not going out as much, and I search online for ways to save money all the time. I am always trying to save a buck where ever I can.

  79. Jeanette Huston says:
  80. My Xmas strategy goes as follows:

    1) Make a list in Excel of what I want to get everyone and list the MSRP price next to it. (A month or so ahead of time)
    2) Set up price alerts with Price Grabber to alert me when anything drops below 50% off. You’d be amazed how often this happens.
    3) Frequent Slickdeals.net to see if anything I want to get has a crazy sale going on. The forums are full of deals where people will stack coupons and special promotions to get the product very cheap and even free sometimes!
    4) Sign up for an Amazon Prime trial. This entitles me to FREE 2 day shipping on all Amazon purchases. A lot of deals I find are through Amazon, so no shipping is a great deal.
    5) If I have family / friends I won’t be seeing until after Xmas anyways, I don’t stress. Hopefully some after holiday sales will pop up :)

    Last year I beat my Xmas budget by about 70% (I budget @ MSRP of all the gifts I want). I’ll usually donate half my savings, still falling well within my budget.

  81. I bought most of my son’s gifts from Goodwill. Toddlers don’t know the difference and we are helping the community at the same time! :)

  82. We paid cash for everything and I only bought on Black Friday. Got it all on sale and was done – minus a couple of accessories I found on Amazon for $.01 – $1 + $2.98 shipping and handling. I thought I did rather well this year compared to years past.

  83. Alicia Zirjacks says:

    This year I started buying as soon as Christmas was over last year and everything went on clearance. I would pick up items throughout the year that were on sale for a great price or on clearance. I picked up lots of great things this way. The things that I did not wish to give to my children or that I had multiples of, I gave to toys for tots and other kids in the community who would not have much otherwise.

  84. For me, there’s year long planning, holiday season planning, and oops-I-forgot-to-plan-enough planning.

    Year-Long Thinking: Through mint.com I track how much I spend on gifts throughout the year. This helps me make sure that I spend on gifts at a sensible pace. My monthly budget for gifts rolls over, so that at the end of the year I can see how much I have left for holiday gifts!
    I also keep my eyes open for crazy deals throughout the year. I like the site groupon.com which e-mails me every morning with a 50% off coupon for promos/events in my city. I bought my parents orchestra tickets at 50% off thanks to groupon.com!

    When the Holidays are around the corner: Black Friday saved me almost $200 this year. But don’t go without a specific list, or you’ll end up a sucker for good, but unnecessary deals.
    Also, I NEVER EVER buy wrapping paper/cards/bows/boxes etc. anywhere but the Dollar store. I see the same exact items in stores like Hallmark for 3, 4, 5 times as much!

    Crap! Christmas was yesterday!: E-Gift Cards allow you to instantly buy AND deliver a gift through e-mail. I love giving e-cards from globalgiving.org which allows people to choose from charities from around the world to support, and to kiva.org which allows people to help begin micro-loans for small-scale entrepreneurs in the third world. These types of gift cards illustrate what the holidays are all about, anyway! (Plus, Scrooge would mention that they’re tax deductible as well).

  85. I am a pastry chef so my family and friends really appreciate baked gifts. This year everybody is getting something edible. I maximized my holiday spending budget by buying ingredients and creating fantastic desserts. I splurged on decadent ribbons and glassine packaging to complete the look of my gifts.

  86. I have been selling lots of things on ebay–I am trying to simplify my life with less material possessions. The money I earn goes into a high interest savings account, and when enough is accumulated I put it into an ETF, my favorite form of investment these days. I also collect unwanted gifts over the year and donate them to Toys for Tots!

  87. Pretty cool looking camera, that would be killer, dude.

    One way I saved some $$ and kept my sanity was by still paying myself first this holiday. I know that no matter what happens, I have a cushion in case something goes wrong. I sincerely hope people don’t get further in debt thinking loved ones need expensive gifts.

  88. Momma @ 3princessesmomma.com says:

    Whenever we came in under budget in a category, or received unbudgeted money, I put 50% in savings and 50% toward paying off our debt. I paid off my student loan and have moved on to the only consumer debt we have left, my car.

