American Express Small Business Saturday! (Win A $250 Gift Card)

CONTESTS, REVIEWS & CONTESTS | | November 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm


Congratulations “It’s Not Like A Cat”!

It has really taken me a while to appreciate small businesses. I mean I have loved getting into a big named store knowing exactly where everything was no matter which city or state it was that I entered. Then I got older, and hopefully smarter too, and realized that whole cookie cutter stuff had less appeal. I liked being known by my face rather than “what’s your account number?” and better yet I loved that the service was so personal. The products are also wonderful especially when you don’t want to step out with the chance that maybe somebody will be wearing that exact same outfit. On a crazy note, I just love the competition and diversity of it all. The shorter chain to the top also means faster innovation becomes visible with less red tape. Yes, you can clearly see I am a huge fan of small business.

In fact today as I shopped a little on Black Friday (on a whim and no I would not stand in any line in the wee hours of any morning) I yearned for the smaller stores as I traversed the malls bored out of my mind. Good thing tomorrow is Small Business Saturday (November 26th 2011). Wondering what Small Business Saturday is? On the weekend that is supposed to be one of the busiest shopping weekends, a pledge to shopping at a small business locally would hopefully fuel the economy. I love that American Express is behind this initiative and supports this annually. This is the 2nd annual “Small Business Saturday” and proof that I firmly believe in this concept is last year I actually posted about this very campaign. My favorites in small business are Balance Spa and Stellabella Toys.

Now I know most of you are savvy shoppers out there but I would love to share with you a few tips I use.

  • Use a card instead of cash. No, I am not promoting you run yourself in debt, (we pay our cards in full every month) but using a card helps with budgeting, card protection (you know like if goods or services were not delivered) and you rack up points or rewards in the case of American Express. My deal is if you are going to buy something you may as well earn something for you too right? I even collected points when they had a diaper program for a wagon. For credit cards I used points for many things from toys, home appliances and even flights. Stay tuned as I follow up in the next post sharing more about rewards from American Express.
  • When shopping in this crazy season remember that sales do not mean you have to have it. It just means if you were already planning on purchasing it then go ahead and get it if it is now on sale. My rule of impulse buying is say no and walk out and if you really have the urge after leaving the store to go back and get it. I have found most times I did not care much about the item anymore.
  • I dislike feeling pressured from sales people. The “if you don’t take it now the sky will open an swallow you up” mentality makes me walk on just on that point alone. Shopping is a pleasurable experience and no-one should be changing that. Also everyone works really hard for their money and being made to feel guilty that you don’t own something is totally not cool.
  • Make it an investment. I spied some kiddie chair today and though I was sorely tempted to purchase those highly marked down ones I realized that it was not the best quality. While I could easily have bought the cheaper chairs I knew fast forward a few months they would be sitting on the kerb for trash collections. I am done with helping fill the landfills and sticking to things that would last, and if I cannot afford it then I wait until I can.
So armed with coupons, cards, points and my head firmly on my shoulders I will braze the crowds and score. Since it is Black Friday how about we have something special on

Would you like to win a $250 gift card of choice?

Now when you pick up your jaw off the floor from the disbelief at the amazing prize you can start reading further so you can actually enter, because there is no way to win if you don’t enter. To win tell me what so you do to stay within your holiday budget Winner chose by Giveaways open to  US residents only.

Please DO NOT leave your email address within the comment!!! Contest closes on December 1st 2011.

Don’t forget to visit out other fabulous giveaways on

Disclosure: This is part of a compensated campaign with American Express.


  1. 201
    Carla says:

    I start buying all year long, so I don’t have much to buy at the last minute.

  2. 202
    Beth Brickell says:

    We only buy gifts within our immediate family and we have a set limit for each. This year is $50.00. I bake cookies, little cakes, etc. for friends outside the family.

  3. 203
    Bobbi says:

    We have a limit on how much we spend, same on each child.The extended family will get homemade gifts.

  4. 204

    We have a set budget for each child. Our family does a secret santa for everyone and the gift has to be under $20.00.

