5 Ways to Save on Christmas Expenses

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Looking to save on Christmas expenses? You can totally cut back, save money, and still enjoy a great holiday. Here are some easy ways to save.

As you probably know, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are the biggest retail weeks of the year. Stores want your money and they’ll go to great lengths to get you to buy their product.

We need to be diligent all 12 months of the year, but Christmas time can be an exceptionally tempting season toward overspending. Thinking about it today can help you spend less and save more in the long run. Create a battle plan now before the sights and sounds of Christmas sway you toward not so wise choices.

Thankfully, you don’t need to go all bah-humbug. There are plenty of ways to save on Christmas expenses.

5 Ways to Save on Christmas Expenses

The following are ways that we have made ends meet at the holidays.

Make Presents

For years this was my main mode of operation. I enjoyed the creative exercise crafting handmade gifts, and we saved money. If you’re going to make gifts, NOW is the time to gather ideas and supplies and to get started, if you haven’t already. Handmade gifts can take longer than you think, and it does you no good if you are burning the midnight oil on December 24th. Been there, done that.

–> Check out my HUGE database of gifts you can make, including easy and inexpensive ideas for kids, teens, college students, ladies and men.

Lavender Soap

Win with Swagbucks

I love Swagbucks. Over the years my family has used it a search engine that rewards us with points that we redeem for Amazon gift cards. Some years I’ve been able to purchase all the kids’ Christmas gifts on Amazon with Swagbucks. Talk about a Christmas miracle.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now and start earning SwagBucks. You can earn Swagbucks by searching the web, completing surveys, referring friends, shopping through their portal, and even watching short videos.

By the time the holidays roll around, you could have a nice little nest egg to trade in for gift cards. This past weekend I logged in to find enough points for $30 in Amazon gift cards.

Shop online via Ebates

Even though we live in the same state as most of our family, we don’t see everybody on the holidays. I’ve found that if I know I am going to ship a present, I do better to skip the middle man (me) and have the gift go straight from the store to the gift recipient.

(They usually know I’m too cheap to spring for gift wrapping, so they know not to open the package until Christmas.)

Since I order a fair amount online, I’ve found that using Ebates works well all year-round to get a little cash back from online purchases. Not only that, but Ebates has the latest in coupon codes and discounts so you can get extra savings shopping through their portal

In the past I’ve done my Black Friday shopping through Ebates and gotten great deals, free shipping, and cash back from my purchases. Since I signed up in 2009, I’ve received over $1300 back in ebates! The last few months, they’ve even offered me up to 15% extra back if I opt for a gift card instead of cash.

Basically, I’m totally a fan of Ebates, and you should be, too. Sign up here.

Make Do with Less

This is probably the most obvious as well as the most difficult way to save money at the holidays. But, there are lots of things that you might think are necessary at Christmas time, that really aren’t. Talk with your family and find out what is really important to them. Make those things priorities and if the rest doesn’t fit the budget, then do without it this year.

Christmas cards used to be a “must-have” for me. But, ten years ago I stopped sending them and haven’t looked back. The world went on without a holiday greeting from us in the mailbox.

Plan well.

Have you ever found yourself a day late and spending way more than your holiday budget? Lack of planning at the holidays can put you over budget quick. Take some time now to plan and really hone in on your priorities this holiday season. Now is the perfect time to do so, before Thanksgiving bowls you over.

My ebook, A Simpler Season is an ideal holiday planner that will set you up for success this holiday season. Not only does it provide some really fun family activities and tips for planning Thanksgiving, it includes extensive sections on budget-friendly Christmas celebrations.

When you put this holiday planner into action, you will

  • Enjoy more meaningful celebrations as you pare down to what’s MOST IMPORTANT to you and your family is THIS stage of life.
  • Let go of the have-to’s and should-have’s as you learn to PRIORITIZE and do what’s best for your children and yourself, even if it’s not what you “always do”.
  • Experience the WONDER of the holiday season with fresh eyes as you count down the days with easy, actionable family nights.
  • BLESS others with fun gifts that are easy on the wallet and your schedule.
  • Have thoughtful devotions and books to enjoy with your family every night of the season.
  • Celebrate simply so you can enjoy the peace that the holidays is supposed to be.

The ideas in A Simpler Season are varied and wide in scope. What might make you feel overwhelmed is now very doable since all the work is done for you. Well, almost all.

You get to bake the cookies yourself.

I’d love to know what helps YOU save on Christmas expenses.

Originally published July 29, 2010. Updated November 11, 2017.