  89. Patricia Herman says:

    I used cash for all my gift purchases. I had save the money each pay period and in October I withdrew the money (it earned interest all year) and paid cash for Christmas giving. I had a budget according to the amount of money I save and I have to say I came in under budget by $40. That money goes back into savings to start for 2010 Christmas.

  90. Austin Rogers says:

    We used a Amazon visa credit card for all of our purchases. We tried to buy everything on Amazon that we could because you get 3 rewards points for every dollar spent on Amazon. We racked up enough rewards points that they are sending us a check for $50!

    The second thing was to budget our Christmas gifts. My wife and I set an amount that we were going to spend on each other and our family. We stuck to this budget and when possible, bought gifts together with other family members to reduce costs for everyone.

    The smartest thing that we did was to use the free iPhone app “Pic2Shop”. You simply take a picture of the barcode of some item and it pulls up a list of stores in the area and the list price of the item so that you can go to the store with the lowest price. This was helpful for many items.

    Enter this newlywed for the win!

  91. We spend time with each other and exchange handwritten notes instead of spending on expensive gifts on christmas. The notes can range from a simple I love you kind of notes to doing the recipient’s task anytime he/she wants.

  92. Sharon Abar says:

    This year I did my own version of the Christmas Club account. That was where you opened an account at your bank and put a little money in each week so you’d have money to spend at Christmas. I wrapped up an empty box with holiday paper and cut a slot in the top. Then each week I put in $10. By the time Christmas got her I had a nice pile of money to spend and money left over to give as well.

  93. What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season? I’ve made my work harder for me by shopping for everything I buy online. That way I’m able to easily shop around to find the best deals through deals websites, and when I’ve found the best deal, to find a better deal by finding coupon codes and by using cash back websites like bing cash back. It’s a great way to save a ton of money!

  94. Vince Byrne says:

    First, we made a list of the purchases for our friends and family. We compared prices to find the best deals, looked for free shipping, rebates, or free stuff thrown in on a purchase. We also got together with friends and made group purchases to receive free gift cards with a minimum purchase. Every little bit helps.

  95. I planned out exactly what my budget was for each person, stuck to it, and bought everything through websites that participate in Ebates or Upromise and offer free shipping. I spent my $200 budget and have gotten $8 back from Upromise and $12 from Ebates. It doesn’t seem like too much, but I effectively got 10% off, never paid for shipping, and only paid sales tax on one transaction. If you count my rebates, I came in 18% under budget!

  96. Q: What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?

    A: I give my money googly eyes, blast a tune from the past (say, like “Somebody’s Watching Me”) and then just stare at it for about 15 minutes… usually saves me a good 15% or more.

  97. I give to the bell. Every time I walk buy the ringing bell wearing the red apron, I give my dollars and change.

  98. “What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?” I shopped on the internet, which was a huge time saver. I specifically shopped at Rue La La, Ideeli and Gilt Groupe for items that I knew my family needed, boots for my daughter and a messenger bag for son who is starting college, that would be 50 to 60 percent off. I saved a great deal of money and time.

  99. I used my rewards points (that I saved for the year)from my debit and credit cards and purchased gift cards, cash and other gifts. This allowed me to get most of Christmas shopping completed without hurting the family budget. I also decided early on what I would be purchasing and set a limit.

  100. After past experience some years ago, my wife and I decided on a dollar amount for holiday shopping and automated a direct deposit into an online account along the way over the year. We are getting better at this every year!

    A lot of things we watch on Amazon (and other retailers) over the year utilizing the comments section to track pricing – even buying occasionally when a seller offers an item for much less than the average price (+ shipping cost) paying directly from the online account with the check debit card number.

    Also bought wrapping paper last year after Christmas for 75 – 90% off per roll versus $3 – $10 original price and plan to do that again.

    Along the way, and during Christmas we have automated investments going into a few dividend reinvestment plans, a couple of Roth IRAs, and another cash account for what ifs (like the unexpected $230 we paid for brake service last week, or the veterinarian bill for about the same amount last month). While no one likely loves unexpected costs, I know they will happen someday, so we try to have it covered. Over time, that has been easier to do as the money is saved up.

