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Holiday Gifts

One Fantastic Way to Save a Bundle on Holiday Gifts!

I don’t know about you, but as our family keeps getting larger so does the cost of our holiday gifts. Due to this, we keep coming up with more and more creative ways to pile more presents under the tree for less. Sometimes, this can be tricky, since all of the kids want everything they see, plus we have family to buy for. And this doesn’t even include the food! But this year, we found yet another way to save money and keep below our budget.


We have had some old and broken phones sitting around in my office for almost a year now. This is horrible, I know! But as I started thinking about holiday gifts and how we were going to make the budget work this year, I happened to glance over my shoulder and saw them sitting there. While they were taunting me, the idea struck me that I might be able to sell them. So I started to search around the internet for places that would take older and/or broken electronics and give me money or trade credit in return.

I found a few places and began entering some of the information. On some of the sites, I could get something for the old electronics but it wasn’t much. Well, then I just happened to stumble across the Amazon Trade-In site, which I didn’t even know EXISTED, until that moment.

For me, this was a truly fantastic find because I could get almost everything that the kids wanted for the holiday’s on Amazon.

Since Amazon was willing to pay us for the old phones sitting around collecting dust, that triggered me to search around for other electronics that we hadn’t used in years. I began the hunt and found a lot of old camera equipment that I hadn’t used in what seems like forever. I also found my daughter’s tablet that she got for Christmas last year and subsequently broke in less than a month.

The Deal

It really didn’t take me too long to input the information for each piece of equipment and get the estimated trade-in value. This was a really simple process, once I knew exactly which make and model I was dealing with.

Overall, I was able to trade-in 5 of my items, while the other’s I am left with still trying to figure out the best place to sell them. I thought I was going to get around $156.00 for all 5, which is SO much better than them just sitting here doing nothing.

Amazon Trade-InHowever, once I sent the items in, it appears that Amazon didn’t like my telephoto lens, for reasons unknown. I am not entirely sure why, because they didn’t give an explanation for why it was returned (it was even in the original packaging!). But they did give me more for my daughter’s broken tablet than they originally estimated, so it came close to the original quote.

I sent in all of the potential trade-in’s on a Friday and had the money in my Amazon account by that next Wednesday. I didn’t have to pay anything for the shipping and it was a really easy process, so this was a pretty big win for me!

Holiday gift Budget

Now that I had $113.55 in my Amazon account, that would help keep our holiday budget under what we originally planned.

This year, we told the kids that we were doing one large family gift, which happens to be a year long membership to a local kids museum, Marbles, because then we can go play whenever we want to and it is a tax write off to boot! This membership costs $120 annually, so we had already taken that into account when we planned our holiday budget this year.

Bryan and I sat down and discussed what the budget would be for each child’s individual gift and decided on a maximum of $30 each. On top of that we have a $20 limit for our family member’s gifts. Since there are 7 of us, we would each be getting one present for another family member. So here is how the math breaks down for our planned holiday budget:

Annual Museum Membership: $120

Individual Children’s Presents: 5 x $30 = $150

Family Presents: 7 x $20 = $140


We have purchased all of the gifts already and due to the unanticipated Amazon money, we actually only ended up spending a total of $301.51. That is over $100 UNDER budget. Oh yes, this is definitely what I call a WIN!

Now I just need to try and sell all the other stuff that I have gathered and see if I can get to the point where we actually pay $0 for holiday gifts. Heck, if we could make more money from selling our stuff this season than we spend on gifts, that would make for an even more frugal holiday season. And I don’t know who doesn’t love that!



  1. Erik says:

    I’ll be looking at deals online for the majority of my purchases. These are some great suggestions, I’ll keep in mind 🙂

  2. Nice find! We sold our old smartphones (some old crumby LGs that we still liked because they were our first smartphones) on eBay and got way more than I thought we would. Go figure.

    But selling things you have laying around the house is a fantastic way to get money for the holidays.

    I never know how to account for that ‘properly’ in the budget, but we use a ‘craigslist jar’ approach. If I sell things and get $200, then turn around and buy $200 in gifts, I don’t ever count that $200 in spending. I view it as a complicated barter system, where we traded stuff for stuff, and never really spent any of our budgeted funds. Probably not a great system, but it works for us.

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