The holidays are right around the corner! As such, there’s a good chance you’ve already started to buy gifts, decorations, plane tickets, and more in anticipation of the holiday season. According to CNBC, Americans spend around $1,500 during the holidays. As a result, many people are wondering how to save money during the holidays.
If you’re one of these millions of people searching for money-saving tips, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we look at seven of the best ways to save money during the holidays as well as how to set and stick to a holiday budget. Let’s get started!
Unlock the secrets of smart spending with our new Debt-Free Holidays Guide. Click below to grab your free action plan and master your expenses this holiday season!
Tips to Save Money During the Holidays
The No. 1 key to easing the stress on your bank account this holiday is to plan ahead. More than half of the people who overspend during the holidays don’t intend to do so, which means that with careful planning, they may have been able to stay out of debt.
Here are the keys to planning for your holiday expenses.
- Start Early
It’s not too early to get ahead of the curve and create your holiday shopping plan.
- Set a Budget
Making a budget (and sticking to it) is essential to avoid overspending. Consider the costs of gifts, holiday cards, holiday light decorations, travel expenses, shipping costs, and more.
- Make a Gift List
Once you know who you’re buying gifts for, create a comprehensive shopping list, including how much each gift costs.
- Get a Financial Coach
If you struggle with creating budgets and sticking to them, consider consulting with a financial coach from Credit & Debt. Our financial experts can teach you how to get out of any current debt, avoid future debts, and create a spending plan for the upcoming holidays.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” The same concept applies to holiday shopping. Shopping smarter for holiday gifts means being on the lookout for deals and sales and capitalizing on them. Here are a few pro tips to get you started.
- Watch out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
- Do comparison shopping where you look for the same item at multiple stores.
- Use coupons and promo codes and apply them toward the perfect gift.
- Consider joining cash back or rewards programs to earn points.
- Install plugins to your computer that automatically apply discounts when you shop online.
If you want to maximize your savings and add a new twist to holiday gift-giving, consider doing DIY gifts this year. No, that doesn’t mean you need to make an elaborate rocking chair or piece of furniture. However, you will have to get the creative juices flowing to come up with meaningful and useful gift ideas.
Here are a few ideas to get you on the right track:
- Baked goods and food, such as cookies, brownies, cakes, or bars.
- Woodworking items, such as small crafts and painted ornaments.
- Personalized gifts, such as a family heirloom, collectible, or hand-me-down.
- Unique gifts such as a sourdough starter kit or an old family recipe.
Manage Travel Expenses
In addition to saving money on your gifts this year, you can also save on travel expenses. This is especially true if you are having a holiday destination or have family members who live far away. Here are a few ways to save money on travel expenses:
- Plan ahead by booking flights, car rental accommodations, and hotels in advance.
- Try to plan your travel time during off-peak hours and days.
- Use any travel points and flight miles you have saved up.
- Consider signing up for a travel credit card to store up points and miles for the holidays.
Avoid Impulse Purchases
A great way to keep from overspending during the holidays is to avoid making impulse buys while you’re gift shopping. The best way to do this is by having a comprehensive shopping list and sticking to it. There’s also a chance you’ll be shopping for friends and family and find something you want to buy for yourself.
If this happens, sleep on it for 24 hours and think about whether you actually need the item in question. If you still desperately want it after 24 hours, you can return to the store and purchase it. Just remember that spending extra cash on yourself means there’s less to spend on your loved ones.
Wrap Gifts on a Budget
In addition to buying gifts on a budget, you can also wrap gifts on a budget! The best way to do this is to develop creative DIY gift-wrapping ideas. For instance, you can use old holiday clothes, blankets, or construction paper rather than traditional wrapping paper. Another option is to use reusable gift bags and DIY tags.
Online stores and shopping centers understand that people are desperate to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones leading up to the holidays. As such, they often produce a surplus of items and hike up the prices. Therefore, when the holiday season is over, these same sellers need to get rid of their excess stock, so they reduce the prices and run crazy sales!
