It’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it’s also the most expensive. Keep reading for amazing money-saving Christmas tips that will help you save big this holiday season.
The average American is expected to spend a total of $998 on holiday-related items such as gifts, food, and decorations in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation.
That’s a lot of money being spent on one holiday.
However, there are ways to you save money and still have a wonderful Christmas.
Keep reading to learn how to spend less during the holiday season with these amazing money-saving Christmas tips.
Money-saving Christmas Tips
Set a budget
Before you start thinking about shopping for Christmas, you need to set a budget. Make a list of all your holiday expenses including cards, gifts, wrapping paper, travel expenses, gift exchanges, and charitable donations. Think about how much you want to spend on each category and try your best not to go over the budget.
Track your spending
Track your expenses as you go, not after the holidays. This way you won’t end up overspending and ruining your budget.
Cut back spending elsewhere
Move money around in your budget and cut back spending on other categories. For example, spend less at the grocery store by shopping store ads, using coupons and cash-back apps, and don’t impulse buy. Think about other things you can cut back on, too.
Stay away from the mall
How many times have you accidentally made eye contact with a pushy kiosk salesperson in the middle of the mall? It’s happened to me! I ended up buying a tiny remote control airplane for $20 that stopped working soon after I got home.
Stay out of the mall and you don’t have to worry about those people. Nor will you be tempted by beautiful retail window displays or smell those delicious foods being baked. And you can avoid the stress of crowds and full parking lots. Win-win!
Shop sales and start early
There are many benefits to shopping online, such as avoiding crowds and being able to shop whenever you want in your PJs. A major benefit to shopping online is being able to compare prices.
Saving on Gifts
Decide on your spending limit
Don’t put gifts on credit cards and plan to pay it off later. This is never a good idea because card interest can really eat into your budget.
Create a shopping list with a price range for each person. Make columns for each category:
- gift idea
- the actual amount spent.
Make your own gifts
Handmade gifts are much more personal than store-bought. You put a lot of time, effort, and love into making something by hand for someone else.
Some ideas for handmade gifts include:
- Crochet or knit items such as mittens, hats, and scarves.
- Edible gifts such as cookies, chocolates, fudge, and peppermint bark.
- Scented gifts to make their homes smell good such as room spray, gel air fresheners, and sachets.
Were you given gifts over the years that you have never used? Consider regifting them. It’s perfectly okay to do this, just make sure you don’t regift to the person who gave it to you. Oops.
Use up old gift cards
If you have gift cards lying around from years past that still have money on them, use them to buy gifts!
Use discounted gift cards
Check sites such as Raise for discounted gift cards then use them to buy gifts. Or give the cards a gift!
Stick to the list
Make a list of gifts you plan to get and stick to it. Going off the list means overspending!
Save on stocking stuffers
When it comes to filling those stockings, don’t overdo it with expensive candy and gifts. Buy candy on sale and put a few pieces in cute treat bags. Buy small coloring books, gel pens, small toys, etc. from dollar stores. Also, check Target’s dollar bin. Check to see if your Walmart has stocking stuffer boxes for items less than $1.
Send cards instead
If you have a lot of people to buy presents for, that can really add up. A great money-saving Christmas tip is to send cards instead. You can add a personalized note and maybe a family photo.
Save on gift wrapping
Reuse wrapping paper that’s in perfectly good condition. You can also reuse newspaper, butcher paper, or brown kraft paper.
Fabric lasts for years and can be reused over and over. Plus, fabric works better at covering oddly shaped presents than paper. If you have sewing skills, make reusable cloth gift bags. Or, wrap gifts in scarves so the receiver will have 2 gifts in one!
Save on decorations
Make your own
One of the best ways to save money on decorations is to make your own. You can string popcorn to make a garland for your tree, dry oranges to make beautiful wreaths, and even make your own ornaments. There are plenty of homemade decorations you can make from household items.
Need some inspiration? Here are some Christmas ornaments I’ve made this year:
Shop at the dollar store
You guys know how much I love Dollar Tree and they have some really pretty ornaments and Christmas decorations this year. You can also find candles, glass vases, and other home décor items for only $1!
Hit up thrift stores and secondhand stores for Christmas decorations. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people get rid of! These stores are also great for finding vintage decorations.
Save on entertaining
If you are planning on having get-togethers this year, consider these money-saving Christmas tips on entertaining:
Share the cost of the meal
Don’t be shy about asking people to bring a dish or two. At our Christmas dinners, we all prepare a dish and a dessert to help out.
Don’t go overboard
Make sure you plan accordingly and know how many people will be at your Christmas dinner. Cooking too much food will not only waste your time, but it will also waste your money on leftovers that get tossed.
Cook from scratch
Sure, convenience foods are nice to have, but they’re also very expensive. Cooking from scratch saves money and it’s healthier, too.
Shop at the right time
Start planning your Christmas dinner around Thanksgiving. Then, as sales come up throughout December, you can buy the items you need on sale. This also reduces your stress level because you’re able to buy a little over time instead of having to remember it all at once.
Shop your pantry
Before you start making a grocery list, check your pantry and freezer for items you already have. You may already have most of the ingredients you need!
Use up leftovers
If you do have a lot of leftovers, use them up in lunches and dinners in the upcoming days. Use up leftover ham and potatoes to make potato soup and ham and cheese crescents rolls.
Having a plan in place before you start shopping will help you save a lot of money. Remember to start with a budget and stick to it. Stick to your shopping list and avoid impulse buys. Following the above money-saving Christmas tips will guarantee you will spend less on Christmas this year.
The most important thing about Christmas is spending it with the ones you love. The food, gifts, and decorations really don’t matter in the grand scheme of it all.
What are some of your best money-saving Christmas tips? I’d love to hear them!