    So, in a phrase for what we have done, “auto-piloting our finances” has probably been the big player in making us more savvy.

  101. Diane Balcom says:

    I was able to give some phenomenal gifts this season by starting early and keeping my eyes peeled for internet freebies and discounts. Just because a gift didn’t cost the giver much, doesn’t mean the value is less. On the contrary, I am often able to find something much more personal and meaningful by starting early and finding discounts which give me more product for the cost. There were several photo websites which give away some incredible offers. These gifts took some time to prepare but they were free or no cost and every single person I gave one of these gifts to said it was an exceptional gift.

  102. My family chose to focus on the spiritual aspect of Christmas by and limiting the exchanging of gifts this year.

  103. Fred schebesta says:

    Regifted a prize I was given. iPod touch.
    Gave photos is nice frames of my new child to the parents as they are always hard to buy for because they have already got everything.
    Did a kris Kringle so that everyone gets 1 really good present

  104. I saved money by entering this contest to “Win a Flip” so I do not need to buy one. I have saved a lot of money buying used books off amazon and I got my mac from the apple refurbished store saving a cool $300. Thank you for the contest but mostly for your content.

  105. Fengfei Gong says:

    Instead of giving a present to my parents, I’m helping them with picking stocks for their retirement account. By investing in Chinese stocks for the month of December, their original portfolio of $15,000 is already up by $1000!

  106. This year the fam, fiancee, and I decided not to exchange gifts. Also I have been saving up all my cash in forms of 20s and 10s and depositing them in an account, and only using 1s and 5s to spend. All adds up.

  107. I took all the excess cash from the blog and made and investment in the kids’ 529 plans prior to year end. Since my state allows contributions to the 529 to be deducted from taxable income, I automatically “beat the market” with these funds by over 3% annually via tax refunds which most of the best money managers in the world can’t duplicate.

  108. Enrolled in a 401(k), linked my debit card to rewards through my bank and frequent flyer program. Buying savings bonds for niece and nephews’ college funds for gifts.

  109. I’m not sure if this is considered ‘savvy’ but overall I have truly invested in the joy of giving, and trying to teach my children to do the same, by purchasing thoughtful, meaningful, inexpensive gifts – and incorporating more handmade gifts than ever before.

  110. Donna Kozar says:

    I have done most of my Christmas shopping online this year. I shop the sales through a portal like ebates to get cash back. Then I look for online coupon codes for even more savings.

  111. Deborah Curran says:

    I go to stores that have rebates and use my member card for extra points (ie. staples) and always use amex to collect add’l points. I then cash in my amex points for gift cards to stores where I then bought add’l presents for my loved ones. Today I bought a kodak camera for $79, had a 10% coupon and had rebate for free kodak color printer ($50 value). I get points on my staples card and all charged to amex for my points.

  112. I made my money work better for me by using my AMEX card that offers me money back on my purchases by accumulating points for purchases and also provides me with warranties on purchased I make with the AMEX card. Wouldn’t leave home without it.

    I also use online codes for purchases and rebate sites to also get money back on my purchases.

    AND, I never buy anything that is not on sale or the best price possible. I do a lot of research before purchasing anything.

  113. I have been short on money so it’s been important to be careful and creative. I’ve been clipping coupons, looking for sales, and eating the free food at work as much as possible. I’m a bike commuter so that saves me alot of gas money & a gym membership. I have been selling stuff on craigslist to help give me extra cash for the holidays. But most of all I’ve been careful about my impulse buying and eating out.

  114. My favorite restaurant is giving $25 certificates for each $100 in gift certificates purchased. Even without the incentive of a gift certificate, I know that I will spend at least that much at this restaurant over the next year. By purchasing the certificate for myself I’m getting a guaranteed 25% annual return on my $100 investment.

    Better yet, I have a Passport card (http://passportunlimited.com) which offers Buy-one, Get-one-free entrees at many restaurants including this one. In my case the Passport card was provided by my emplyer at no charge, although at the normal cost of $90 it can still pay for itself in just 4-9 meals.

    Since I get 50% off through Passport and paid just 80% for the gift certificates, I end up paying just 40% of the standard cost of my meals at this restaurant.

