Light up the month with an energy-efficient light bulb. See how your frugal month results stack up against those of our reporter.
Kitchen, Bed, and Bath
Whether you shop at Walmart or Amazon, you'll find a large selection of cheap holiday gifts for the kitchen, bedroom, and bath. Walmart prices are consistently lower, although the items available at the two venues are not identical.
Home Decor.Home decor is a category filled with cheap gift possibilities for the boss or co-workers. Here we looked at candles and artwork and found prices to be very similar and the selection quite comparable. We did have a hard time finding traditional burning candles at Amazon, however. Our search turned up mostly flameless candles, while Walmart stocks shelf after shelf of candles in various colors, sizes, and scents. On the other hand, Amazon scores in the artwork department. The day we shopped at Walmart, there were only three abstract prints that came in one of two sizes (approximately 11.5x11.5 inches and 14x26 inches), whereas Amazon sells a wide assortment of decorative art, including framed photos, abstract prints, and metal wall hangings at a wide range of prices.
Home decor at Walmart.
Exercise and Athletic Equipment.Some exercise and athletic equipment easily qualifies as a good cheap gift for an active loved one on your list. Our search of the exercise and athletic equipment aisles found cheaper prices at Amazon for similar, but not identical, items. For example, the same 12-pack of Wilson golf balls cost $9.86 at Amazon and $12.86 at Walmart. At Amazon, the cheapest yoga mat sells for $11.83, but Walmart doesn't seem to carry a simple yoga mat; the only comparable item we found was an eight-piece yoga fitness kit for $17. The cheapest treadmill at Amazon, the Merit Fitness 715T Plus, sells for $349.99 (with 250-pound capacity, 18x46-inch workout area, manual incline adjustment to 5%) compared with $587 at Walmart for the Gold's Gym Cross Walk 570 (with 300-pound capacity, 20x55-inch workout area, electronic incline adjustment to 10%, built-in fan, and MP3 port).
Travel Items.If you're on the prowl for a cheap gift of suitcases and overnight bags, Walmart is the price leader in this category: $84 for two uprights and one cargo bag with telescoping handles and inline skate wheels, a carry-on, and a small personal bag. The same five-piece Jeep luggage set is available through Amazon Marketplace for $119.99.
Shipping fees for online orders are high but free shipping usually is offered for certain order sizes and through membership programs.
Our reporter took the frugal month challenge and saved $328 during February by forgoing haircuts and new clothes and finding free entertainment.