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Six Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season

Written by Nickel - 11 Comments

As we head into the final shopping weekend before Christmas, I just wanted to share a few tips for enjoying your holiday season without breaking the bank. If you’ve already broken the bank, no worries… You can always file this away for next year. :)

  1. Consider cutting back. Instead of exchanging gifts with anyone an everyone, why not establish some gift-giving limits? Draw names, keep it in the family, limit it to just the kids, etc.
  2. Make a budget (and stick to it). Every year just when I think I’m done shopping, a great gift idea pops into my head. And when that happens, guess what? I go back out and shop just a little bit more. While we haven’t really formulated a detailed budget this year, I’m still going to make a conscious effort to actually stop when I’m done.
  3. Consider re-gifting. You have to be careful here. While re-gifting can be a good option, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, only do it if you think the recipient will genuinely appreciate the gift. Second, keep it out of the same social circle, and don’t do it with one-of-a-kind items.
  4. Give homemade gifts. I recently put together a list of ideas for homemade christmas gifts. If done right, this can be a great way of creating very meaningful gifts while saving money at the same time.
  5. Consider charitable giving. If really want to get that holiday spirit, consider helping out your charity. I’ve previously listed some ideas for charitable giving that don’t require any money.
  6. Spend time with your family. More than anything, what you and your loved ones will really remember from this (and every) holiday season is that time that you spent together and the things that you did. So… Make a point of spending quality time with your family and friends.

And with that… Have a great weekend!

Published on December 19th, 2008 - 11 Comments
Filed under: Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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11 Responses to “Six Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season”

  1. 1
    Eric J. Nisall Says:

    Great tips. I wrote a similar post a couple of weeks ago. I specifically talked about the points you made in #1-3. I certainly do not think there is anything wrong with taking people off of the list, specifically the people who are never appreciative or whom the giver does not have a strong relationship with. Making a budget and sticking to it is always a good thing to do no matter what the reason. As far as re-gifting, why not? If I receive a gift card for a store that I don’t shop at or can’t find anything to use it on, there’s no reason not to give it to someone who can benefit from it, or just use the card to buy a gift for another.

  2. 2
    Mark Says:

    I like the tips. Charitable giving is especially needed this holiday season as I would expect that donations are down. Donating goods or volunteering services would surely be appreciated at any charitable organization.

  3. 3
    Craig Says:

    It’s difficult to cut back when so many things are going on, holidays, new years. Making a budget is key. I actually try to overestimate that way if I do go over what I planned, I’m still safe.

  4. 4
    Bill M Says:

    One of the things I do to save money is I set aside $100 every month and then when its holiday season I’ll have a little bit of change that I can go out and purchase stuff instead of putting it in a credit card and paying on the summer. The thing here is Proactive.

  5. 5
    Funny about Money Says:

    Setting aside money all year is a good strategy. Along those lines: I buy Christmas gifts in July. Or at any time of year when I can find something I think the person would like on sale.

    This forces you to think creatively, because you need to avoid buying something the person is likely to get for him- or herself between July and December. But so far, so good: it’s always worked. Two advantages: it keeps you out of the stores during the Christmas craziness, and helps to save money on gift purchases.

  6. 6
    rogers Says:

    …nothing against charity — but how does charitable-giving “save” you money ??

  7. 7
    nickel Says:

    rogers: Read all of point #5…

    “I’ve previously listed some ideas for charitable giving that don’t require any money.”

    That link leads to a variety of ways to support your charity (and grab a bit of that old holiday spirit) without spending a dime.

  8. 8
    markimill Says:

    …charities to donate a vehical, Habitate for humanity’s Restore. They pick it up anywhere and they value it at Kelly blue book, the highest of all. Other charities auction it to the highest bidder, which may not be half of its value ,in a down “cash only” market. The donation is dated for the day you give them the call to take possesion, not when it’s sold, as some others do it. It’s a done deal ,no follow up, no headaches, a GREAT organization and a good deal for the doner.

  9. 9
    Vik Dulat Says:

    I think # 6 is very important and whethet it is to save money or not, you should always spend time with your family.

  10. 10
    Emily Says:

    I think cutting back is easier than a lot of people think. American consumerism is so rampant, we all feel like we need to give our family members something huge like an iPhone for every occasion. My boyfriend and I usually go all out, but this year we decided to be very modest — we only spent about $40 or so on each other for Christmas but got each other very meaningful things (we had to exchange gifts early). Plus, that leaves us some wiggle room for birthday presents, as we both have birthdays soon after the holidays, and Valentine’s Day. I hate that there’s so much pressure to do everything bigger and better every year. Like you said, family is what’s most important — not all this stuff we may not even use!

  11. 11
    Roger Metz Says:

    Another variation of gifting is going back to simpler times and resisting the avalanche of electronic stuff for children. A recent column in the Baltimore Examiner-Opinions, makes the point in some detail.

    This Christmas: Bucking the Trend
    by Jennifer Maxwell, Guest Columnist
    December 23, 2008

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