Gifts for Free
Ask Miserly Moms: Save Money on Birthday Parties and Gifts
My Story: Money-Saving Gifts
Giving 'Money' Gifts
With the price of gas and groceries taking a larger portion of the budget, it pays to think of clever ways to purchase gifts for birthdays, weddings, and Christmas. With a little bit of time and effort, you can get new things from the store for free.
In our town, there is a store that buys used books. For the past two months, I have been looking for books at garage sales that I can sell to this store. Many times, people will sell hardback books for as little as 50 cents each and paperback books for as little as 10 cents each. The store that buys them has certain guidelines about which books they will buy. By knowing what they are looking for, I save myself the trouble of bringing books in that they will not buy. I have learned through trial and error which books can be sold back. They need to be in very good condition. They cannot be from a book club or a bargain book. If the store has too many copies of a book, I bring it back later. The books they don't take get donated to the public library and I receive a tax receipt for the donation. When I buy books, I set a limit on how much I will spend. I spend between 15 and 50 dollars up front. I take them right to the store after about one to two hours of garage sales. I can choose to get cash or credit for the books they will take. If I choose credit, I get twice as much as if I choose cash. Most weeks, I get about $75 cash plus $125 dollars credit. I keep the cash to replace the money I spent and use the extra to buy books the next week so I don't have to use any of our household money to purchase books. I use the credit to purchase gifts for weddings, birthdays and Christmas. I can also get gift cards with my credit if I am not sure what to buy. I keep the books that I am interested in. Some of the books I find are in excellent condition and can be used for gifts. I found the whole Harry Potter series of hardcover books for five dollars.
I like using this method because I don't have to sell anything on the Internet or mail packages to people. It is a simple and easy method. I can go with my teenage daughter and spend time with her while we go to garage sales. We sometimes have a bagel and hot chocolate with some of the credit I have collected and visit while we wait for them to process the books.
There are also stores that pay cash for clothing, sporting goods and furniture. Check with the store first and see what type of items they are looking for. By doing this, you have less risk. I make sure I get back the money I spent in cash so it ends up costing me nothing. If my family didn't like books, etc., I could get the cash back and buy things at other stores with the extra money that is left after I pay myself back. I average about $30 for every hour I spend buying and selling books. This takes a great deal of stress off of our budget since we are invited to many social events. When Christmas comes, I will not have to be concerned about going into debt or shopping. Everything is purchased and already wrapped and we can spend the holidays doing things with friends and doing acts of service for others.
Take the Next Step
- Check with your local stores to see if and how they pay for certain items.
- Hit the streets! 10 Garage Sale Shortcuts will really help.
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We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
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