I honestly can’t believe the holiday season is here already. One minute I’m all excited because it’s getting slightly cooler as we enter fall, and the next minute I’m behind on my Christmas shopping and the ground is covered in snow (which I’m still not really ready for.) It’s no secret that the holiday season can be an expensive one, and I’m always on the hunt for ways to make the season a little cheaper. Today I wanted to share with you a few tips to save money on holiday shopping.


How to Save Money on Holiday Shopping





Make a Comprehensive Budget


The first thing I do before I buy a single Christmas gift or piece of decor each year is to sit down and create a comprehensive Christmas budget. I outline each person I have to (or want to) buy for and how much I’ll be able to spend on them.

Do this by working backward. I pick a number of how much we’re willing to spend on gifts TOTAL, and that’s all I  have to work with. I usually end up spending less in the long run because I rarely allow myself to go over budget on a single person, and often end up spending less than I’d allocated.

The important thing to remember about your holiday budget, however, is that it should include a lot more than just gifts because that’s not all you spend money on! A comprehensive holiday budget should also include decor, clothing for any holiday parties, and any food and drink costs associated with hosting or attending a holiday party.


Find Coupons and Sales


I get that when it comes to gift-giving for our friends and family, we want to go above and beyond. We want to get everyone something they’re going to L-O-V-E. And that’s totally fine! But that doesn’t mean those gifts have to be expensive. There are plenty of ways around that.

First of all, look for a way to cut the cost of something. I never buy online without doing two things. First, I use Ebates. I have their Chrome extension so I just click the button when I’m online shopping. Ebates offers cash back on purchased from LOTS of online retailers. The cost to you is the same, and it takes almost no time at all to look up the retailer on the website. But you’d be surprised how much cash back you can get from certain online retailers!

Second, I search online for coupon codes for that specific store or product. Sites like Retail-Me-Not have a pretty comprehensive collection of coupons for different stores, both for online and in-store shopping.


Shop Early


I have definitely been a last-minute gift buyer in the past, so I know better than anyone that there’s an extra price to be paid for waiting too long.

First of all, there are extra shipping costs. If you make your purchase too close to Christmas, you’re going to be paying a LOT in extra shipping to make sure it gets there in time.

When you plan ahead and shop early, you can take advantage of sales ALL year round. I know all year that I’m going to be buying my mom a Christmas gift. So if I’m out shopping in June and see something she would LOVE and it’s on sale, I can buy it then. If you wait until the last minute, your options are far more limited and you lose much of the ability to shop around and wait for sales.


Skip the Gifts


This is always a painful one for some people to think about, it can seriously save you some money long-term. There’s no reason you HAVE to exchange gifts with everyone!

For example, I approached my brother this year and suggested we not exchange gifts this year. I knew he wouldn’t be offended by the suggestion, and was quick to jump on it. Additionally, my boyfriend and I made the decision together not to exchange Christmas gifts. We aren’t going to ignore the holiday, but we have a lot of traveling we want to do together and would prefer to put the money toward that instead.

I will say, I’ve approached other people with the same suggestion and not everyone has been receptive. Some people might even be offended at the suggestion (although none of my loved ones have been – they have just said they don’t want to skip gifts).


Know When to Say No


When it comes to the holidays, there’s always going to be another party to attend, another Secret Santa to enter, another person to send a Christmas card to, etc. Christmas can be as cheap or as expensive as you choose to make it, and adding on extras on top of extras is choosing to make it more expensive.

At some point, you have to know your mental and financial limits and know when it’s time to say no. You don’t have to attend every party. You don’t have to sign up for the Secret Santa at work if you aren’t friends with your coworkers. And you don’t have to send a Christmas card to everyone you’ve ever been friends with.

I think the real challenge of Christmas is making it about your nearest and dearest, but it becomes infinitely better when we learn to do that.




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