 

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

gce-sidebar-subscribe
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. I love the “making your own” gifts idea. On the really lean years this is what our family has done and they are usually the favorite gifts because we put a lot of time and effort into them.
    I have a hard time with the whole Christmas in July thing since it is in the high 90’s this week, but I am starting to get into the spirit. 🙂

    Toni

  2. Jolie says:

    I borrowed your free sample idea last year and included cereal samples in my kids stockings which they could eat for a quick breakfast and then we could sit down for a more enjoyable meal a little later. They loved it! Thanks!

    • Jolie says:

      Oh, I also used your Mix ‘n Match Muffin recipe to give as gifts. It has become one of our favorite recipes. We will have our current favorite variation, apple nut raisin, tomorrow!

  3. Wow momma, you really gave me a lot of great christmas savings ideas that I never even thought of! Gonna sign up for that swagbucks for sure! My article this week is all about a Bittman recipe that I was unable to effectively “Traditionalize” and the lessons I learned. Thanks for sharing your space with us on Frugal Friday and have a GREAT week! 🙂 alex@amoderatelife

  4. Just as a heads up with SwagBucks, you can only redeem a certain amount of prizes per day & per month, so this is something that if you have a lot of points to use, you might want to start in late october/early nov. to redeem so you can make sure you get them in time. I didn’t know about that & last year wound up frustrated & scrambling….

  5. Thanks for hosting!

    These are great ideas for Christmas. I love making gifts. My husband’s family loves it whenever I give my homemade baking mixes complete with the recipe. Jars of homemade apple butter and bread and butter pickles were a hit last year too! My BIL loves my homemade caramel corn so he gets a batch of that each year. It’s easy to make and inexpensive!

  6. I know it’s Christmas in July and all, but yikes! I just can’t think about snow and Christmas presents yet LOL.

  7. I have made scrapbooking calendars, corkboard decorated with pictures along the frame, and recipe books for gifts for people. They all enjoyed them! I think when you put time into things, people realize that you thought about them!

    http://livingsoabundantly.blogspot.com/2010/07/gold-nuggets.html

  8. Great ideas…I always forget to use Swagbucks. I must get better at that.

    Thanks for the carnival.

  9. Great ideas! I save lots of our free samples for stockings, too.
    Thanks for hosting Frugal Friday!

  10. Now that I’ve finished a baby blanket I was working on (for my first grand nephew, Patrick Warren), I totally have to get started on Christmas presents! You are right, now’s the time!
    BTW, do you have Coinstar machines in your grocery stores? While they do charge for cash counting, if you get a gift card or certificate (I like to get them for either Amazon.com or Borders) it is totally free. I bet if you go around the house you’ll find lots of change you can cash in for free. Remember, a lot of places ship free if you have a minimum purchase, so you can get stuff for pennies and nickles you had lying around, anyway!

  11. Just a tip…for the past several years we have gotten many of the black friday deals online on Thanksgiving. Stores like best buy and amazon have great deals.

  12. These are really good ideas. I will start stocking up on Christmas supplies now!

  13. I can produce that I grow in our garden and we eat off of it all winter. I am hosting a Canning Week Blog Party the week of August 23-27 with lots of tips, recipes and how-to on canning. I think a lot of women are probably a little skeptical or have just never done it and hopefully once they see how easy it is they will want to give it a try. Hope you can stop by sometime that week as well!!!

  14. Funny – I posted about Christmas prep for Frugal Friday just last week. I guess we’re all trying to escape the heat by thinking about Christmas! Here are my ideas:
    http://frugallyblonde.blogspot.com/2010/07/preparing-for-christmas-in-july.html

  15. Wendy R says:

    If you want to send out Christmas cards order them early. Last year I ordered my photo greeting cards in October during a great sale from Shutterfly.com. I got free shipping and saved a bundle. This may mean you have to resort to sending a photo taken this summer, but who doesn’t love a little sun in December? My cards were addressed and ready to go before Thanksgiving…I just waited to send them out.

  16. For the last few years, we’ve limited our gift-giving, and no one seems to mind. We also give spring/summer clothes (purchased at end of season sales or resale shops) as part of our gift to the kids.

    Also, track your purchases and those of others, if they share. If I know that one grandmother has bought one thing, I let others know so that we don’t have to mess with returns, disappointment, etc.

  17. And here’s a recap of ideas for homemade gifts: http://going-green-mama.blogspot.com/search/label/homemade%20holidays

  18. Such great ideas! 🙂 We love to put our Swagbucks to good use for gifts!!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*