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10 ways to save money on Christmas
The holidays are right around the corner. Can anyone else believe how fast 2017 went by?! This is about the time of year where people start thinking about Christmas. As with any event where money is going to be spent, Christmas should never be a surprise. There are lots of ways to save money on Christmas. A little planning and prioritizing can go a long way. Check our my favorite tips, and then head to the comments to add your own.
1. Set a budget
The very first thing to do when you want to save money for Christmas is to set a budget. My favorite budgeting tool is YNAB, but you can use any kind of tracking system that you’d like. Set up a reasonable amount of money that you’d like to spend for Christmas, and then divide it into categories. Your categories may look something like this:
- Travel costs
Try to think of everything Christmas-related, so that there are no sneaky hidden expenses! Once you have figured out how much you’d like to spend, stick to it.
2. Save in advance to spread the cost over time
By starting early, you can save money every month instead of scrambling at the last minute. I love using the YNAB app because it has a section for “savings goals.” I always put Christmas on this list. You can do the same thing with any budgeting app or even a piece of paper. Let’s say your budget is $1000, by starting in January, you can save $83 per month. This sounds a lot easier than coming up with $1000 last minute. Even if it’s too late to start early this year, you can always implement this next year. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and it’s the best way to save money on Christmas with very little work.
3. Experiences over gifts
Considering giving experiences over gifts. This might not necessarily save money, but it saves on waste, clutter and so much more. The entire family could get together and do a special trip rather than gifts. I recommend adding in small gifts or Christmas stockings for young children who might not understand having to wait for an experience or trip.
4. Draw names for gifts
One way that my extended family has started saving money on Christmas is drawing names. All of the adults draw names for each other, and we’re thinking about having the kids do the same this year. Drawing names and setting a reasonable limit is a great way to save money. Another money-saving option is forgoing adult gifts altogether and focusing on the kids.
5. Politely decline parties
If you’re invited to a lot of parties by co-workers and friends, it can really drain the Christmas budget. Parties mean extra food costs, gifts for the host, etc. You can always politely decline parties. You don’t have to give a reason, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
6. Shop clearance or discount stores
One of the ways to save money on Christmas that I implement every year is hitting clearance or discount stores. Dollar Tree has wrapping paper and some decorations for $1. You can always find clearance at Target or anywhere else and save as much as 90%. If you don’t want to hold on to items for almost a year, try shopping at Dollar Tree, discount stores or thrift stores for decor and disposables like wrapping paper.
7. Shop on Black Friday (online)
If you think Black Friday means getting trampled and huge crowds, it doesn’t have to! Most of the major retailers offer the exact same deals online, and Amazon is another great place to shop on Black Friday. If you don’t currently have a Prime membership, sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of the pre-Christmas savings.
8. Find fun, free Christmas activities
Not everything holiday-related is expensive! Most areas will have homes with elaborate Christmas lights, and many businesses offer free photos with Santa. Norad’s Santa tracker is always free, and it’s so much fun!
I asked some of my fellow bloggers for their favorite Christmas crafts and printables. Here are some of the best (and free!) crafts and printables from around the web.
Tara has an awesome Christmas bunting for the DIYer.
Tracie has a free “Naughty or nice” printable.
Cristy has a fun, family craft for a DIY ornament wreath.
Martyna has a yummy advent calendar idea.
Katie has an adorable Christmas eve crate craft.
Some of my kids favorite Christmas memories are the DIY projects that we have done together. Many of them were either free or very inexpensive!
9. Save money from side hustles and cashback sites
Start a side-hustle (or two, or three) to save money for Christmas. Here are some of my favorites:
- Test websites with User Testing
- Sign up to do mystery shopping with BestMark.
- Get paid to use your Fitbit with Achievemint.
- Take Surveys with SurveyJunkie.
- Get cash back on your grocery purchases through Ibotta and online purchases through Ebates.
- Get paid to search the web/do surveys and other online activities through Swagbucks.
I use every single one of the side hustles listed above, and I usually have a few hundred dollars by the end of the year. Some require a little bit of effort, but some require very little at all. It’s a great way to earn extra Christmas cash. Just choose one or two that sound fun to get started.
10. Remember what it’s all about
Christmas is not about spending loads of money on gifts, decor or parties. Remember what Christmas is all about, and make sure to take time with your family. Time is the most valuable gift that you can give to anyone. If your Christmas budget is shorter than you’d like, don’t stress about it. Find free things to do as a family, and make some of the best Christmas memories yet.
How do you save money on Christmas? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Make sure to use the sharing buttons and share with all your frugal friends! If you love money saving tips, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter, where I share the latest frugal living tips.