10 Easy Ways To Save Money During The Holidays (Without Fear Of Missing Out)

It’s the holiday season……..

And what does that mean? For me, it’s time for some R&R, hanging out with family, pigging out on some great food, and spending some money on presents for the family.

If you suffer from sticker shock this year, you are not alone.

Between inflation, supply chain issues, high gas prices, and wage stagnation, many Americans are feeling anxious and have trepidation about their financial well-being as the holiday season approaches.

According to a national survey, almost 40% of Americans say their finances have deteriorated in the past year. This is an 8% increase since February 2022.

While there is a lot of excitement during the holiday season, spending money on food, travel, decorations, and entertainment can add up really fast!

The average person spends about $1,000 on gifts alone during the holiday season. Throw in hosting a New Year’s Eve party, traveling to visit family, going on a golf trip to Arizona, or going to some concerts while you have downtime can add up faster than you can say, “Ho Ho Ho!” 😊.

Since the holidays can be so expensive, it’s important to know ways to make every dollar stretch so that you don’t stress when the credit card bill comes due in January.

On top of that, a recession is looming in the horizon. I’d hate to see anyone rack up a bunch of debt and then hit with a recession a few months later.

We’ll talk more about this in a future article.

Today, we will discuss 10 Ways you can make your money work more efficiently for you and still have a great time with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Here goes…..

Set A Limit

It all starts with knowing your limits. The problem a lot of us face is that we set a soft limit and then push it WAY past the boundaries we set.

To kick off the holiday season and start the creative juices, set a HARD limit meaning no matter what you are not going past that number.

You can set a limit 2 ways:

  • Set a $$$ amount for all the people you buy presents for and then allocate that money however you want.
  • Set a $$$ amount for each person you buy gifts for and don’t go over that amount….ever.

If what I’m describing sounds like a budget that’s because… it is!

For those that know me and read my articles religiously, I preach that good financial habits start with setting and sticking to a budget.

Your holiday expenses are no different.

Stick To A Shopping List

Another tool that goes great with setting a budget is picking out and sticking to a shopping list. Nowadays, it’s extremely easy to price shop for gifts online.

The problem a lot of us go through is that during our shopping excursions we find a gift that Aunt Gladys would just love and MUST have that also costs as much as an island in the Caribbean.

Don’t fall into that trap.

It’s ok to pass up on that gift because you can always buy that gift for their birthday or some other occasion.

Another option could be having a relative go in on the gift together. That way, you stay in your gift limit and Aunt Gladys gets a gift she will adore.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention and creativity.

Shop Throughout The Year

It’s no coincidence that prices seem to skyrocket around the holiday season (supply ‘n’ demand baby! Lol 😊).

A trick my wife has used for years is to Christmas shop year-round and store the gifts for when you need them.

This coincides with a “living” shopping list that my wife uses all year-round.

Here is an example:

On our honeymoon, my wife found a ton of Christmas gifts for our whole family AND for a good deal.

We even have a picture of her with her shopping finds all around her feet at the mall we visited in Toronto.

To give you a visual without showing the actual picture, it looked something like this (😊 I actually bought her this exact M&M dispenser years later as a Christmas gift!):          

!0 Easy Way To Save Money During Holiday Shop Throughout Year

Pay In Cash / Be Cautious With Credit Cards

A great way to avoid overspending and building up holiday debt is to pay for gifts in cash.

Once your spending limit is set and you created a shopping list, take that money out of the bank in cold, hard cash.

When the money is gone, you are done shopping. End of story.

Now I know you cannot use cash for online shopping but there is a way around that. When you buy something on your credit card, set that same amount of cash off to the side in an envelope.

Once the bill comes in, use the cash in the envelope to pay off the credit card.

It’s a great way to avoid the temptation provided by using a credit card.

Make Homemade Gifts

Getting near the end of your spending limit yet have a few more gifts to give?

Try making some presents!

My kids have made presents for family members for years. Their favorite to make are Christmas ornaments.  They do not cost very much to make, and the family loves them! You know because you see them on the tree every year!

Make Homemade Gift To Save Money During Holidays

I wish I would have known that when I was a kid. I grew up thinking you HAD to buy the gifts for it to be special.

I remember one year, I was around 6, and saved up my allowance money for about 6 months. I bought every female in the family (mom, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, etc. – about 10 people in all) a necklace.

I did that because I thought that girls LOVE to wear necklaces so why not buy them some?