  5. 205
    Debbie C says:

    I try to buy gifts when they are on sale all through the year. I also make a few gifts when I have time.


  6. 206
    Terra Eash says:

    I save on holiday shopping by just getting people useful gifts throughout the year when I find good deals, rather than trying to buy large gifts at one time.

  7. 207
    Gena says:

    I am a lot more discerning in whom I buy presents for. I don’t mean that to sound rude but sometimes we get over excited and tend to buy stuff for EVERYBODY we know when really that is not necessary. It’s a nice sentiment but not always practical

  8. 208
    erma says:

    I use coupons to stay in budget.

  9. 209
    Raine says:

    I decide ahead of time how much money I can spend on each person and try really hard to stay within that amount.

  10. 210
    Aubrey Briskin says:

    only use cash to buy things

  11. 211
    Kim Shipley says:

    We put a limit on gifts that we buy, to stay within budget. For ourselves we will put off buying gifts until after holiday sales since what matters more is that the kids have their gifts under the tree :)

  12. 212
    Frank Kerner says:

    To stay within my budget, I don’t go out to eat as much and shop online!

  13. 213
    Gloria Popp says:

    Have a list and stick to it; how much to spend & who to buy for.

  14. 214

    We only buy gifts that are on sale.

  15. 215
    Heather Garcia says:

    I buy all year when stuff is on sale

  16. 216
    Michelle says:

    I save up all my points all year from Swagbucks, My Points and wait until about November to cash them in.

  17. 217
    Julie L says:

    I shop all year round picking up items on sale etc…I also enter
    contests to win gifts thanks

  18. 218
    beth says:

    I make a list and stick to it-no matter what

  19. 219
    gala says:

    we have a special account for holidays’ spending so when money is gone that’s it

  20. 220
    Wendy T says:

    I spend cash and make a list. Since it’s just my son and I, it’s not too big of an issue.

    It can sometimes start to escalate if I get to thinking we need that tray of cookies, or that special meal, etc. Then I remember those things taste the same all year long.


  21. 221
    happi shopr says:

    I shop sales and use coupons.

  22. 222
    Tesa S. says:

    I went shopping on Black Friday for a few good deals, then purchased a couple things from Amazon and got free shipping. I had to use a credit card, but it’s okay because I can space the payments out to a few months and get it paid off.

  23. 223
    Claire says:

    Sales, more sales, and coupon codes! It’s easy to find good deals this time of year :)

  24. 224
    Valerie Taylor Mabrey says:

    I keep a list and check it twice. Then if the budget gets tight I have a new concept of nice. lol I do try to limit myself on a budget or things get way out of hand.
    vmkids3 at msn dot com

  25. 225
    Barbara Evans says:

    buy all year long & enter giveaways

  26. 226
    Barbara says:

    cut back on list of giving

  27. 227
    Barbara says:

    enter lots of sweepstakes

  28. 228
    Barbara says:

    use coupons to save money

  29. 229
    Barbara says:

    look for sales

  30. 230
    Geoff K says:

    I stay within my holiday budget my scouring the net for coupons, discount codes, sales, and offers, with the help of price comparison sites and cash back sites, and agree on a spending limit mutually with each friend and family member ahead of time. Thanks!

  31. 231
    Gail W says:

    I have a list in my purse with gifts I need to buy for the holidays. I collect the tiings all year long. By time December comes along, I have all the gifts I need!

  32. 232
    Gary Eldridge says:

    I don’t have a budget…….

  33. 233
    Toni E. says:

    I buy gifts all year long so I won’t spend this big chunk of cash in December.

  34. 234
    Crystal F says:

    I start buying after Black Friday. I wait to get everything I need on sale. Things seem to get cheaper as it gets closer to Christmas. If I’ve set a certain amount for someone and I can’t find the gift for that amount then I choose something else. Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. 235
    Ana says:

    I start to make a list of the necessities and the wants

  36. 236
    Barbara says:

    read the ads for sales

  37. 237
    Barbara says:

    exchange names

  38. 238
    Barbara says:

    make some of your own gifts

  39. 239
    Barbara says:

    use cash only

  40. 240
    Barbara says:

    don’t buy anything extra for yourself

  41. 241
    laurie says:

    i make a list and stick to it.

