How to have a $50 Christmas

TELFORD, Pa. - Nov. 3, 2010

"My goal is less than $50 out of pocket," Kaley explains.

Kaley's a money-saving expert who shares her thrifty tips on her blog, "Chaching on a Shoestring."

And for the past year, she's used several strategies to reach her $50 Christmas goal.

"I have a lot of different sites that offer rewards, gift cards, and cash, for things like checking emails, and searching online," Kaley explains. ."So, I've been accumulating cash and rewards in each of those sites for the whole year, and also doing rebates. I've, accumulated over $270 just doing rebates throughout the year. I'm putting it all together in one fund to fund our Christmas."

When Kaley searches online, she uses the Swagbucks search engine.

"You can earn "Swagbucks," which, as you accumulate them, you can redeem them for things like Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, electronics, a variety of things," she explains.

While Kaley's husband, Wes, watches TV at night, he fills out online surveys through Pinecone Reasearch. Each completed survey pays $3.

"Three dollars every week over the course of a year really adds up and that's another way we're slashing our Christmas budget," Kaley says.

Kaley's also very organized about sending in for manufacturer's rebates. She deposits all her rebate checks directly into her Christmas account. And she keeps track of her growing nest egg on an Excel spreadsheet. So far, she's accumulated more than $700.

And when she does shop for gifts, Kaley uses reward sites, that put a percentage of her purchase price back into an account for the next time she shops.

"There are different sites where you can earn money back when you shop online through them," Kaley says.

She uses eBates, Cashbaq, and Shop at Home.

"If you create an account in those sites, then you shop through their links, you'll get maybe 5% back in your account. And then, once you reach a certain level, they'll send you a check in the mail."

And though it's probably too late to plan a $50 Christmas for your family THIS year, you can likely earn a few gift cards through Swagbucks, and a few rebates on shopping sites between now and the holidays to cut your bills just a bit.

To read Kaley's blog about her Christmas fund strategies, click here.

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