November 17, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Realistic Ways to Save Money During the Holidays


10 Realistic Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

Cash and christmas treeFornStudio, Adobe Stock

The Christmas season, while filled with joy and celebration, can often lead to financial strain. With gifts, decorations, meals, and travel, expenses quickly add up.

However, with some planning and smart strategies, it’s possible to enjoy the festive season without breaking the bank.

Here are realistic ways for the average person to save money during the holidays.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

A woman budgeting with cash and receiptsKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

Creating a budget is the first step in controlling holiday spending.

Allocate specific amounts for gifts, food, and other expenses.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, consumers planned to spend an average of $998 on holiday-related items in 2020.

By setting a budget lower than average, you can make significant savings.

Homemade Gifts

Gift BasketAdobe

Handmade gifts are not only more personal but also more cost-effective.

A study showed that DIY gifts could save shoppers up to 50% compared to store-bought items. Consider baking, crafting, or creating personalized artwork.

Use Reward Points and Cashback Offers

Beautiful Acts Of KindnessShutterstock

Take advantage of reward points and cashback offers from credit cards or store loyalty programs.

Reports indicate that households with credit card rewards earn an average of $300 annually. Using these rewards for Christmas purchases can help cut costs.

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Shop Early and Compare Prices

The Moment I Lost All RespectShutterstock

Avoid the last-minute rush by shopping early.

This gives you time to compare prices and take advantage of sales. Statistics show that prices can rise by up to 15% in the last weeks leading up to Christmas.

Limit Gift Exchanges

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

Instead of buying gifts for everyone, propose a Secret Santa or gift exchange with a cap on spending. This way, everyone receives a gift, and expenses are minimized.

Surveys show that over 70% of participants in gift exchanges report significant savings.

Cut Back on Decorations

ThanksgivingShutterstock

Reuse decorations from previous years and resist the urge to buy new ones.

On average, Americans spend about $61 on Christmas decorations—though some may spend a lot more. By reusing decorations, this cost can be brought down to zero.

Plan Meals and Avoid Waste

Lucas Hedges factsPixabay

Plan holiday meals carefully to avoid overbuying and wasting food.

The USDA estimates that Americans waste 30-40% of food, and during the holidays, this statistic can increase. Careful meal planning can save a considerable amount.

Travel Smart

Christmas Is RuinedShutterstock

If traveling, book tickets in advance to get the best deals. Avoid peak travel days where possible. Studies show that traveling on the actual holiday can be up to 50% cheaper than traveling the day before.

Shop Online for Deals

Person handing over packages to someone elseKindel Media, Pexels

Online shopping can offer better deals than in-store, especially on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Additionally, online shoppers save on gas and impulsive buys.

In 2019, Cyber Monday sales reached a record $9.4 billion in the U.S., with shoppers taking advantage of significant discounts.

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Use Free Entertainment

Embarrassing Crush MomentsShutterstock

Instead of expensive outings, enjoy free local events or at-home entertainment like movie nights or baking sessions.

Many communities offer free holiday concerts, light shows, or festivals, which can be a great source of entertainment without the cost.

Final Thoughts

Dumbest Things People Have Actually DoneShutterstock

With some creativity and discipline, it’s entirely possible to enjoy a festive and frugal Christmas season.

These ten strategies not only help save money but can also enhance the holiday experience by focusing on what truly matters – spending quality time with loved ones and creating lasting memories.


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