  42. 242
    Kathleen Conner says:

    I buy all-year round, starting with clearances after Christmas

  43. 243
    mary gardner says:

    i only buy gifts for family and shop sales year round. for all teachers, neighbors and family friends i homemade gifts. this year they will get homemade bread.

  44. 244
    ELANGO thirupathy says:

    Luve to give gifts

  45. 245
    Hoa Le says:

    I always look for online deals and keep track of all my spendings during the holidays.


  46. 246
    MichelleS says:

    I coupon throughout the year to save on money, and on top of that any loose change I have I put in a jar specifically for the holidays.

  47. 247
    christina givens says:

    I usually go over budget with last minute little stuff.

  48. 248
    michelle kessler says:

    i track sales and online deals and use alot of coupons and i only buy for children after all its a kids holiday not a spoiled adults holiday its for the kids

  49. 249
    Carolyn Gates says:

    Since we are a one income family, I buy throughout the year. And take advantage of layway programs, helps a lot, buy on sale.

  50. 250
    MelissaO says:

    I only buy gifts for immediate family and do a Secret Santa with a group of my friends so we all only buy one gift. Plus, I go for meaningful rather than extravagant!

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

  51. 251
    Jennifer C says:

    We use cash to stay within a budget and buy a lot of gift cards.

  52. 252
    Lily says:

    I find great deals on Black Friday!

  53. 253
    Helen Stockwell says:

    I also research for what I am looking for a various stores. I review onlines sites, the inserts in papers and tv commercials. You won’t believe how much you can save by researching before you shop!

  54. 254
    shawna says:

    I use tons of coupons.

  55. 255
    Kayla says:

    I shop around for deals and only buy when things are on sale or when I have a coupon.

  56. 256
    Jill L says:

    I make a lot of my gifts for family and even some friends. Also shop around for the best deals. Helps to start early.

  57. 257
    Jill Kinney says:

    I look for the sale items whether in a store or on the internet, so most of the items I buy are on sale and praying also helps, God helps me get some really good deals. Also this year we are buying mostly for the children.

  58. 258
    Lisa Garner says:

    To stay within my Holiday budget I buy small items and stocking stuffers on sale through the year and then when my children know what item they want for Christmas I constantly search and usually find it on sale.

  59. 259

    yes would just love to have it

  60. 260
    Jammie says:

    we purchase from the mark down shelves

  61. 261
    marilyn says:

    pot luck instead of cooking everything ourselves

    jdmimi at gmail dot com

  62. 262
    Aisling says:

    I buy gifts all year, watching for sales and specials. That way I don’t have much to get just before the holidays (and I’ve put money aside for those items). mcgillrmcgill(at)charter(dot)net

  63. 263
    Brittney House says:

    To stay in budget, i go into sale hunter mode. I stalk the sale papers and clip coupons til my finger bleed (jk hah)

  64. 264
    Carolyn Daley says:

    I buy gifts throughout the year when I see great deals in conjunction with my discounts at work. I also do a lot of comparison shopping online and use gift cards I have won to put towards the purchase of gifts that I think my family will enjoy.

  65. 265
    Denise Donaldson says:

    I shopped at black friday, and cyber monday sales.

  66. 266
    Ross Hassel says:

    I don’t, I go over every year. It’s about giving.

  67. 267
    Angela Cisco says:

    I try to compare prices and find the best deal possible. My budget is pretty small this year so I have to be extra careful.

  68. 268
    Ann Marie Walker says:

    I buy gifts through out the year when I find them on sale and then I set a strict limit on what will be spent at Christmas and stick to it.

  69. 269
    Mary Brown says:

    We are only buying for the gr-kids this year to keep out budget down.

  70. 270
    Jennifer R says:

    We spend cash and buy early before the rush starts.