    Another way I save money is by using Bing Cashback (http://www.bing.com/cashback or just go to http://www.bing.com and search for things like iPod) which offers rebates on many internet purchases. Sometimes the rebates are ridiculously good for limited times (20% back on all Walmart purchases, 40% off computers bought directly from HP, 35% (yes, thirty-five percent) off any EBay Buy-It-Now purchase using PayPal (it’s at 8% today but changes regularly during the holidays), etc). I bought an iPod Touch 64GB from Walmart for $358+tax=$392. I’m getting $71 cash back for a total cost of $321, far better than anywhere else and just $30 more than I’d normally pay for one with one-half the storage. Last year I bought a new $1012 camera from an EBay “store” (same internet company IU would normally use just using their EBay storefront instead of their normal website) using the 25% cashback available at the time for a $250 savings.

    And of course all of this was purchased using my Visa mileage card which I just used to treat myself to an international business class ticket worth 5x the cost of coach for only 25% more miles.

    I love the holidays for racking up the savings!

    Finally, the best thing I’m doing is signing up for free contests to pass along my knowledge and win cool prizes :-)

  115. Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    I usually have to buy throwaway gifts for some lame white elephant party or Secret Santa. The $20 here and there really adds up, so this year, my friends and I did a junkiest white elephant gift ever party. We dug up stuff from our closets and drawers to give away. We still had lots of fun opening “presents” and exchanging “gifts”, and the best part is that we didn’t have to spent a single penny- some of the gifts were “wrapped” in grocery bags! Ultimately, while some gifts were pretty junky (B&W analog portable TV, a used pumpkin scented candle!), some gifts really echoed the “one’s trash is another’s treasure” sentiment.

  116. My fiancee and I do much of our shopping online with the help of camelcamelcamel to track prices of things we want to buy (but aren’t in a hurry to buy).

    One of the other unique things which we do as a couple is we visit the library often. It seems that young people in their 20′s (our age) are all too reluctant to use the library, instead opting to buy books from bookstores and going out to the movie theater. That money quickly adds up and could be saved for other things.

  117. Q: What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?

    A: I went to yard sales and found gentally used and unused toys and gifts for the kids.

    katie
    eklaramore@gmail.com

  118. I mostly use coupons if needed to save money. I would look for great deals to shop for this holiday season

  119. I have saved money all year to spend on holiday gifts. By searching for online sales and coupon codes my money has gone further than usual

  120. tweeted @momsfocus

  121. I love saving money if at all possible! My family knows that and I do what I can to save anywhere!! I clip lots of coupons and match their sales with the coupons. Of course checking all ads before I go anywhere FIRST.

    I love using my gift cards in conjunction with sales and my coupons. I get my gift cards from usually MyPoints, Swagbucks, Reward Port, etc. For magazines, I get them free at E-Rewards for doing surveys and I make great use out of them passing them on to family Members so they don’t have to pay for them! I also use YouData and you can earn a little bit of cash just by clicking on a few ads.

    If shopping online, you can get online codes for certain stores. You just do a simple search for like ‘coupon codes for Target’ or ‘free shipping codes’. You can use rebates places like Mr. Rebates for Cash back.

    I use my credit cards to pay for purchases that I make and earn rewards and turn it in for cash.

    Also, I send small donations off to a Ministry and I receive an item/items from them. I’ll put them up on E-bay and make a profit off of them!

    Traveling for Christmas? If you can, try flying out on the Christmas Day to save money! Costs will be cheaper for sure.

    I’ve found that homemade gifts work well. Use what you have at home already to make something nice for someone. They will appreciate the thought and love that came from something that you made for them.

    Pretty nice ways to help save money and even in some cases, help me make a little bit of money!! Thanks for this wonderful chance to win! I would LOVE a FLIP Camera and would totally do FLIPS for it!!!! Hoping….

    purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

    I would love, love to own a FLIP!!

  122. My oldest son begged for a Nintendo DS this year, with my husband laid off and me starting a new job to make ends meet we weren’t sure if a DS was going to be in the budget again this year, luckily we found a reasonably priced used one at a pawn shop. It works great and we saved enough buying used, to buy a couple of games and still came below price of a brand new DS.

