This season is beautiful in many ways: from having family over, to being able to drink hot chocolate, wear comfy sweaters, and have pretty lights everywhere. BUT, one of the downsides of this season…is MONEY. We have lists and lists of things we need to buy for people (and let’s be honest…for ourselves too!) But we don’t have all the money in the world. So here are some tips on how to save money this holiday season when it comes to buying gifts and anything else your heart desires.
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Make use of sales!
I don’t mean go out and make line outside of stores when you should be spending time feasting with family. Take advantage of the power of the internet! We have Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday sales, and even just normal holiday season sales!
My roommate has the perfect plan for snagging what you want:
- Hit the stores a few days before the huge sales, and make a list of everything you want
- Go to your stores websites through Ebates.com
- Fill your online baskets for each store a few hours before
- Hit “buy” once the sale hour starts!
Pro Tip: don’t just buy things for yourself. AND make sure you don’t go overboard. Just because you can buy four and get the fifth one free, doesn’t mean you should!
I don’t know how many of you have used Ebates before, but they are seriously awesome! If you shop your favorite stores THROUGH Ebates, you will get cash back. And for the holiday season, Ebates tends to also increase cash back percentages, which means even more cash in your wallet to spend on other gifts or to gift to yourself after the holiday season is over.
Sign up with Ebates to get $10!
Pro Tip: Combine Ebates with the first tip to save the most!
Redeem credit card points/gift cards
Have you been spending with your credit cards and racking up points all year? These points could help you save on a few gifts! You could use the points as a gift card toward a specific store (or even amazon). OR you could even use your points to buy specific products. See how much you’ve got and see what you can get for it. Even better – next year don’t touch your rewards points at all, and just save them for the upcoming holidays.
BETTER YET: use gift cards people have gifted you, or that you’ve received from returns, giveaways, etc. to purchase gifts for others. Then it’s like the money never even left your pocket – another great way to save money this holiday season!
I honestly don’t know when Christmas became a materialistic holiday (like Valentines) but there is seriously nothing wrong with making your own gifts. They can be fun and even more thoughtful than something anyone can buy. We all have those people that we seriously cannot think of what to get them. So MAKE them something!
Some ideas could be:
- Relaxation kit (comfy fuzzy socks, an eye mask, a coloring book, a candle, etc).
- A movie kit (popcorn, candies, a movie gift card, etc.)
- Any type of christmas basket
- A mason jar with cool goodies
- Personalized ornaments
- Knitted scarves, throw blankets, beanies, etc.
- Check out Pinterest for ideas
Pro tip: you can make a bunch for just about anyone. Just buy in bulk and personalize to make it special.
Buy gift cards cheaply
One thing I love about Costco (besides the free samples) is that they sell cool gift cards to amusement parks, movie theaters, and restaurants for cheap! For example, if you’re making a movie night kit for multiple people, you can buy multiple discounted gift cards and include them in their gifts.
There are pros and cons to this one. The real pro, is that if you use cash and give yourself a budget for gifts, you will force yourself to think and buy within your budget. Great news for spending/saving money!
The con about this tip is that you won’t be able to get any cash back or points from your credit card companies, etc. You decide what is best for your wallet and what you think is the best way to save money this holiday season.
Have a list and check it twice
My biggest tip would be to start planning EARLY and get gifts throughout the year. But of course, most of us tend to wait last-minute until it feels like holiday season to start planning (or just buying). The issue with just buying without having a plan, is that we get stressed, we get frustrated, and in the end we end up buying things we’re unsatisfied with and spend more money…remember…we’re trying to SAVE money this holiday season!
Sooo.. if you’ve waited last-minute (like me) to buy things, make sure to sit down and make a gift list for everyone. Then use this list to shop (AND ONLY this list) unless of course you find something amazing that trumps what you originally had listed.
Do something special instead
Instead of buying or making something for someone, why not just spend time with them? Have someone you haven’t seen in a while? Make some cool plans to hang out one evening and:
- Cook dinner or bake goodies together
- Have a movie night with hot chocolate, popcorn, and face masks
- Enjoy an ice skating night
- Go to a concert or to some special event happening in your area
- Send an E-card if you’re far from someone
- Have a potluck with friends (maybe even have a Secret Santa party where you just buy for one person instead of everyone)
Pro Tip: throughout the years I’ve learned that you don’t have to give a gift to everyone. Some just want your time. And you shouldn’t feel guilty for giving a gift that “isn’t good enough” or “expensive enough” etc. So cut down on your giving list and focus your efforts on making those on the list feel special.
Well there you have multiple ways to save money during a time that can be very expensive. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that you will be able to apply some of these to your holidays!