  71. 271
    anash says:

    I dont celebrate Christmas, so that keeps me in budget as an added benefit! Thanks for this splendid giveaway

  72. 272
    Theresa H says:

    coupons, clearance and shopping through the year. (also entering sweepstakes for stuff I know would make a great present)

  73. 273
    Rosey says:

    I look at various websites to compare prices, and I search for coupon discount codes before making any purchase online, to help our family stay on budget.

  74. 274
    Emma Peel says:

    Dont over buy, budget and keep it to a limit

  75. 275
    Nadine L says:

    I figure out months before how much my budget is going to be, for the whole Xmas season (with Xmas dinner included) and then break it down to how much I have to spend on each person. then I make a list of what to get each person within that budget. I then go online and find the best deal on those items and grab them. I find being organized keeps me in my budget

  76. 276
    Patti Berry says:

    Would love this!

  77. 277
    Sylvie W says:

    I make a list of what I am purchasing and compare prices, use coupons, and watch for sales.

  78. 278
    Terry C says:

    I make a list and try to buy when the things I am looking for are on sale.

  79. 279
    tracey byram says:

    I shop sales, use coupons and rebate forms to stretch my shopping budget.

  80. 280
    Jackee says:

    I start in October and find deals and keep a detailed list of what I have picked up. This helps my budget and I am usually finished shopping by November :)

  81. 281
    Gary Weller says:

    To stay within my budget during the holidays, I start early, I also use coupons discounts on gift ideas.

  82. 282
    laurie r says:

    I buy all year and get better than black friday pricing. I avoid the congestion and tired (rude) holiday shoppers.

  83. 283
    Shannon says:

    Stay accountable to your spouse/partner! It’s the best advice because the consequences aren’t worth it!

  84. 284
    Heidi says:

    I stay within my holiday budget by shopping sales!
    textbookmommy at gmail dot com

  85. 285
    Dorothy Hubbard says:

    I only buy for a few close people, and I stick to a budget. It’s usually one bigger gift and then a few smaller to supplement. I am always on the look out thru the year for bargains, and pick them up as I can and put them away.

  86. 286
    cissy says:

    I start at the right after Christmas. I also look use coupons, look for clearance items, and I make many of the items I am going to give as gifts.

  87. 287
    Laurie P says:

    I have a limit on how much I spend on each person on my list. I have a detailed holiday budget. I absolutely under no circumstances go above that limit. I plan what items I will buy for each person ahead of time. If I find that gift item on sale I will not use the extra money to buy extra gifts but instead donate that extra money to a charity. :)

  88. 288
    JoAnn F. says:

    I have a planned budget & look for special deals

  89. 289
    Angela Winesburg says:

    I shop sales on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday, I research ads and promotions to make sure that I am getting the best deal. I also look for money saving ideas on blogs, thanks for the chance

  90. 290
    kathy pease says:

    i search and search for deals online and use nextag or another similair site to compare prices and find the lowest

  91. 291
    Isra says:

    To stay on budget, I buy items on sale first, then assign to who I’m giving it to later!

  92. 292
    Susan Smith says:

    We only use cash, stay on a budget and buy gifts on sale.

  93. 293
    sarah says:

    I refuse to go into debt for Christmas (or any other time of year for that matter). I buy things my kids will use (I wasted too much money in the past buying the big ticket “I have to have it or I’ll die” gifts), I buy on sale, online, with coupons and spend within my means with CASH ONLY.

  94. 294
    John Billiris says:

    I buy all-year round, starting with clearances after Christmas

  95. 295
    sheila k. says:

    I always go to the clearance racks or shelves first before shopping the rest of the store. Usually I end up finding at least one gift and sometimes more that are marked “clearance,” and I have saved up to 90 percent of the retail price.

  96. 296
    Katharina says:

    There are a number of things I do to stay within the holiday budget. The biggest, I think, is since I do a great percentage of my shopping online, I *never* check out without loading another browser to see if there’s a discount code for the place I’m shopping. I can often get free shipping that way, but many times there’s a 10, 15, or even 20% discount for the merchant. A few days ago I hit an unexpected 25%.