  123. Instead of many little gifts we decided one nice gift, one of quality that would last.

  124. I did a lot of shopping on Ebay. I love saving money. Finding items that are full quality at half the price was a huge help. I did the rest of my shopping at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. They purchase everything overstock and sell it for a fraction of that price. I bought everything from slippers to food at deeply discounted prices. I get a thrill out of making my money stretch further and further every time I spend.

    Lee :)

  125. I taught myself a new skill: learned about it online, went to the dollar store for basic material to practical experience.

    Then I bought a device that lets me create custom patterns for this skill. Now I’m setting up free open-source software to facilitate this new venture online.

    Using all the contacts I have via social media, I may have a new source of income here, all for less than $300 + time for research.

    Now I could use that camera for making product videos and pics.

  126. Cheryl Bradley says:

    I bought used toys and books for my daughter on Ebay. She loves her used toys more than the new ones my mother-in-law got her.

  127. I handmade a lot of my Christmas gifts this year. Saved me money and was a great way to give a customized thoughtful gift.

  128. i start my Holiday Shopping right after Christmas. So i basically buy Year around everytime i see a great Deal or Sale :)

  129. i went to walmart with a christmas budget. i found presents that didn’t seem very low priced but they were on sale or clearanced. so when i gave people my presents it seemed as if i spent 3xs the amount i really did because i looked for bargains that were good quality.

  130. Kevin Lockett says:

    What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season? Instead of gifts, I encouraged friends to donate $1-5 to Alyssa Milano’s clean water campaign . http://mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=2414

  131. Ashley Tschudin says:

    As a college student I have perfected the art of being savvy with money over the years. In financially difficult times, you learn what you need and what is excess (a concept that is difficult for many young fashionistas like myself).
    Coming from LA, it is difficult to be a savvy shopper when you are surrounded by money and over the top gadgets and goodies daily. One must learn to bargain shop, which includes looking for sales and price matching. A rule of thumb for purchasing a spendy item is walking away and noticing if you still want it a few days later. In addition to bargain shopping, one could shop resale, particularly for clothing & accessories. If fashion isn’t your thing, you can always turn to websites like Ebay or iOffer for the best deals on electronics and other goods.
    To be a savvy shopper you must remember what you NEED & that there is always going to be a way to get the good for less. There is no need to be frugal in these difficult financial times, but it is important to be economically wise.

  132. Ashley Tschudin says:

    I follow you on Twitter as well & Tweeted http://twitter.com/CocktailChic/status/7109199904

    Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  133. Tami Alves says:

    I did the majority of my shopping online. I watched dealnews and slickdeals and started my shopping a couple of months in advance, anytime I seen a good sale. I tried to buy through a site with cashback so I was getting extra savings that way also. I never believe in paying full price for anything and this year I did excellent!

  134. ha what money i won everything i giving away this year for christmas.

  135. I call it the triple whammy. I shop online, I work mypoints and ebates, I find a free shipping offer to make my purchases and I pay with my AMEX rewards card. So I earn 3x off each purchase I would have made anyway, plus I didn’t pay any shipping or burn any gas.

  136. I saved up Amazon GCs that I received from various internet activities during the past year…surveys, contests, etc. Then I watched for toy sales of %70 off and combined with free shipping. I was able to send amazing gifts to friends, grandkids, kids for NOTHING!

  137. The savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season is saving money by reducing credit card debt.

    I’m attempting to master credit card debt. I’m taking advantage of the 0% balance transfers and paying the balance off before the interest rate increases. This past year I’ve been more aware of adendeums or new information being sent out with respect to rate increases. I’ve closed or transfered balances as seen fit to reduce my interest rates. I’ve also sent letters to bank CEO’s in hopes of making an overall change in regulations with respect to policies in increasing rates for respectable ontime paying customers.

  138. This year I made most of my Christmas purchases on ebay. I found some really good bargains that were both unusual but perfect for the recipients. The best thing was that I had so much fun shopping. I would love to have one of these Flip cameras! They certainly seem to be handy.

