Ways to Save Money

How I Bought Christmas Presents for My Family in Under an Hour and for Less Than $50

Updated December 11, 2015
by Susan Shain
Contributor


I love the holidays. I love the jingles, the lights, the snow, the cheer.

The only thing I don’t like about it?

The money.

I truly appreciate my friends and family, and I want to get them gifts that are as amazing as they are… but I’m on a tight budget! Having just moved across the country to write for The Penny Hoarder, I can’t afford to go too crazy spending on presents this year.

So when I heard about this site called Snagshout, where you can get discounted Amazon products in exchange for unbiased reviews, I was intrigued.

I wondered if it could help me check a few gifts off my list…  without blowing my budget.

With the holidays quickly approaching — and my holiday shopping list rapidly growing — I thought I’d give it a shot.

Here’s what happened…

The Awesome Gifts I Snagged at a 56% Discount

I set a budget of $50 to buy gifts for as many people as I could. I decided to err on the side of quality rather than quantity, and in the end, I found gifts for five people on my list.

Here’s who I shopped for using Snagshout, what I bought and how much I saved:

1. Mom: 2-Pack Solar Power Outdoor Lights

My mom recently retired (lucky!) and now spends a lot of time in her garden. I thought these solar garden lights would be perfect for the new path she’s making around the house.

In return for the great discount I received on these lights, all I had to do was write an unbiased Amazon review.

Snagshout gives you two weeks to submit your review, but because you’re only allowed to order one item at a time, I wrote this item’s review as soon as I received it. That way, I could quickly order my next gift.

Amazon Price: $21.99

My Cost: $13.50

Savings: 39%

2. Dad: Luxury Peppermill

My dad is always the most difficult person to shop for. He doesn’t have stereotypical “dad hobbies” like golfing or fishing, and he’s worn the same Wrangler jeans since before I was born.

He does, however, love to eat. (Must be a family trait.) He puts pepper or hot sauce on almost everything, so I knew this chic-looking pepper grinder would make a great gift.

Because my orders were gifts that I didn’t use personally, it was tough to write comprehensive reviews — of this one especially — but I did my best to share something honest about each product. In the reviews, I noted I hadn’t opened the items, and once the holiday has passed, I’ll update my reviews with more details from my giftees.

Amazon Price: $24.99

My Cost: $9.99

Savings: 60%

3. BFF: H20 Survival Water Filter Travel Straw

One of my besties is a wildland firefighter who spends her summers in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. During fire season, I worry about her constantly. I know this survival straw won’t keep her safe, but it could help her in case of an emergency.

Despite the fact I could only order one item at a time with Snagshout, my Amazon Prime membership made the process pretty easy. I received each item two days after ordering it, making this the earliest I’ve ever done my holiday shopping!

(Don’t have Prime? Grab a free 30-day trial to make shipping with Snagshout quick and free.)

Amazon Price: $20.99

My Cost: $10

Savings: 52%

4. Roomie: Wine Decanter, Aerator and Wine Glass

My roommate’s and my favorite way to unwind is by sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine and talking about everything (OK, fine, it’s almost always about boys).

With this wine decanter, we can be super fancy while we hang out in our sweats.

By the time I snagged this deal, I was allowed to order both this item and the next one; once you’ve snagged and reviewed several items in a timely manner, Snagshout increases the number of items you can order at once.

Amazon Price: $24.99

My Cost: $9.99

Savings: 60%

5. “Lil’ Sis”: Barrel Racer Heart & Bracelet

This 8-year-old girl isn’t my real little sister — she’s someone I tutor every week. She loves horses and jewelry, so I can’t imagine a more fitting gift. I’m so excited to see her face when I give her this cute bracelet.

Snagshout only has a limited amount of each product, so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. With the crazy discount offered, I figured supplies would run out quickly. 

Amazon Price: $19.95

My Cost: $5.95

Savings: 71%

Would I Use Snagshout Again?

Phew! Can you believe I got all those fantastic gifts for such a small amount of money?

In total, I snagged $112.91 worth of items for only $49.43 — a savings of 56%!

Because I’m lucky to have a lot of wonderful people in my life, I didn’t get through my whole list, but I did get an awesome head start.

Whether you have Prime or not, if you want to use this strategy to buy your holiday gifts, I’d recommend starting as soon as possible. Though Snagshout’s offers change all the time, it always has a selection of items under $10

Personally, I’d like to use Snagshout again in the future. Though it was quite a marathon to get through my holiday shopping this way, I plan to log in every few weeks over the next year and order great gifts as they pop up on the site. I’ll also check their Twitter and Facebook channels, where they announce the latest deals.

I’ll just have to be careful that I don’t get too carried away… I did, for example, just snag this foldable wine flask for $3 as a gift to myself. That’s a savings of 86%, but it was still a few bucks I didn’t really need to spend.

But what fun is holiday shopping if you can’t land a few deals for yourself?

Interested in shopping through Snagshout? Click here to learn more.

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Snagshout for working with us to bring you this content. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

by Susan Shain
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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