12 Holiday Savings Tips

Woman carrying holiday gifts.

The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us. While this time of the year is magical, the holidays also can bring loads of stress along with them – especially when it comes to money. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), American consumers spend an average of $997.73 each year on Christmas.

Buying gifts, traveling to see family, and hosting holiday parties are not exactly budget friendly. However, a little planning can help you enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year” without breaking the bank. Are you ready for a festive season where you don’t have to cringe when the credit card bill arrives in January ? Read our holiday savings tips to learn how.


Set a budget and stick to it

It’s easy to go overboard with holiday spending – especially on gifts. In fact, roughly 41 percent of U.S. adults who celebrate the holidays said they’d be willing to go into debt, or deeper into debt, for shopping. However, preparation and budgeting can help prevent overspending and post-holiday financial stress. Before you go shopping, sit down and determine how much money you can reasonably afford to spend on the holidays this year.

To make it easy on yourself, set a spending limit for each person on your list. If possible, give yourself a little wiggle room for extra costs such as wrapping paper and shipping.

Make a gift list

After you’ve determined a budget, it’s time to play Santa’s helper. Make a list of everyone you would like to buy a gift for – prioritizing the people closest to you. Write down what you would like to gift each person this year and the cost associated with each present, but be mindful of your budget. By writing down your planned purchases in advance, you won’t be shocked when you get your credit card statement.

Creating a list also helps you to be more intentional with your holiday gift giving. Set aside time to think about what you’re buying before you go into the store. This way, you might be able to get someone one thing they really want or need, as opposed to ten things you’re purchasing just for the sake of giving a lot of gifts. Remember: quality over quantity.

Start shopping early – and take advantage of sales

According to Statista, 60 percent of US consumers start their holiday shopping prior to December. Starting early gives you the opportunity to avoid the hustle and bustle that comes with last-minute shopping, and you can maximize your dollars by taking advantage of sales – especially for the pricier items on your list.

If you’re an avid online shopper, websites like Rakuten allow you to earn cashback on your purchases if you go through them. Combine your Rakuten cashback with your credit card rewards and you might be surprised at the pretty penny you earned – on money you were going to spend anyway.

Always check for online store coupon codes

When it comes to holiday savings, one of the savviest tricks to have up your sleeve is hunting for online store coupon codes. Before you hit “checkout” next time, take a few minutes to scour the web for a coupon code. A few minutes of searching can often yield substantial discounts, free shipping, free gifts, and other enticing deals. Not only will your wallet thank you, but you might just find yourself with some extra holiday cheer in your budget.

Redeem your cash back and rewards points near the holidays

Do you find yourself needing a little help offsetting holiday expenses? You might notice your grocery bills getting more expensive as you’re hosting parties, or maybe you find yourself filling up your gas tank more often as a result of extra trips to the mall. You might not have included these extras in your budget, but your credit card rewards might be able to help offset your extra expenses. If you save your rewards throughout the year, you’ll have a little extra spending freedom when the festive season rolls around.

Use cash envelopes for spending

Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we’re spending when we swipe our credit cards as opposed to physically handing over cash. With the cash envelope budgeting system, you commit to cash-only transactions. You put a set amount of money in different envelopes dedicated to a distinct purpose; for example, you might have an envelope for “holiday gifts,” “travel,” or “decorations.”

When you spend money on these categories, the cash comes out of the associated envelope. When the money is gone, it’s gone. When there’s no more money to spend, you won’t face temptation to continue shopping because you don’t have any more money left.

Send e-cards

Holiday greeting cards can be expensive and time consuming. This year, ditch the snail mail and try sending your loved ones e-cards. You’ll save money and you won’t have to spend a Saturday addressing envelopes.

Cut down on gifts

Cutting down on gifts does not make you a Scrooge. Besides, there are tons of fun ways to lower the amount of gifts you buy while still embracing the holiday spirit. For large family gatherings or parties with friends, consider a white elephant gift exchange or drawing names to play Secret Santa. Both of these options usually come with spending limits and significantly decrease the amount of gifts you need to purchase.

If you’re looking to cut down gifts for your family, consider trying the four gift rule: something they want, something they need, something for them to wear, and something for them to read. This strategy helps simplify shopping for your loved ones and keeps you from overspending or making unnecessary purchases.

Consider thoughtful, homemade gifts

When it comes to heartfelt holiday gestures, few things hold a candle to a homemade gift. Crafting something with your own hands adds a personal touch that you can’t purchase at a store. Whether it’s a jar of homemade preserves, a hand-knitted sweater, or a carefully curated calendar displaying cherished photos from the year, these gifts carry a genuine charm that store-bought items cannot replicate. Homemade gifts show you’ve invested time, effort, and creativity into making your loved ones feel special. Don’t be afraid to consider the magic of DIY this year.

When you’re done, stop shopping

This might seem like a no-brainer, but we’re all a little guilty here. After you’ve bought everything on your list, stop shopping. Avoid looking at sales ads and wandering around retailers when you’re bored. After all, you’ll only end up spending more money. Use this time to enjoy the coziness of the season and spend time with the people you love most.

Stock up on gift wrap and holiday décor after the holidays

After the holidays have passed, you will likely notice significant price drops on décor, gift wrap, and more. With the prices being practically a steal, this is a great time to stock up for next year. By spending less around the holidays, not only are you making smarter financial decisions and saving yourself stress later, but you’re also creating a more intentional season of giving. This year, celebrate the magic of the holiday season without breaking the bank.

About the Author, Cory Alvarez: Cory has worked in the banking industry for 28 years. He currently serves as the Branch Manager at the Lakeland Lake Miriam branch. He is passionate about providing exceptional customer service, fostering a team that focuses on teamwork, and finding lending solutions to help clients
meet their long-term goals.
  1. How Much Do Americans Spend On Christmas? (Latest Data) (explodingtopics.com)
  2. Holiday debt poll: Less spending in 2021 - CreditCards.com
  3. 57 Essential Christmas Shopping Statistics: 2021/2022 Market Share Analysis & Data - Financesonline.com

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