CHICAGO (CBS) — The average American family spends about $700 on holiday gifts each year, and much of that ends up on credit cards.
But believe it or not, one woman was able to buy gifts for her entire family this season without spending a dime.
Staci Gerardi bought more than $800 worth of gifts for her children, parents and relatives — for no money.
WBZ-TV's Diana Perez reports
She didn't win a contest, and it's not charity. Gerardi actually bought all the gifts using "reward points" she racked up by visiting a handful of websites over the last year.
"It's like a jackpot. I don't understand why people don't get this," she says.
Each day, Gerardi browses through "reward sites." When she clicks on an ad or watches a commercial, she earns points or "digital dollars" that she can trade for gift cards for retailers that include Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart and Kmart.
She says she only spends 20 minutes a day collecting points, but it takes a while to get good at it. She's learned how to multi-task, getting work done at the computer while she's also clicking on ads and downloading commercials.
Her favorite sites are Superpoints, RewardPort, Gift Hulk and Swagbucks. All you have to do is sign up and provide some simple information like your name, age and email address. Then, start browsing.
This is the second year Gerardi has been able to buy all of her Christmas presents for nothing. That's not all. Her digital dollars are a big financial help throughout the year.
"It helps with food shopping. It helps with all areas. It helps with the house," she says.
Gerardi has gotten so good at racking up reward points that she's written a "how-to" book about that and living a frugal life.
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