CBS 2 Met One Woman With The Ultimate Blueprint For SuccessBy Cindy Hsu

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The average American family spends about $800 on holiday gifts each year — and a lot of that just ends up on your credit cards.

But believe it or not, one woman was able to buy gifts for her entire family this season without spending a dime.

CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reports on just how easily she was able to do it, using holiday rewards.

Not only is Staci Gerardi finished with her Christmas shopping, she doesn’t owe one cent on the hundreds of dollars worth of loot she bought.

“This whole box is filled, which I can’t show you because people are watching and I’m not giving away all of the gifts I got for everyone,” Gerardi told Hsu.

She didn’t pay cash for her stash. She didn’t get it on layaway either. She actually bought all of the gifts with “reward points.” The total amount she shelled — zero!

“It’s fun, really. It’s like a game,” Gerardi said.

Here’s how Gerardi did it: every day — for the past year — she spent about 10 minutes browsing through a couple of websites that rewarded her with digital dollars or reward points every time she read special offers, referred a friend, or watched an add — no purchase necessary. After a year of accruing nearly 50,000 digital dollars or points, Gerardi said the sites allowed her to redeem them for real dollars — hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards for major retailers.

“The light went off in my head and I’m we could have a real holiday this year for everyone,” Gerardi said.

Consumer expert Kelli Grant said it’s a quick and easy way to basically get something for nothing.

“There are all these different sites to help you get cash back, rebates, points or miles and you can earn it from the programs you’re most loyal to,” Grant said.

All you have to do is sign up by providing some simple information, like your name, age and email address. Some of the sites like and have become so popular some consumers have taken to the web themselves to sing their praises.

“I wouldn’t be able to really holiday shop without it,” Gerardi said.

Gerardi said these sites not only helped to relieve holiday stress this season, they helped to save her family’s Christmas.

“I get our kids, I get my three nephews, my niece … I get my parents, I get my nanna and a family friend, 10 people,” Gerardi said.

Gerardi accumulates about 4 to 20 points daily. The more she browses, the more she gets. Approximately 100 points equals one real dollar.

Gerardi said she has about 4,000 points left after her holiday shopping, which she’s carrying over into 2011.

For more information on holiday rewards, please click here.

Cindy Hsu

Comments (4)
  1. Nichole Jones says:

    Online shopping provides a lot of opportunities for saving money while shopping. Several cash back sites, coupon sites, rewards programs are available on the net that help shoppers saving online. Such facilities are not available in the brick and mortar stores. Moreover, online retailers provide special offers to the online buyers. Being a frugal online buyer, I always use cash back websites like ShopAtHome, AAfter Search and Ebates, and MrRebates.

  2. patty kavanagh says:

    thry are just jealous because you are a smart girl!! and a savvy one too! love you! cant wait to get out blog going> we will be on next year bragging about how much cash we made!!!lol

  3. Carmen A says:

    Sounds like a great deal getting ‘something for nothing’, except your time. You may actually find a new product or offer in doing so. I was very interested in finding out more, so I studied the facts. She claims to have earned 50,000 digital dollars in the last year, worth about $500.00 in real dollars, but the math doesn’t check out. She says she spends about 10 minutes a day & earns between 4 – 20 points each day. Lets assume she gets 20 points every day for a year, here’s what you get: 20 points x 365 days = 7300 digital dollars, worth about $73.00. That breaks down further like this: 10 minutes a day x 365 days = 3650 minutes, or almost 61 hours. So $73.00 divided by 61 hours gives you almost $1.20 per hour, or 20 cents for every 10 minutes. Not even close the $500 figure she states, which would earn you almost $8.00 an hour, or $1.30 for 10 minutes!!! Maybe the news needs to better check their figures before airing.

    1. Staci says:

      Actually the news didn’t report it correctly. I make more than that in points per day. And it takes me 15 minutes per day to make that many points. The four points I get every day takes me less than 2 minutes to get, as they are simple and easy.
      The rest come from doing searches through swagbucks each day, which earn me different amounts, watching videos (which I do while I’m doing other things on the computer), watching ads and signing up for some of the offers under special offers.
      I also never had this reporter in my home, so I never spoke to her.
      But the fact is, I did all of my holiday shopping for 10 people with swagbucks that I earned throughout the year. And it’s done while on the computer doing other things.

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