Tag Archives: shopping

9 Ways to Save During the Holidays

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It’s the same story every year, isn’t it?  The holidays arrive, in a whirlwind of candied yams, spiked nog and flimsy tinsel, and then all of a sudden it’s January 2nd; you’re cold, still hungover and decidedly broke.  So what’s a festive yet cash strapped gal/guy like yourself to do?  Why, start your shopping bonanza with thriftiness as well as cheeriness, that’s what. 

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Don’t Budge (from your budget), Blixen 

Most people begin the shopping process by fashioning a list of all the people they need to procure presents for, in a jolly and jovial, Santa-esque manner.  This is a big Ho-Ho-No.  You first need to look at the cumulative present budget that you have to work with.  Now, you can break it down, communist-like, by dividing the figure by the exact amount of people you need to buy for, and each person gets a present within this set monetary parameter.  The other option is to allocate varying percentages of the budget to each individual (let’s face it, great Aunt Trudy who’s visiting from Albuquerque, that you’ve met once, shouldn’t get the same caliber of present as, say, your spouse).  After you perform a fair assessment of who should get what, you may find that you need to trim some fat from the list; sorry, slightly sketchy Steve from down the block, no fruitcake for you this year.

Be Practical, Prancer 

A further caveat to factor in to the spending budget is any and all other holiday related expenses.  These may include, but are not limited to, shipping costs for delivering presents to those pesky out-of-state folk, postage for holiday cards, any new holiday specific home decor items, the anticipated surge in the electric bill due to lights continuously running, scrumptious holiday themed treats, and merry more.  Decide what is essential and then assign these things a monetary cap.   

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Carols & Cash only, Comet 

This is an age old trick that can help even the most magnanimous shopper stay within required fiscal boundaries; leave the credit cards at home and only carry wintry-cold, hard cash.  Some people can never stick to the budgets they have devised once they find themselves in the glittering shopping malls, all strategically loaded with goods designed to drain your bank accounts.  To avoid a Maxed Out X-mas, leave all forms of plastic behind and just bring the set amount of bills necessary to get all your stuff.  This way when your cockles are warmed by the sight of a Twerking Elmo or an Electrolux with disco lights – ‘That would just bring little Timmy oh so much joy this year!’ – you are forced to stay within the confines of your cash limit.  

Don’t dawdle, Dasher!

Often the weeks leading up the the big events can be hectic and stressful, leaving you with little time to get your shopping done.  So what’s the result?  You end up sprinting through whatever stores are open on Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa Eve; a virtual prisoner to whatever items are left in stock, at ridiculously marked up rates.  “Was gonna get Janey a doll made of yarn this year, but the only thing left here are these Tiffany earrings – oh well!  We’ll have to get her ears pierced, too – they do that for toddlers, right?”  No matter how busy you are, don’t procrastinate!  Get your shopping done post-haste.

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DIY, Dancer

Sure, everybody likes shiny wrapping paper and all that jazz, but some presents can take the form of actions rather than goods.  Offering to shovel an elderly neighbor’s walkway, cat-sitting your crazy aunt’s even crazier cat, making a few extra gingerbread cookies for your ornery mail-person; all these kindly gestures are presents that will be very much appreciated and don’t cost a red-nosed cent.  

Use e-Cards, e-Cupid!

Holiday greeting cards can be fun, but when you think about how expensive they can be, along with the added burden of postage, in addition to the amount of trees that have to be murdered… e-Cards look like the way to go.  With zero waste and tons of fun, you can customize these little fellows to say (and even sing!) anything you like.  They are either free or very inexpensive, relative to physical cards, so utilizing these can help free up some extra cash for the rest of the budget.  Also, they’re quite time efficient; knock out that entire list in a just a couple of clicks.   

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Donate, Dunder 

If times are tight for you, just imagine how bad they can be for some others out there.  One way to combat the rampant commercialism and overindulgent consumerism is to collect a few of the more mature members on your list (not the lil’ ones, of course), and see who would be amenable to taking a donation (in their name) to a charity in lieu of a present.  Volunteer that you would like to do the same thing; this way several of you can combine your assets and deliver a sizable gift to the organization of your choice.  It’s the season of giving, and going through with this will have you feeling truly in the spirit.  

Let’s Vacay, Vixen

If you have a significant other, significant mother or close-knit family, you may want to skip the gifts altogether and go on a trip.  The good news here is that during the actual holiday dates (Christmas, New Year’s Eve), prices on hotels, plane fares and the like take a dramatic dip.  It’s a great way to come together as a couple, or entire clan, and see some of the natural and man-made gifts already out there for the taking! 

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Be resourceful, Rudolph 

If you end up with a couple of pennies left over after all is said and unwrapped (or are given a few of those super thoughtful ‘gift cards’ to various stores yourself), you can think ahead to next year and take advantage of the cavalcade of sales now occurring at all the local shops (and online as well).  Yes, shopping may be the last thing you want to engage in all over again, but the slashed prices on inventory (that just needs to be moved) are really unbeatable in January.  So light your sleigh to savings! …or something like that.  

