The holidays are nearly upon us. At my house, the kids are already filling up their Christmas wish lists and my wife has been hinting at some great holiday gift ideas for her! We work really hard in our household to be frugal, yet thoughtful, with our gift giving. We stick to a budget, which means having to shop a little harder to find good gifts at good prices.

Right now, our station is giving away a $500 Visa gift card as one of our contests. That got me wondering, what kind of gifts could would an extra $500 get folks in Rochester? Here are some ideas...

If shopping online through discount retail stores is your thing, there are a lot of items you could buy for $500. At Walmart, for instance, you could get a crazy deal on a 50" LED Smart TV! Or a high-end refurbished computer.

If deals on used items is more your style, the Rochester, Minnesota Craigslist page has a wide range of things you can purchase for $500. Right now, there's a Raymond Weil men's watch for sale, for that special guy in our life. Or if you've got a college kid in need of transportation, you could even buy them an old Toyota Camry!

Maybe traveling is more your style. For $500, you could get a nice weekend getaway from Rochester to the Twin Cities or even Duluth. Not quite warm weather destinations after the holidays, but definitely places to escape and relax... Or sneak away down the block and use that $500 for a stay-cation right here in the Med City. Think of all the ways you could pamper yourself here with $500, without ever leaving town!

Another way to stretch that $500 even further would be to check out the online deals at our upcoming 'Seize the Deal' auction. Shop from November 14-18, 2016 and you could get up to 60% off home improvement, auto care, jewelry, furniture and more!

Perhaps, instead of spending the money on yourself or someone you know, you'd choose to spend it to help others who are less fortunate. Your $500 donation to Channel One Regional Food Bank would provide at least 2,000 meals for those in need!

Anyway, my time to daydream is up. But, for you, there's a chance to make an extra $500 a reality. Here's how: