When I was a kid, my parents made sure that each and every Christmas was memorable for my siblings and me by going all out with gifts, decorations, and cookie baking parties, really stretching their budget to put smiles on our little faces. Now, as a mom to three beautiful boys of my own, I know the joys, and the challenges, that come with creating a Christmas my kids will never forget—and can fully appreciate everything my mom and dad did for us kids each year.
My boys’ excitement for the season each December brings my husband and me an incredible amount of joy, but there’s no denying we have to keep a careful eye on our budget. Luckily, though, the shopping powers that be have given me my own Christmas gift in recent years: smartphone apps that reward budget stretching Christmas shoppers with gift cards to their favorite stores. These shopping rewards smartphone apps have helped me make my family’s holidays brighter than the giant Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!
And now here’s my gift to you: sharing what I’ve learned about how Christmas shopping with smartphone apps can make it feel like you have your very own little Santa’s elves helping you gear up for the most wonderful time of the year! Make sure not to hoard these tips to yourself, though (like you do the last frosted sugar cookie). Here’s to spreading some digital yuletide cheer!
Christmas Shopping Smartphone Apps: A Perfect Gift for Budget Shoppers
You always remember your oldest child’s first Christmas: the happy giggles as he plays with all the toys, the pictures you take together in front of the lighted tree, the adorable, tiny sweater with a reindeer knitted on the front. What you might also remember is how many times you went out to a store to pull that merry little memory off. My rough estimate is about a bajillion trips to my local Target.
While I’ve gotten more efficient in the aisles since then (have you ever tried to control three toddler boys in a Walmart?), the number of trips I make to stores during the holiday season is still pretty high. But these days, I’m getting rewarded for my frequent trips down the aisle because my shopping rewards smartphone apps are helping me to deck the halls (and my wallet) with savings!
When I go out to get blank Christmas cards for all the cousins at any of my favorite shops, I get points for simple things like entering the store, finding and scanning barcodes of featured products, and making purchases. Then, I redeem the points for gift cards that I can give as gifts or use to boost my own budget. I rack up so many points this time of year that I start to imagine I hear a ring jing jingling, and it isn’t silver bells—it’s extra change in my wallet! It’s kind of like the old days of having multiple rewards program cards, except all wrapped up like a gift inside of one easy-to-use app!
3 Ways to Shop Outside the (Gift) Box with Smartphone Apps
Every Christmas, my boys get pretty ambitious with their lists to Santa. I’ve seen it all, from a basketball stadium to pet elephant. As a creative mommy, I do my best to find little things that fit the descriptions (and my budget), like a basketball game for their Xbox or a stuffed elephant that roars when you lift up its trunk. So, when it comes to my favorite advice on how to best use your smartphone apps while doing your Christmas shopping, I suggest flexing those creative muscles yet again.
Since all of my favorite shopping apps are based on points and incentives, it’s important for you to find one that goes above and beyond just helping you earn rewards. Look for an app that motivates you to use it by turning Christmas shopping into a game, like a scavenger hunt! Once you’ve downloaded your app, here are some ways to shop outside the box—the gift box that is!
- Plan ahead (waaaaay ahead): Honestly, I start cashing in my points for holiday gift cards in July. You can never have too many free gift cards to Target; in my experience, you’ll need them for last minute gifts (think neighbors, bosses, your kid’s soccer coach). Earning points for gift cards is always fun, but there’s an added excitement to it (which equals added motivation) when you know you’re doing it with Christmas in mind, even if it’s 90 degrees out!
- Give the gift of gift cards: What I like to do during the holidays is make a list of all the people I want to earn free gift cards for, as well as how many points I need to earn all those cards. Then I check them off as I meet my goals, making sure to pause in my gift collecting once in awhile to slip in a few Starbucks treat cards for myself. If I score tons of points buying featured products over the course of a few weeks, I might redeem a few of them for a Peppermint Mocha for myself and then the rest for a Best Buy gift card for my brother-in-law.
- Set weekly points goals: My favorite thing to do, though, is to set weekly points goals to help make my Christmas even merrier. Like I said above, I start this in July and I do everything I can to stick with it. The only thing that’s more fun than meeting the points goals that you set is breaking them because it’s so darn easy to earn points with the right shopping rewards app!
I love, love, LOVE Christmas but if my budget could talk, I’m sure it would say that it’s happy the holidays only come once a year. That’s why finding my favorite Christmas shopping smartphone apps has been such a gift. My personal favorite is Shopkick, which I can use to accumulate and track rewards, then get paid for shopping I already do by trading in my points (called kicks) for gift cards to big name stores like Target, Best Buy, Amazon, and Starbucks. Shopkick turns holiday hassles into a fun scavenger hunt for big-time rewards. I really ho-ho-hope you love it as much as I do!
This Christmas, get your savings all in one place. Download Shopkick’s free app and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered the gift of shopping with a free shopping rewards smartphone app.