According to Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages, there are five basic ways that humans demonstrate love towards someone else and recognize love from another. These five "love languages" are quality time, words of affirmation, touch, gift giving, and acts of service.
My whole life I have been a "quality time" type girl. If you want to show me that you love me, you will make a concerted effort to spend focused time with me. Similarly, the best way that I know how to demonstrate that I love you is to make time in my life for you. (Note: This does not translate to time on the phone or via email. I am terrible at both of those things. However, I am almost always willing to make a road trip to see you if you are near.)
Interestingly, since becoming a mother, I have found myself more and more drawn to demonstrating love through gift giving. It sort of happened naturally. Since moving to the country, I do a lot more online shopping (in an attempt to save gas money), and I realized that I would often be looking around for other people. Baby gifts for my billion pregnant friends, gifts for my nieces and new nephew in Connecticut, Christmas gifts in August!
As a mom of two, living far away from a lot of people, as a student and married to a student, I suddenly realized that I didn't have as much quality time with no distractions to give to people.
Thus, my love language had become gift giving! In some strange way, I have this hope that people will receive gifts from me and realize that even if I am not as available as I used to be, I am still thinking and praying for them.
Whew, that was a long introduction.
Here's the problem with being a gift-giver while in graduate school ... financial resources are limited! Thus, this Christmas I have gotten creative with my sources of income for gift giving and I just thought I would briefly share them with you.
Swagbucks! I joined swagbucks in July maybe? Since then, through only using the swagbucks search bar and participating in the Daily Poll, I have earned $65 worth of Amazon gift cards.
I don't want to ruin surprises, but if you are important in my life, it is very likely that your Christmas gift came from Amazon.
Hudson, who is unable to use the internet and thus ruin his surprise, will get this boat tomorrow morning, compliments of swagbucks. Cost to me. FREE.
I also benefited from zulily. Zulily is a website that will send you emails with discounted baby, children, and household items. Zulily allows you to invite new members. Whenever a new member who you invited makes their first purchase, you receive $20 to your account. So far, I have had two new members join through me, which means I have made $40 off zulily.
Julia will receive this, ordered through zulily. Cost to me: FREE.
October. As I didn't want anything else from WM at the time, I used the money and bought Julia and Mark their ornaments. I think yearly ornaments are a fun tradition, but it is kind of stupid how expensive they can be sometimes.
Not this year though. This year, Mark and Julia's ornaments: FREE.
The only store credit card I have is a Banana Republic card, which works at Banana, Gap, and Old Navy. Between these three stores, I purchase almost all of our family's clothes, because their sales are ridiculous. The card is actually a VISA. My dentist didn't accept our usual credit card, and so, I received $20 free cash to use in any of the Gap family stores because of my teeth fiasco.
I like to replenish Mark's underwear supply every Christmas. This years stocking stuffer underwear: FREE. (Well ... haha, kind of. I did have to spend some to earn this).
Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I sell small unwanted home items and clothing on a local online swapping community. Since becoming active in October, I have made about $200. Had I sold the same items at a yard sale, the profit would have been significantly lower. Thus, with this cash on hand, I was able to purchase items that were not sold at stores where I have rewards.
The fun part about this for me was that I was able to pay for Mark's Christmas presents by myself. Since getting married, all of our income has been combined; however, Mark really is the predominant breadwinner. This means that whenever I "buy" him presents, really he's buying himself presents. I am just the one to pick them out. This is perfectly fine, and I'm sure is the case in many marriages. However, every once in a while, it is fun to be able to give up money that I have earned to buy something for the man I love!
There you have it! This is how we have made store rewards work for us this year. Truthfully, it's a bit of a game trying to figure out how to get nice gifts for loved ones without spending tons of money. In the end, it really is the best to be able to express love through my new love language, but to do so with some wisdom.
Lesson Learned: Merry Christmas friends, from our family to yours!