NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Americans spend about $700 on holiday gifts each year. But believe it or not, one woman was able to buy gifts for her entire family without spending a dime.
Staci Gerardi bought all of her gifts, worth more than $800, for nothing.
“I got for both of our children, I got for my parents, I got for my nana, our nieces, nephews, a family friend,” said Gerardi.
She didn’t win a contest and it’s not charity. Gerardi actually bought all of those gifts using reward points she racked up by visiting a handful of websites over the last year.
“It’s like a jackpot,” she said. “I don’t understand why people don’t get this.”
Here’s how she does it: Every day, Gerardi says she spends about 20 minutes browsing through reward sites. Every time she completes an activity like clicking on an ad, watching a commercial or downloading an application, she earns points or “digital dollars.” These points can then be redeemed for real dollars in gift cards.
“They’re gift cards to Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, K-Mart,” she said.
“I’ve talked to a number of people who have been able to get at least part of their holiday shopping done using just the rewards they’ve earned throughout the year,” said consumer expert Kelli Grant with Smart Money Magazine.
Grant says it’s an easy way to get something for nothing, but it does take time and effort. For every task you complete, you only receive one or two points.
“There are all these different sites to help you,” said Grant.
The most popular of these sites are Swagbucks.com, RewardPort.com and MyPoints.com. All you have to do is sign up and provide some simple information like your name, age and email address and start browsing.
This is the second year Gerardi has been able to buy all of her Christmas presents for nothing, but that’s not all. Her digital dollars are a big financial help throughout the year.
“It helps with food shopping, it helps with the house,” she said.
Gerardi has gotten so good at racking up reward points, she even wrote a book about it.
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