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How to save money during the holidays

The holiday season is full of 3 things: Christmas joy, Christmas music, and Christmas spending. Between gifts, decorations, and events it’s easy to spend tons of money during the holiday season! I’ve been trying to be more mindful about my spending this season. I’ve come up with some small and big ways to spend less and save money during the holidays.

Here are some ideas of how to save money during the holidays:

  • Institute a Secret Santa gift exchange: My family used to follow the standard “get a gift for everyone in the family” rule. Once I family grew through marriage, the holidays got too expensive. Last year we started a Secret Santa gift exchange which has significantly decreased expenses and stress, without decreasing fun. Secret Santa exchanges are a great way to cut costs within a family or group of friends, while still allowing everyone to receive holiday cheer.
  • Don’t give cards with your gifts: If you are giving a gift, you don’t need to also give a card! It’s one thing to send out Christmas cards (I’m a big fan, but no need to do double duty on gifts and cards).
  • DIY your gift-tags: Every gift tag is immediately thrown out. Use the back of a cut out square of wrapping paper instead of purchasing gift tags! This will save you money, but still look cute under the Christmas tree.
  • Reuse boxes/bags: Save the Christmas boxes or gift bags you receive each year. Re-using them is a great way to save money.
  • Choose wrapping paper over gift bags: Outside of re-using bags, purchase wrapping paper instead of bags. Wrapping paper is much more cost effective than bags are! With $1 roll of wrapping paper, you can wrap several gifts. A bag generally only fits one larger gift. Another pro tip is to buy cheap wrapping paper. There’s no reason to spend $5 on paper that will just be ripped off of a gift and thrown out!
  • Be selective: Don’t opt into more than you can handle financially. Don’t join extra gift exchanges or attend costly holiday events that aren’t important to you. If you’re donating during this season, pick a cause and stick to it. Being selective will increase your savings and your holiday joy!
  • Re-wear outfits: Every year my family goes to a fancy Christmas dinner at our golf club. And every year I am tempted to buy a new dress for the dinner. I have to remind myself that no one except me will know if I’m wearing something new. If you’re attending a few events with different attendees (for example, a work party and then a party with friends), you can easily outfit repeat.
  • Resist the Christmas sweater urge: In additional to outfit repeating your Christmas outfits, try to resist the urge to purchase a new Christmas sweater each year. (I really struggle with this. Christmas sweaters are so darn fun). If you wore a specific sweater to a work party last year, wear it to your friend’s ugly Christmas sweater party this year, where the guests haven’t seen it before!
  • Carry Tupperware: Most party leftovers end up being thrown out. Take advantage of this and come prepared (and prevent waste). Whether you’re going to a work party or a Friendsgiving, bring Tupperware so you can get a free take-home meal out of your holiday events!
  • Set a budget – Most importantly this holiday season, set a budget and stick to it! I find it’s easier to stick to a budget if I set my budget per person I’m gifting to, rather than by my overall gifting. If you have a budget in mind you’re more likely to be mindful when you’re shopping and make quality choices over quantity choices.

I hope this list helps you to save money during the holidays! Do you have any other tips for saving during this holiday season?

xo, Liz

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