  139. I stacked coupons with gift cards I already had to save money shopping for Christmas gifts. I also gave some prizes I won away as gifts. I hardly spent any money this year on gifts.

  140. Pick me! I’ve recently had a baby, and will be off work for the next year. As such, money is tight one just my husband’s salary. One simple thing I’ve done is to embrace my glasses. By not wearing my contact lenses, I save money by not purchasing the lenses (every 2 weeks for the kind I wear), as well as not having to purchase the cleaning solution! It helps that I actually like the way my glasses look on my face.

  141. We believe that shopping at Costco, living with no credit card debt, clipping coupons, and shopping on the internet/Ebay/Craigslist should part of everyone’s everyday lives rather than something uniquely special to this year’s holiday season.

    Rather than talk about all of the ways we incorporate everyday savings and frugality into our lives, probably the most unique thing is the way we’re going to be able to meet our budget for our upcoming wedding. My fiancee will make our flower arrangements herself, and I’m designing a photobooth for the kids. We’re having the outdoor wedding and reception at the same site, and we’ll be able to incorporate all of our unique crafty touches without spending more that we wanted on a wedding that will be completely paid for by ourselves.

  142. We’ve recently embraced the reusable bag and as a plus have found out that many places will offer a bag credit! (Target – 5 cents, Food Maxx – 5 cents, Safeway – 3 cents). Good for the environment, good for my wallet.

  143. I stock up on items that we use when they are at rock bottom prices and store them for use throughout the year. I do this with gifts, food, and other consumables. My most recent bargain – 7 packages of 12 count Pepsi for $1.29 each! I’m all set for our yearly summer BBQ. Bonus: when the big earthquake hits, my family will be set for food and most importantly, toilet paper!

  144. I started watching “deal sites” in 2008 so in 2009 I was able to get all my gifts at a GREAT price. It takes work and diligence to check these sites daily (and daily is the key!!) but the pay-off has been huge. I’ve been able to give bigger and better gifts for less money than I used to spend during the holidays.

  145. Ryan Pietrowski says:

    The saviest ways my wife and I saved money this holiday season were by buying a fake Christmas tree from the dollar store which will last for many many years to come and was still a good looking tree. We also used hand me down ornaments and lights from family members who either bought new sets or just didn’t want theirs anymore; and finally for our Christmas dinner which was ever so tasty we used a gift card we received as a gift to pay for all the food so we didn’t spend anything for our feast. So overall it was a very thrifty yet good holiday season

  146. “What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?”

    I have clipped discount coupons for local stores, checked online for additonal discounts esp. via twiiter, as well as entered to win some great gifts via twitter that I would never have been able to afford otherwise (without breaking the bank) to give to my family!!
    Everyone was very happy and I was a very savvy mom this year!

  147. Trista aka @HeveyT says:

    What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season?

    I definitely was seeking deals- did alot of shopping at Marshalls, overstock.com and other discount stores.

    I also charged some gifts in between statements- so 1/2 was due in dec. and then 1/2 will be on my January statement to pay off. That way I don’t go into the hole 1 month- I can save a bit in between. I also pay off in full both times, so i don’t owe going into 2010.

  148. Lisa Grassetti says:

    What is the savviest way you have made your money work harder for you this holiday season? In my husbands family there are 10 siblings so we did a swap this year first year pick one person and buy for that person. We were with close family and everyone brought something to eat so no one had to buy everything. Also in my family we set limits on how much we were spending on each other. Worked out quite well. For me I waited for things to go on sale and used the internet to buy many things.

  149. I combine coupons & rebates along with stockpiling items we use normally use when they’re on sale. It helps that paying full price for anything makes me nuts lol Happy new year!

  150. I made sure to shop sales and start early. I used a lottt of coupons found online and in stores. I also took the time to make homeade gifts and put together inexpensive gift baskets so that the gifts would go a long way but not cost too much. Also, we did not go to as many movies nor dinners, in order to save money.

  151. I am unemployed (as of August)but I was able to honker down and get an apartment(great) and pay my bills! Budgeting and great coupon bloggers help a lot!