    When it comes to brick and mortar store shopping, I always check the flyers first. Price matching is great and a good thing to remember when a store does that.

    Third… I wait for sales. It cuts down on the impulse buying and saves money at the same time. There are particular times of year that certain items go on sale (i.e. white sales in January) so that helps with early gift buying as well.

    I make sure that what I’m buying is going to actually be used and enjoyed by the recipient.

    Katharina angelsandmusic[at]gmail[dot]com

  97. 297
    jamie says:

    I try to catch as many sales as possible. This year all of the adults in my family are doing gifts draw style….That will help everyones pocket books alot!

  98. 298
    jessica says:

    i shop the sales for sure!

  99. 299
    Paige says:

    I look for great coupons and purchase those items

  100. 300
    Charisse Snead says:

    I always look for discounts or promo codes and do most shopping online. I never pay full price for anything during holiday season. There’s so many choices online that you can find atleast one site with a sale or discounts.

  101. 301
    April Grimm says:

    I will buy only things on sale.

  102. 302
    Roxann says:

    I decide what I want to buy early in the season and then find the items on sale. If I check the internet, I can usually find a good deal on what I want.

  103. 303
    Tiffany Hoyt says:

    I use coupons and look for sales to stick to my holiday budget.

  104. 304
    Jessica says:

    I make a list of the items I plan on purchasing as holiday gifts to avoid any last minute splurges. I then hit the web to find the BEST prices.

  105. 305
    Sky says:

    I make a list of all who I buy for and a then pen in their gift with the price before I go shopping – I also look for coupons or sales too!

  106. 306
    Rebecca says:

    To stay within my budget I cyber compare every thing!

  107. 307
    amy delong says:

    thats a hard one,we buy all year to lessen the blow

  108. 308
    Shannon says:

    I look online for deals and try to stick to what I’m looking for and I don’t spend over a set amount

  109. 309
    Annie says:

    I make a list for each person in the family and I stick to it. I go on a mission and don’t add anything else unless it’s a stocking stuffer and small! :)

  110. 310
    Amy B says:

    I make myself a budget each month starting in September and buy from specials and Sunday flyers. I always spread out my spending starting in September to make sure that I don’t run myself in to debt by Christmas and having the budget helps me to regulate the gifts I get for everyone in our large family!

  111. 311
    Amanda S says:

    I look for all deals possible. I always shop based on what is on sale…not the next big thing. They can wait until birthdays or something else for the big thing at Christmas. If money allows I shop through out the year too.

  112. 312
    Kate Hayes says:

    I labor over precise lists for my kids, based on what I know they will really use and enjoy – not just the cheesy things they say they want because they saw it on a commercial. I research the best deals on those items, and resist the urge to buy other things simply because they’re “on sale.” It doesn’t matter how good the sale is – if it’s something they don’t need, it’s still a waste of money!

  113. 313
    dawn says:

    I watch sales through out the year and I use coupons for all that I can. I really shop around before buying.

  114. 314
    Renee Richardson says:

    I shop throughout the year and hide everything in my downstairs closet. LOL!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  115. 315
    R Hicks says:

    we set a budget up for gifts and stick to it. Also keep a constant eye out for great sales.

    brich22 at earthlink dot net

  116. 316
    carol y l says:

    Husband and I discuss it and set a limit, then look for deals to stay within those boundries.

  117. 317
    Brandy B says:

    I shop the sales weekly like crazy and plan on spending a certain dollar amount per child. It’s only fair that way.

  118. 318
    Cee Love says:

    I use every coupon I can find and i shop at cheaper stores. Money is tight around here so ever little penny is saved as best as possible this time of year.

  119. 319
    ethel says:

    My husband and I have a set limit on how much to spend each of our kids and niece and nephews. As much as possible, I buy when it’s on sale and use coupons!

  120. 320
    Kerry says:

    I don’t go over my limit for each person on my list.

  121. 321
    Pauline M says:

    Everything is budgeted, from gift limits to what is purchased. My kids are also involved with the budgeting so they get a better understanding of why this is necessary!

