$250 American Express Gift Card

The holiday shopping season is in full effect. Have you started knocking out your gift list yet? Have you even started a list lol? I really hoped I could say “one and done” this year by having all of my presents purchased and wrapped by December 1, but I had no such luck! I may not be on schedule, but I will still take the time do my homework and shop smart this, and every, holiday season!

I’ve teamed up with American Express to offer up a “Holiday Shopping Challenge” for a chance to win the gift card of your choice valued at $250! The goal is to educate my savvy readers, and for my readers to educate each other, on the benefits of smart shopping. The following are a few of my tips for staying within your budget this holiday season.

Holiday Budget Shopping Tips

  • Always Know Your Limits – Start with an overall budget and then come up with an itemized spending limit per each person on your list.
  • Track your spending. It helps to have a spreadsheet that subtracts each dollar spent against your total budget.
  • Online Shopping – I find that a lot of times I can get a better deal online as the market tends to offer more competitive prices. When ordering online, wait for free shipping and if possible, free return shipping.
  • Do Your Homework – Most merchants offer price matching. I always search for deals online for the best price and call a merchant to see if they would honor the same price and they usually will to get your business.
  • Membership Rewards – One of my best tips is to get paid for shopping – earn rewards, not finance charges. I put all of my shopping dollars (gas, food, literally everything) on my American Express Rewards Card. I pay it off at the end of the month so that I do not incur finance charges (which is easy by staying within my budget), and earn Membership Reward points on all dollars spent, so they are essentially “paying me” to use their card. The rewards I earn can be put towards saving on future purchases. Membership rewards are an amazing way to stretch my holiday shopping budget even further.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the spirit of holiday shopping with all of the beautiful lights, music and smell in every store. For this reason alone, I try my best to get all of my shopping online so that I do not give in to temptation. In fact, I don’t even bother with Black Friday deals when I can usually get a better deal on Cyber Monday, with free shipping, and avoid the crazy crowds.

My Holiday Shopping Challenge

When I host these contests, I always get so jealous of my readers and wish I could win the giveaways too. Well guess what, American Express is also giving me a $250 gift card and 40,000 membership rewards. My challenge is to cash in my gift card and points on 5 of my loved ones, without going over this budget. Check back next week to find out who won this contest and check out what I picked up for my friends and family, including an item I purchased at Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is the day we celebrated the “Shop Small” movement that drove shoppers to local merchants across the U.S.

How To Win

Leave a separate comment for each entry below (comments must be approved). US residence only please. Contest ends at 11:59 pm PST December 8th and a winner will be selected at random on December 9th.

Required (once): Share your personal tips for staying within your holiday budget for a chance to win a gift card of your choice valued at $250!

Additional Chances to Win (optional): – Tweet and/or Facebook a budget tip (up to once daily) and comment to this post to let us know you have done so.

Please remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.

Disclosure – this is a paid sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.


  1. adrienne zedella says:

    left my comment on facebook American Express $250 Holiday Gift Card Giveaway
    The Looks For Less
    The holiday shopping season is in full effect. Have you started knocking out your gift list yet? Have you even started a list lol? I really hoped I could say “one and done” this year by having all of my presents purchased and wrapped by December 1, but I had no su…
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    Adrienne Zedella I can’t afford alot, so I only get my sons the things they really need: underwar, socks tshirts and shoes.about a minute ago · UnlikeLike · 1You like this..

  2. lala r says:

    make a list of the gifts to be given and keep on track of your spending
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  3. Louis says:

    my holiday $avings tip is to shop year round and take advantage of sales

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

  4. Louis says:

    I tweeted

    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

  5. Ela says:

    If you overspend your budget on one person, immediately decide where in the budget you will cut back to make up for it.

  6. Mami2jcn says:

    Shared a tip on FB 12/7 with my username Mary Happymommy–http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=302686779761692&id=100000611160195

  7. Mami2jcn says:

    tweeted 12/7–https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/144447606179897344

  8. Lana says:

    Make a list of the gifts that your loved ones want. Research where you can find these gifts for less, then when you go to the store or the website you will know exactly what your looking for and how much it will cost. Just don’t get distracted with the “sales” that some of these stores offer.

  9. Patti says:

    Before I order anything online,I first go to Ebates to see if they offer a percent off on that retailer. I also check for coupon codes or free shipping codes. It all adds up!

  10. Patti says:

    I tweeted a tip to save money!

  11. Cynira C says:

    My own personal tip to staying in my budget is to shop online. I always look for free shipping and coupons when purchases as well as compare prices bbefore buying. Also do not forget to sign up for sites like ebates.com and shopathome.com to earn extra cash back on your purchases!

  12. Kam says:

    Make a list of what you are buying and where it is from. Make sure everything is with in your budget and find some coupons for the stores. During Christmas time stores are having a lot of random sales too so be sure to check them out and plan your shopping trips when they are having sales. :)

  13. Tika says:

    To stay in budget, I like to make about half my gifts. Desserts are some of the best presents!

  14. Mami2jcn says:

    Shared a budget tip on FB with my username Mary Happymommy on 12/8–http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=303241339706236&id=100000611160195

  15. Mami2jcn says:

    tweeted a tip 12/8–https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/144778691019423744

    Thanks for the chance to win! Fingers crossed!

  16. GM says:

    Once I figure out what to get people, I always look try to look for the best deals. Aside from shopping on Cyber Monday I’m constantly looking for cash back on sites such as Ebates and FatWallet. It’s another great way to earn some money back no matter how big or small.

  17. I shop at nicer stores with higher quality stuff, but I stay within the sale/clearance merch to get great products for lower prices.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Q says:

    Keep the list within your means. Not everyone deserves a $100 gift.

  19. Shelley says:

    I always research before buying…try checking amazon.com and other online sites before making a final decision!

  20. Donna says:

    Check out pricing online before going to the stores – wait a couple of weeks and keep checking for price changes.

  21. Lizzie says:

    I try to only buy if it’s on sale- and really think about if the person who I am buying it for would enjoy it or actually use it. A lot of times I think about if they would acutally use it and then put it back- especially if its something specific. I also try to coupon clip more to save on food and party items.

  22. Danae Jones says:


  23. Betsy Cordes says:

    As much fun as it is buying fabulous presents for friends and family, if I’m getting close to my spending budget, I love to make personalized gifts! With beads and unique earring hooks you can make some fun, colorful earrings easily. One year, after buying presents for my sisters, I still wanted to throw in something extra so I make sculpey magnets tailored to something they loved. I baked them and hand painted them. They were a big hit. I also completely recommend fancy iron on letters from craft stores that can be used to personalize all kinds of fabric items. With a little creativity, you can create some fabulous gifts without breaking your budget!

  24. Katy says:

    Always make a list before you go shopping, it’ll keep you on track. And be sure to check ads for deals!

  25. Kat says:

    Tweet Tweet! I just tweeted my idea for saving cash this holiday season!

  26. Sheila Hedlund says:

    My list can get quite extensive with all the nieces & nephews so I choose family gifts instead of individual ones. Gifts for a family game night, movie night, etc.

  27. Veronica says:

    I always create a budget to make certain that I don’t overspend. I also use any gift cards and credits at daily deal sites to purchase gifts. Additionally, I look for coupon codes online and try to get the best deals possible.

  28. Kiley says:

    I ALWAYS make a list and stick to it!

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