How to Save Money During the Holidays

Depending on who you voted for, the economy may or may not be recovering. But one thing’s for sure: we’re all still trying to save money during the holidays.If you’ve been good and been putting money away every month to save for the Christmas splurge, then you’re probably still trying to figure out a way not to go broke. And if you haven’t been saving up any money, you’re probably trying to figure out ways to make money for the holidays and not spend on anything else.

Here are some top tips on how to save money during the holidays:

Create a gift exchange. It seems every year we have the best intentions of doing a gift exchange and every year, we decide not to. With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s the perfect time to get everyone to agree, put your names in a hat, and have everyone pick out someone’s name. This helps limit Christmas spending and gives you the chance to only splurge on ONE person’s name. This works really well with large grown-up families that are in that weird “no grandkids yet” stage where Christmas becomes all about the little ones. I have a lot of aunts and uncles, and all those cousins, and yet no real children to splurge on, so we can all afford to buy one large gift.

Split the hosting responsibilities. Instead of making one person host the festivities, make sure to house a potluck. Everyone is in charge of bringing a dish and the large meat is divided by cost amongst family members. It’s only fair.

Keep friend parties to a minimum. Sometimes it’s not just the gift buying for the family that racks up the bill, but the office and friends with all good intentions that suggest the gift exchange. Instead of calling yourself Scrooge, try and suggest a white elephant gift exchange, but instead of a wacky gift that nobody will want, make it a really awesome gift with a $20 limit. $20 can buy movie tickets, a restaurant certificate, a bottle of wine, etc. and everyone gets to walk away happy.

It’s the thought that counts. If you really must get presents for everyone in your office, stick to homemade gifts and spend more of your time rather than your wallet. With the invention of Pinterest, there are amazing make-your-own-gift ideas, such as cookie mixes in Mason jars, or coffee mugs filled with goodies.

Only buy decorations on sale. For the first couple of years we were married, I really really wanted to buy oodles of home decorations. The price tags are what kept me at bay. But for the past few years, I would splurge on the after-Christmas sales when decorations are at a fraction of the cost. This helps slowly accumulate worthy pieces of decorations at a minimal price. I also accepted donation from my mom and mother in law, who were more than happy to give me their unwanted decorations so they could buy new stuff. I’m okay with hand-me-downs!

Whatever it is that you’re thinking about splurging on this Christmas, remember what the spirit of the season is really about.