  152. I to have been unemployed since July. I went back to school and have been trying to find odd and end jobs and stretch my grad student loans to the fullest

  153. patty herbert says:

    I am unemployed and we live on hubbys paycheck so we made sure we bought sale items. We also try to use coupons or coupon codes online.

  154. Michelle Simons says:

    I shopped online and hit the deals and clearances and with free shipping i could not go wrong at all.

  155. Linda Carver says:

    I saved by buying only sale items. Used all available coupons and took advantage of lots of online sales with free shipping.

  156. I had a plan ready and knew exactly who I was shopping for. I shopped mostly online and used coupon codes to get discounts. Using my debit card made it easy not to go over what I orginally planned on spending. No spending money that’s not there! lol! I also checked different sites for the best deal. Buying some gift sets also helped so that I could take a couple things out and give them to different people, they didn’t know it was purchased in a set :) And it the thought that counts anyway!

  157. I joined a site called swapstyle.com, which allows you to swap clothing you don’t want with other people. So I swapped things I didn’t want for new items with new tags. I gave them away as presents this year and managed to spend only shipping costs. Each package cost me around $4-5 to send! So essentially I spent very little in christmas pressies!

  158. Testdrove a new car for a $50 Gift Card.

  159. Thanks for the chance to win!

  160. I constantly browse Slickdeals.net for the best deals out there & use coupon sites like retailmenot.com to sweeten the deal even more!

    I also cut out or print coupons to save every penny :)

  161. I bought my Christmas wrap, cards, bags, etc. last year after Christmas when the stores had them for 90% off. This year money has been extremely tight and I did not have to spend any money on accessories for Christmas. Also, a group of us that usually exchange gifts every year(for 9 years now) all decided instead to do a White Elephant gift exchange, that way each person only brings 1 gift instead of several.(major money saver) It was a lot of fun and we will probably continue this eash year now.

  162. I saved money and helped my money go further this Christmas by shopping the Dollar Stores for gift wrap, tissue paper, gift bags and even tape! I also discovered twitter and all of the amazing giveaways and won a prize that I would not otherwise be able to afford to gift to my daughter. I also found some great discounts that were only offered via twitte followers by some merchants. All of this help to make our Christmas and still not break the bank. I feel like twitter has definitely helped me to be a very SAVVY mom this year!:D

    Oh yeah…and i saved gift boxes and some gift bags over from last year and recyled them into this year! Reduce and reuse…helping the earth at the same time as being a Savvy Christmas shopper.

    ciesla504@charter.net

  163. Michelle Rosborough says:

    By shopping the 75% -90% off holidays sales last year !!!!!

  164. Jennifer Phillips says:

    I made sure to shop sales and used coupons and free shipping on top of the sale or clearance price to get certain gifts. I also shopped around and looked for the lowest offered price with all options for other discounts before I bought. I ended up with some amazingly low prices and got my sons gifts at unheard of prices for the items, almost 90% off on almost all of them!! It did take up quite a bit of time and work looking around and finding the coupons and codes for free shipping, but it was well worth it!
    I use old Christmas cards to decorate and make into wrapping for the gifts, so they looked great, but it didn’t cost me a penny to wrap them.
    I also did a swap item party with friends and neighbors. We all had new items that were unused and in mint condition, and unwanted by ourselves. So we had a party where we swapped items with each other. There were iPods, printers, video games, and so many great items that everyone ended up with gifts for their family this year that otherwise we would not have purchased!! It was GREAT.
    I did a lot more also, but will stop at these so you have time to actually read this. lol Happy New Year to you and yours. Keeping my fingers crossed since the flip is one item no one wants to trade or put on sale yet. :D

  165. I started by purchasing throws that were on sale. Then I wrapped gifts with them. Before the holidays started, I changed out all my light bulbs to energy efficient ones, then I added insulation to my house. I also convinced my husband to give up bottled water. While I didn’t save millions by doing these things, I saved enough money to buy the grandkids at least one item on their ‘wish list’. I didn’t buy anything online that didn’t come with free shipping either. I am looking forward to finding more ways to save money. This is the first Christmas that I can remember that I haven’t charged anything!

  166. Great responses from everyone. I’m closing down the comments and picking winners soon.