If you can convince your family members to exchange gifts after the holidays, post-holiday sales are one of the best ways to save money. Buying gifts after the holidays also allows you to use store credit and gift cards from other holiday parties and exchanges. As you’re doing this, take note of how much you’re spending and set up a dedicated holiday savings account for next year.
Credit & Debt Holiday Budgeting Guide
The Holiday Budgeting Guide from Credit & Debt provides a systematic and hands-on approach to managing your holiday expenses. Our Debt-Free Holidays budgeting guide is completely free to access, serving as your comprehensive tool for a financially stress-free holiday season. Achieve effective budgeting, avoid overspending, prioritize expenses, alleviate financial stress, and embrace financial responsibility with our user-friendly step-by-step guide. Additionally, make use of our customizable budget worksheet, pre-loaded with a variety of holiday budget categories, to simplify the process.
FAQs: Save Money During the Holidays
Why is it important to save money during the holidays?
Saving money during the holidays is essential if you don’t want to overspend and fall into debt. Careful planning and budgeting are vital if you want to save money this year.
How can I create a realistic holiday budget?
When creating a realistic holiday budget, you must consider your income, how many gifts you plan to buy, and other expenses, such as decorations, traveling, and entertainment. Your total expenses should never exceed your total disposable income. Click here to download the budgeting worksheet.
What are some strategies for finding the best deals on gifts?
If you’re serious about cutting back on your holiday spending, it’s essential to look for the best deals on the gifts you’re targeting. To do this, check prices when stores typically run sales, such as on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Additionally, you can set up email alerts on select items to let you know when they have price reductions.
What are some ideas for homemade or DIY gifts?
Here are some excellent homemade and DIY gift ideas:
- Craft items like picture frames, plant stands, furniture, and more.
- Homemade treats, such as baking cookies, candy, and other goods.
- Sentimental hand-me-down gifts, such as jewelry, collectibles, and family heirlooms.
- Creating a photo album for a loved one.
How can I manage gift-giving in a large family without overspending?
Saving money during the holidays is especially tricky in large families. Rather than buying something for every family member, consider one of the following:
- Gift Swapping
- Stocking stuffers
- White elephant gift exchanges
- Teaming up for big-ticket items
What are some alternative celebrations that can save money?
Any way you look at it, traditional holiday shopping is expensive! Therefore, it may be necessary to consider starting a new holiday tradition. Rather than the typical gifts, trips, and splurging, consider hosting a potluck dinner, playing board games, and attending free events this holiday season. As long as you’re doing it with the people you love, it’s sure to be a good time!
How can I reduce travel expenses during the holiday season?
If you must travel for the holidays, there’s no way to do it without spending some money. However, you can save big bucks by booking your flights early, driving your own car rather than renting, and using any available travel points or rewards.
What are some strategies for avoiding impulse purchases?
There are two ways to avoid impulse purchases during the holidays. First, make a comprehensive gift list and stick to it. Next, if you feel tempted to buy something that isn’t on the list, sleep and think about it for 24 hours before purchasing it.
How can I be more eco-friendly with gift wrapping and presentation?
The best way to be more eco-friendly while wrapping gifts this holiday season is to use DIY materials you have around home. This could include old blankets, clothing, and similar items. You can also use reusable gift bags that the recipient can save and use next year.
How can I save money after the holiday season is over?
Taking advantage of post-holiday sales is important if you want to save money once the holiday season ends. You can also use up any gift cards you receive as presents and take advantage of store credits from gift returns. Finally, take some time to set up a dedicated holiday savings account so you can start saving for next year.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are plenty of great ways to save money this holiday season. From setting up a holiday budget and looking for deals to choosing the right credit cards and rethinking your holiday traditions, saving money during the holidays is challenging but feasible.
If you’re serious about saving money this holiday, reach out to a Credit & Debt financial coach for free. Our financial experts can give you advice and guidance about how to achieve your financial goals and maximize your holiday savings. We take a hands-on approach when we teach you the keys to financial freedom.
Credit & Debt does not provide debt relief or loans and is not a lender. A Credit & Debt coach will guide you through a free financial evaluation, help you understand your options and connect you with a qualified partner.