***Friday Favorites***

Today is Black Friday! Today is, hands down, one of my very favorite days of the year … but it has NOTHING to do with shopping. Today is the day that we put up our Christmas decorations. When my boys were little we used to send them to my in law’s house so we could work undisturbed, and we loved seeing their excited faces when they returned at the end of the day and saw our home transformed. Now that they are older, they help (mostly the older boys) by bringing boxes up and down from the basement and helping my husband with the outside decorations. We go a little over board … tons of lights and lighted figures (Star Wars anyone?) outside and 8 (yes, eight!) trees inside. It’s quite the spectacle. Today is also the day to enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers. For some reason, the food tastes so much better the next day … who needs turkey, give me a bowl of all the carbs and I’m a happy girl.

But back to Black Friday … I may not do any shopping today, but I do usually start my Christmas shopping online this weekend. So I thought that for today’s Friday Favorites I would share one of my very best tips and favorite ways to save money while holiday shopping (or anytime of year really), because who doesn’t like to save money, right?

Quite a few years ago I discovered a website called “Ebates”. I truly couldn’t tell you how it works, I just know that it does! When you make an online purchase, first log in to the Ebates website or app (which you can use on your phone or tablet, or you can use a plug in for your web browser, which is what I use on my computer), select the store you plan to shop from and the website will take you to that site through theirs. If that site participates with Ebates you will receive a percentage of your purchase via cash back in a check that they (Ebates) sends you once per quarter. I’ve never quite figured out how this works … I’ve tested it, and the prices when you shop through Ebates is the exact same as when you go direct to the website.

I checked my account today, and over the years I’ve gotten over $1200 cash back! Not every website participates, and some will for a time (we earned a lot of cash back years ago when we ordered our whole house generator from Home Depot) and then stop, but it only takes a few seconds to check so I always find that it is worth it to look first.

The amount of cash back also varies by website and whether or not they have a special going on. For example, I checked quickly this morning and I see that some of the websites that I know that I will use for some of my kid’s gifts … Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart … are all offering 10% back for Black Friday. This will be on top of any sales or specials the store is running themselves! You can see how this quickly adds up. Ebates also has an option to shop in store by linking a card, but I’ve never done this. Something to look into.

If you are interested in checking it out, I’ve included my referral link here which also includes a $10 sign up bonus for you … www.ebates.com

What are your plans for Black Friday? Share your favorite holiday shopping tips!

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