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-Joe Leone   

Even MORE Ways to Make Quick Cash

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So we’ve done quite a few posts on how to make super fast cash in a super fast manner; to the point it seems we’ve fully exhausted the subject matter.  Alas, we have vouchsafed all of the traditional methods available to most people, from selling blood to selling yourself as a bud.  Now, however, we’re going to delve a little deeper into the weird world of inordinately expedited fiscal procurement.

found in translation

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Were you raised by Astonian grandparents who inadvertently taught you your ancestral tongue as they routinely prepared goulash?  Were you an overachiever in high school who learned how to parlez vous Français like Gerard Depardieu?  Can you proficiently fake your way through a full on Spanglish ordering session at Taco Bell?  Que bueno!  Put those linguistic skills to use and pick up some lucrative part time work as an interpreter, translator or language instructor to a spoiled child whose parents want him to learn Sentinelese.  To turn your tongue to funds, take a gander at this site jobs-to-careers.com, capishe?

rep-resent

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If you actually enjoy talking on the phone (unlike most currently living humans), but hate leaving your home (either from agoraphobia or an intense proclivity for Netflix), you can get paid to chat.  Customer Service chat, that is.  Become a rep for one of the many large corps that hire stay-at-home homies (West at Home & Alpine Access are two major organizations always on the lookout for homebody chatters).  So pick up that receiver and use your gift of gab to nab some swag.

 

opinion-compens-ated

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Have no discernible talents but LOTS to say about things?  Super duper; you are ready for a career in the fast paced world of Survey-Filling…Out.  Another task you can complete from the comfortable milieu of your own domicile, survey completion typically takes about 20 minutes.  The pay seems not so stellar (roughly 3 bucks a pop), yet if you bang out 3 in an hour, you’ve just made 9 clams – just for stating your preferences in deodorant scents or type fonts (please don’t ever pick ‘comic sans’).  The more reputable online survey companies include Ipsos, Pinecone Research and Viewpoint Forum.  Other exist as well, but make sure you do your due diligence and don’t sign up for any potentially scam-my ones ($3 = not worth having your identity stolen over).

sweeping up

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“It’s Sweeps Week!”  Yes, that is what you’ll be exclaiming every day if you pursue your dream job in the sweepstake arts.  Granted, this is probably the lowest form of ‘gambling’ that exists, and the payout is usually not so grand, but the upside is that it costs you nothing to enter (so, technically, not even gambling).  Essentially, all you need is the dream…not even the dollar.  Start off with Online-Sweepstakes.com and see how you do.  If you don’t see any results, don’t fret; Shark Week will be just around the corner, and you can potentially catch and sell a tasty mako.

You, Spy

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Are you one of these people who is always on Yelp, leaving scathing reviews and exacting revenge for poor customer service, inferior products and vermin plagued brunches?  Do you revel in engaging in Catfish-like scenarios, going undercover like a glorified Magnum P.I.?  Perfect!  Put your vindictive skills in the field of subterfuge to work for you and assume the meaty role of “Mystery Shopper.”  It’s way more fun than just regular shopping, too; you sometimes get to ask odd questions and be unnecessarily demanding in bizarrely conceived situations.  After it’s all done, you typically have to write up your experience, so a good memory and Jonathan Swift-like writing skills are prized.  To scope out all the mystery shopper platforms available, go to volition.com for a comprehensive listing (to get in the mood, you can always search in “incognito” mode, if using Google Chrome – if you are using Internet Explorer for some reason, there are larger issues at hand…)

have some crowd-fun

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If you’re not familiar with the concept of Crowdfunding, it’s time to get kickstarted.  Have an idea for how to save the environment through using repurposed life-rafts?  Want to send your child to cricket camp in Uganda for the summer?  Looking to start an exclusive club dedicated to people who only watch Youtube videos of squirrels waterskiing?  No matter how random the ‘business,’ or other idea, there is always one consistent commonality: you need money to get it off the ground.  The craziest thing?  There are people out there willing to help fund your possibly hair-brained endeavor.  For a full aggregation of all the best crowdfuding sites, have a look here on Entrepreneur.com (and tell your friends).

need scalp with that?

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Not everything that is going to garner you fast cash is going to be entirely legal.  If there is a big event or concert headed to your town/city/hamlet, snag as many tickets as you can for it immediately and then start selling them online.  You’ll find that once something is sold out, you can jack the price up significantly and still receive numerous hits (some people just need  their fix of Miley!)  If you haven’t sold them all by the day of the actual Ice-capade show or Monster Truck rally, head to the arena and get to scalpin’.  The pro scalpers endemic to the area may try to run you off their turf, but just remember; you have just as much of a (non-)right to be there as they do(n’t).

casino-where left to turn

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Last option: hit the local casino.  Don’t waste time trying to ‘outplay’ other gamblers at the poker table.  They are either better than you or have enough money to blow that they can take bigger risks; either way, you lose.  Then cry.  Best bet is to take whatever you’ve got and put it all on RED/BLACK.  It’s basically 50/50 odds.  So…you feelin’ lucky?

-Joe Leone 

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*If all else fails, you could always sell your old diamond jewelry for the absolute highest price in the known universe with the unwavering help of Diamond Lighthouse.

…Just sayin’.