I went to this store in a local town. It was a Big Wheel (a cross between a dollar store and a Target but WAY cheaper) and bought the best necklaces I could find….. for about $0.25 each!

True story!

I was proud of myself, and all the family members made sure they showed me how much they appreciated them.

The only problem was I never saw them wear them…ever.

Looking back I now know why and wished I would have saved my money and just made them a simple gift instead.

Adults can do the same thing too.

I’ll talk more about that next.

Give Thoughtful Gifts

Giving gifts with sentiment or meaning has WAY more impact on your loved ones than an expensive gift.

Repeat after me ….. $$$$ does not make up for sentiment.

My sister-in-law is a prime example of this.

Back in college and her early career, she did not make much money, was struggling to make ends meet, but is a HELL of an artist! No kidding. She has talent.

I remember one year while she was in college, she made a painting for her parents. If I remember correctly, it was the view off the coast of Sicily. The painting was exquisite!

For us, she made a penguin family out of porcelain dolls. We still display them today.

Another person who does this is my mom’s neighbor.

Every year, he makes homemade jams and roasted cinnamon sugar pecans. He packs them in tastefully decorated jars and passes them out to all the neighbors as gifts.

Doesn’t cost much money, take a little time, and has a big impact on people’s lives.

If you want to impact people lives, there is no better gift than things you make for others.

Use Cash Back / Money Saving Apps

Even though you are going to spend some amount of money during the holidays, it doesn’t mean you cannot make the most of it.

Take advantage of the technology available and use one of the many budgeting or money-saving apps to help you put some cash back in your pocket.

If interested on how to get started, here are a few suggestions:

You can use these apps to get cashback deals and discounts automatically when you shop online.

I was surprised at the number of retailers and the name brands of the retailers that are offering deals. For basically following your current shopping habits, you can get savings pretty easy.

All you do is click on a store you want to shop through (i.e., Kohl’s, Target, etc.) and shop just like you normally would online.

You make money by saving and the app makes money by using you as a referral…… it’s a win-win! 😊

Host A Potluck Party

We have done a lot of talking about shopping and gift giving. Now let’s focus on something near and dear to my heart…… the parties!

Don’t know about you, while I love receiving gifts, I truly enjoy spending time with family and friends during the holidays.

However, throwing a holiday party can get expensive really fast. I know some people who cater their party and that isn’t cheap!


I prefer having a potluck party.

Basically, you host and supply the main course and mixers and ask everyone to bring either a dish to pass or a bottle of their favorite alcoholic beverage to share with the group.

I’ve always had fun at these events. In fact, the most fun I ever had was not at a black-tie New Year’s Eve party (been there done that!). The most fun I have ever had has been at holiday potluck Christmas / New Year’s parties.

The holidays are about spending time with the people you care about not pretending to be the baller you are not.

Enjoy Free Activities

Just because you are choosing to be cost effective, doesn’t mean you cannot have fun.

First off, don’t vacation travel during the holidays if you can help it.


It’s all about supply and demand. Airlines and hotels are counting on you doing this and price accordingly.

There are plenty of free activities you can enjoy in your home city that are a lot of fun, and you don’t break the bank in doing it.

Enjoy Free Activities To Save Money

There are things like free holiday Christmas concerts, ice skating or sledding (if you live in the northern cities), fishing (more prominent down south), and so much more.

Your library has a list of free things you can do with one of the coupons or vouchers they offer. Check it out!

I wrote abut all the fun things you can do in your home city in the article below:

12 Ways To Have a Budget-Friendly Vacation

Cook Vs Takeout

To me, the holidays is not only about spending time with loved ones but enjoying all of their great cooking!

Homemade cookies, pies, and meals…… yum! 😊

Cook To Save Money During Holidays

I also know people who eat out a lot during the holidays. Don’t waste your money on that now. Save that food budget for when you are back to work and REALLY need the break! Lol 😊

Now that you have a little free time, learn to make your own food. It’s cheaper, better, and you’ll appreciate it more than getting a takeout pizza from Domino’s.


The end of year holiday season is probably the most wonderful time of the year.

If you aren’t financially prepared for it or are a little cash strapped this time of the year, it can also be a little stressful.

We’ve all been conditioned by that we must spend, spend, spend. That just isn’t the case.

Today’s article focused on ways you can still enjoy yourself without breaking the bank to do it.

The holiday season is also about traditions. If you don’t have any, then create your own especially ones that can save you money.

Happy Holidays everyone!


Live The Life You Love, Want, And Deserve! 😊


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