Do you want to know how to save money for Christmas? It can be an expensive time of year but doesn’t have to be. It is very possible to do Christmas on a budget. Grab a cup of something warm and read these tips from expert moms about how to do Christmas cheap.
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The Christmas season can be crazy expensive. The average American family spends close to $1000 on Christmas gifts – this is just gifts, not everything surrounding the holiday season!
It is not worth going into debt for Christmas. Figure out your budget ahead of time and try not to get carried away with spending more than what you decided on. Even for a frugal person like me it can be easy to get wrapped up in the holiday season and spend too much. Something that doesn’t work well for me is buying gifts too much ahead of time. Then if I see something else I like, I end up getting that additional gift too! Great for my family, not so much for my wallet.
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Tips on how to save money for Christmas
1. Christmas Savings Account
One idea on how to save money for Christmas is start saving a little bit of money into a dedicated Christmas savings account. This could be a separate account at your bank that you put money into and it gains interest as it sits there until you take it out around Christmas. You can even go totally low-tech and have a Christmas savings jar which is just a money jar where you drop your extra change. It’s amazing how much loose change can add up throughout the year. This digital coin bank even keeps track of how much you have saved!
2. Track your money
If you don’t have a way you’re tracking your spending and income, you can sign up with Personal Capital (it’s free!) Personal Capital compiles your income, investments, and spending into one easy to use program complete with graphs and charts for those visual learners out there. If you want to stick to a budget, you MUST track your spending. Any tool that will make it easier to do so is a good idea, and Personal Capital does just that. Sign up here.
And here is how to make a Christmas budget so you can keep your finances on track this Christmas 🙂
3. Make extra money for Christmas with a side job
Some people pick up a side hustle or side job to make extra money for holidays or for gifts. If you are looking for a flexible side job to make a bit of extra money for the holidays, here are some great options for jobs for moms with busy lives (i.e. all of us):
- Dog sit or cat sit
- Mystery shopping
- Search engine evaluation – work from home
- Teach English online from your home
- Flexible side hustle ideas
- How to make $500 by this weekend
4. Manage expectations
Caitlin from Real Mom Recs:
I am a mom of 4 and my best tip for saving money AND preventing meltdowns for your kids at Christmas time is to be very proactive about managing their expectations. No one wants to see their child disappointed on Christmas morning, which can make us parents overspend and buy them way too many gifts. This is especially true if you have a kid who continually adds to their mile-long Christmas list right up until the day before.
We have implemented the 3-item Christmas list, which means my kids can ask for three things which they may or may not get. When they see something in a TV commercial that they just have to have, we take out their Christmas list and I ask them which one of their three items they want to replace. It keeps them focused on the few things they truly want, and it mitigates the notion that there will be a sea of Christmas gifts flowing on Christmas morning.
5. Be thrifty by making things with your kids
Laura from Savvy Family Finance:
One of the ways we save money around the holidays is by spending time with the kids making things. Sure, we could buy passes to a snow park, but the kids are just as happy making snow forts with us or watching mom wipe out on the free sledding hill. The same goes with making food gifts for the kids’ friends. While they could go buy a fancy candy bar, they prefer to learn how to make treats at home. Of course, this does mean the kids also have to taste-test the end product to ensure quality.
6. Take advantage of free printables
One the best ways to save money in the holiday season is to use Pinterest to find as many free printables as possible. There are a ton of free resources for use around the holidays, including printable gift tags, cards, advent calendars, cookie boxes, wall art, decor ideas and loads more.
If you have a printer and a Pinterest account, there is no need to spend money on dressing up your home and gifts (well, other than the ink, you use).
7. Use loyalty programs
Erin from Little Miss Kate:
Take advantage of loyalty programs, for example if you can buy your items at Shoppers Drug Mart on a bonus points day such as Spend $50, gain 15,000 points then you are cutting your cost by $15, plus any coupons you may be able to use.
Make your PC points work for you, we save our PC points all year and then use them at Christmas to buy our groceries for all of December and take our grocery budget to buy Christmas gifts. We were able to cash out $400 in June and will be able to cash out another $400 in December, all because we shop PC for all gas, and grocery and have a PC credit card that collects points faster.
8. Save on decorating
Kenyatta from My Design Rules:
Stretch your holiday decorating budget to the max by buying decor that can be used in several ways throughout the year. Lanterns, vases and picture frames are extremely versatile. Skip the Merry Christmas printed thing and add a free printable sign next to it or wrap vases in holiday ribbon. That way you’re not stuck with oodles of Christmas decor and then bare shelves the rest of the year.
9. Check out deal sites for holiday promos
Julie from The Mom Survival Guide:
One of the best apps/websites I use around the holidays is Brad’s Deals. It has the latest deals and links to each deal. Plus he sometimes has promo codes for using his site.
10. Do what’s right for your family
Gemma from Yorkshire Mum of 4:
I am a mum of four and my experience of saving money at Christmas is that I do survey sites throughout the year and shop and scan with my shopping and save my amazon vouchers through the year to afford all the presents.
We don’t buy unnecessary presents for older relatives anymore as in my experience they buy everything they need themselves anyway. As a couple we don’t buy for each other as we have a joint account. With the Christmas food we don’t buy a turkey as they don’t taste great and are pretty expensive so we have cheaper meats to eat. This is usually enough for us and we don’t waste money on more vegetables that will be wasted.
11. Shop clearance year-round
Samantha from Journey to SAHM:
I always start shopping for deals prior to Thanksgiving. Check the clearance aisles at Target, Walmart, etc. and you will find some golden deals throughout the year. I also continuously shop at the Target Dollar Hot Spot year round to stock up on stocking stuffers. Everything is so cheap, so you can get a lot of items without emptying your wallet!
12. Save your grocery points for the holidays
Cindy from Living For the Sunshine:
I collect points on my grocery orders all year. Instead of using ten dollars here and there, I save them for the holidays. It usually pays for my Christmas grocery order and sometimes more. It really helps ease the pressure of bills in December!
13. Shop online instead of in malls
Shop online! Just staying out of the malls will prevent those impulse purchases and will help you save money for Christmas. Stores waft scents that will play with your nostalgia (peppermint, Christmas trees, cookies) and it will be much harder to stick to your budget. There are lots of frugal Christmas gift ideas here that can be bought in the comfort of your home.
If you buy online, sign up for free with Rakuten. If you shop through their site at stores like Sephora, Amazon, Best Buy (and so many more!), you will get cash back on your purchases. This can really add up around Christmastime.
If you do go to malls, it can be fun to be in that festive atmosphere but go with a list. It’s much easier to impulse buy when you’re in this holiday wonderland with the yummy smells and the music and the decorations. Instead buy online and get festive other ways like going for a drive to look at Christmas lights, decorate Christmas cookies, or play in the snow with your kids.
Related reading: The Best Holiday Money Saving Tips for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
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What are your tips on how to save money for Christmas or do Christmas on a budget?