  122. 322

    I shop all year long and maintain a budget for each person during the year. This way, I never spend too much during the holidays.

  123. 323
    Molly Gold says:

    You won’t be surprised to know that I have a special binder just for Christmas =) There I keep each years holiday information including receipts for gifts, decorating, entertaining, and more. At the end of the current holiday season, we set the budget for the next year. Then we save =) I’m not good at buying things all year long so I work hard to be a savvy shopper in November and the first 2 weeks of December ~ all about enjoying the season =) Thanks for such a generous giveaway at just the right time!

  124. 324
    Carolyn K. says:

    I watch for sales, make some gifts myself, and just in general don’t go overboard. My family knows I love them even if I can’t buy them all their dream gift.

  125. 325
    Ashley M says:

    My family organizes a secret santa every year to save money. After one present I at least have my extended family covered!

  126. 326
    Erica G says:

    This year all the adults in our extended family decided to do a secret santa type gift giving. We each pick a name our of a hat and then only need to buy one gift. For the kids, we have scaled back. We decided to pick an angel off one of the trees and buy gifts for them. Now my kids truly understand how much they have compared to most kids. This year their lists are much shorter now that they see what they really have. To stay in budget we always set one!! I can’t just say I want to spend less this yer. I have to have an amount to stay under. Then I search for sales and deals.

  127. 327
    Kim C says:

    i price compare and use any coupon or code i can find!

  128. 328
    Sara says:

    To stay within budget during the holidays, I make a list and stick with it. I also fill the freezer with meals that can be made quickly after a day of holiday shopping. The unplanned holiday dining out also kills the budget.

  129. 329
    pam morgan says:

    I try to find unique gifts that don’t cost much. Everyone always loves to see what I come up with every year.

  130. 330
    Becky Seelentag says:

    I usually look for deals and gift ideas year-round so that by the time the holidays approach, I’m done!

  131. 331
    Julie says:

    Resale shops!

  132. 332
    latisha depoortere says:

    I try to buy all year long when I see something I want and has a good sale! Sometimes it works this year a little harder to save for shopping other things just keep coming up! Thank you very much for the great giveaway!

  133. 333
    Megan says:

    As a college student, I usually am stuck buying cheap gifts to stay inside any kind of budget I have.

  134. 334
    DanV says:

    I stay within my budget with careful use of coupons and sales

  135. 335
    Selene M. says:

    I follow my list, making sure to write down what I buy. I stick to my budget no matter what. I look for deals and coupons.

  136. 336
    Russell Moore says:

    Long discussion with my wife about what we wanted to get for everyone, and what we can afford. Once we agreed, I sat at the computer, and did it all in about an hour. Done, and within our budget.

  137. 337
    shirley pebbles says:

    I pick up things all year long and I win alot of contests.

  138. 338
    AEKZ2 says:

    I buy toys during Target’s 75% off toy sale.

  139. 339
    Amanda Bargo says:

    If you start buying gifts earlier in the year then it wont be so hard on your wallet come closer to Christmas =)

  140. 340
    Breanne says:

    I shop online deals.

  141. 341
    heather c says:

    We begin with a budget that covers everything from gifts to stockings, then aren’t trying to figure out where it all went wrong at the end of it all!

  142. 342
    julieh says:

    I stay within my holiday budget by setting aside cash to pay for gifts. When it’s gone, it’s gone, no more shopping.

  143. 343
    brian e. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway…we make a detailed shopping list of items for the holiday i.e. gifts, pay for 99% of the cost in cash, and we just stick to the list…no last minute purchases tacked on a credit card, no exceptions. We use moderation in all our holiday spending.

  144. 344
    sheila k. says:

    I stay within my holiday budget by shopping the clearance racks and shelves first. It is surprising how many gifts that I find for family and friends on those shelves. Sometimes I have saved up to 90 percent of the retail price.

  145. 345
    Sarah L says:

    I buy gifts throughout the year.
    Thanks for the contest.

  146. 346
    momznite says:

    I make a list and take advantage of coupons and sales.