If you’re particularly strapped this holiday season, have no fear! We have a few shopping ideas to help you get that special something for someone you never thought you’d be able to afford. Yes, you can scour the deals on Black Friday and hit the Outlet Stores. But here are few holiday shopping ideas you might not of thought of before. These ideas not only help your wallet but some of them help the planet, too!

Holiday shopping on a shoestring

Refurbished Small Appliances:

I discovered the world of refurbished appliances by accident. Several yeas ago I was chatting with tech support of a popular small appliance brand. I had no hope of fixing my hand mixer, but instead of steering me to buy a new one, the tech support person suggested I buy a refurbished one. Who knew they even sold those? So, for a fraction of the full-price cost, I got a like-new hand mixer.

Kitchen-Aid’s Certified Refurbished Program is the leader in this space now. Each appliance is thoroughly inspected to ensure they work and are in good condition. So, if you don’t mind minor minor scratches, this is a great chance to get quality appliances for huge discounts. They’re currently stand mixers, food processors, food choppers and electric kettles for sale. As of writing this, you can save $200 on a Refurbished Professional 600™ Series 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. Be aware that you’ll pay more for in-vogue colors.

This deal won’t last: Save $200 on a professional Kitchen Aid mixer.

Refurbished products, you can explore Walmart’s vast collection. Just to go Walmart.com and type in refurbished and you can explore thousands of refurbished electronics and small appliances–everything from iPhones to dehumidifiers and curling irons. Amazon has thousands of pages of refurbished electronics and tools, as well.


Home goods

Sites like Tuesday Mornings or Home Goods really do have a great selection of bargain home goods. It’s hit or miss, but if you’re looking for deals on everything from candles, cookwear to bedding and artwork, Home Goods has a great selection that will save you oodles off the full retail prices in other stores. Browsing in any of these places in person is a great place to start but check out the Clearance section of HomeGoods for a quick arm chair browsing. Check out this soft and pretty Rachael Ray Roy blanket for $22–perfect for a gift exchange.

Thrift Fashion

Buffalo Exchange is an upscale thrift chain with locations around the United States. It allows costumers to sell, trade or buy clothes seven days a week. All you need to trade in clothes is a valid ID. The store offers  25 percent of its selling price in cash to a customer to items it accepts or 50 percent in store credit for anything it’s able to buy. It’s a great way to clean out your closet and buy some trendy clothes. It’s a fashion trend you can feel good about! There are tons of thrift stores around the country to take advantage of.

Mismatched Legos are sold by the pound on eBay.

Used Toys

Need toys for the kiddos and you’re broke? Look no further than eBay. The search term “used toys” pulls up 1.8 million listings. You got that right, million! A pound of Legos retails for $12.99.   Granted the Legos are completely mismatched but any parent will tell you that even the most perfectionist of individuals eventually gives up on keeping their kids’ Legos organized. Eventually the Star Wars Darth Vader Lego character will have a Harry Potter head and vice versa. So, you might save yourself the stress by just buying a mess of mismatched Legos and let the kids’ imaginations take over. All can be disinfected in the dishwasher, too! eBay also sells “lots” on baby items and toys and a million other things. Check buyer ratings before you press buy.

Buy milkweed plants and other perennials now (on sale) and have them shipped to you in the spring!


The best time to save money on plants is of course, when planting is the furthest thing from you mind! But I suggest you add plants to your holiday shopping list. By buying 2022 seeds on clearance now or ordering perennials to be shipped next spring, you’ll save money. There are still plant shortages, so investing now will not only save you money but also ensure you have plants you want when you want them. For instance, High Country Gardens has a sale with 20 percent off perennial plants and grasses. A 5-inch pot of milkweed is on sale for $10.39. Milkweed is the host plant for Monarch caterpillars and ships in the spring. Just make sure that it’s the kind that will thrive in your region of the country. Other deals include $11.19 for a 5-inch pot of English lavender. 

If you’re still looking for gift ideas, go with the local retailers this year! Last year’s 7 local holiday gift ideas has lot of great ideas. Enjoy your shopping experience and the extra money you just saved in the process!

–Patty Yeager

Patty Yeager is the managing editor of Smart Lifebites. Her stories include Sorting Family Keepsakes: It’s OK to part with the porcelain/

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