saving money for christmas
Updated January 19, 2021

Keep the Holidays Cheerful: 15 Useful Tips on Saving Money for Christmas

Saving Money

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Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but sadly also one of the most expensive. For working parents it can be tough spending so much money on gifts, decorations, in addition to a possible Christmas party or vacation.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering about saving money for Christmas gifts and anything else a truly cheerful holiday celebration entails, we’re here to help!

Here are a few easy tips to help you have the Christmas your family deserves in the most financially sound way to do so.

Click here for other tried and true methods to save or make money for Christmas.

#1 Play a Game of Secret Santa

Instead of buying more than four gifts on your own, try playing a game where you may end up buying a single gift.

This Christmas, try something different and get your family to join in a game of Secret Santa where each family member will only have to buy and receive one single gift.

It’s probably a better idea to play this if your children are a little older, or else you and your spouse will end up buying all the gifts anyway.

This would also be a great idea if you celebrate Christmas with your extended family. Even if money was not an issue it wouldn’t make much sense to get 15 presents from 15 people.

#2 Get Emotional

Receiving a brand-new iPhone for Christmas seems too good to be true, but the truth is that there are much better gifts out there.

Nowadays, we tend to put too much emphasis on money and how much a present costs rather than what it means. As a result, meaningful gifts are slowly fading away.

If you have an emotional connection with someone and get them a Christmas present based on something they said or an inside joke between the two of you, it’ll definitely make them much happier than receiving a $200 gift.

Anyone can get them an expensive gift, but a meaningful one based on your relationship is something only you can get them and a gesture they’ll cherish for a very long time.

Besides helping you save money for Christmas, such a gift would be a great way to reconnect with a friend or acquaintance.

#3 Gift Cards Are Yours for the Taking

Getting a gift card by being a regular at your local coffeehouse isn’t the only way. The Internet is full of websites, tools, and apps that’ll give you gift cards in exchange for a few tasks or simply for signing up.

Swagbucks

If you’d like to put in some effort and earn a little money you can always register for Swagbucks.

Through Swagbucks you’ll get money for watching videos, taking surveys, and playing games online.

The rewards you collect via Swagbucks can be substituted for Amazon gift cards later on.

It’s always a great idea to save money on Amazon since it’s very likely you’ll at least use it for some of your holiday shopping.

Read our in-depth Swagbucks review and start Christmas shopping after signing up for Swagbucks.

Ibotta

You could also simply sign up for Ibotta and use the $10 bonus you get on registering for the service. It’s like getting free Christmas money.

Even if you don’t have time to use Ibotta and the holiday season is too close, you can take the $10 gift card now to aid you in your shopping.

Rakuten

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is another wonderful service that gives you plenty for your Amazon money back.

It’s like having a permanent discount where you get back about 5% of the money you spend.

These services are definitely what you’re looking for if you’re trying to find out how to save money on Christmas without simply buying cheap Christmas presents.

Looking for even more ways to get free gift cards for your Christmas gifts this year? Check out these amazing tips.

#4 Don’t Procrastinate

You don’t need to tell us how busy life can get because trust us, we know.

Nonetheless you should always try to make time for buying gifts, and preferably as early as possible.

First of all, you can do some of your holiday shopping during the mid-year sales. Don’t worry, the gifts will still be good to go at the end of the year.

Secondly, if you’re fairly certain about what presents and decorations you want to get, you can try buying them in stages, every few weeks or every month.

You might still be spending $500 or so, but would you rather spend it all in December or would it be better to spread it out over 3-4 months?

Plus, there’s always the risk of not finding what you’re looking for right before the holidays, because there are thousands of other people out there buying presents and odds are that some of them will want to buy the same things you want.

If you find any convenient deals for Christmas in November then go ahead and take advantage, there’s no reason you shouldn’t.

#5 Find Better Deals

One of the best ways of saving money for Christmas is to not buy an item the first time you see it. There’s almost always someone out there selling it for a cheaper price.

Apps like RedLaser let you find places and people who are selling the item you desire at a better deal.

All you have to do is scan the item’s barcode using your phone and RedLaser will do the rest.

What we love about this app is that it doesn’t just go through online sellers, but also looks for better deals at offline retailers.

For other great deals and more ways to make extra money, check out our article “112 Ways to Make Extra Money Now.”

#6 Get Organized

Things can get hectic and every few years it might happen that someone gets forgotten. Let’s say that in the midst of all the shopping madness you forgot to bring your brother in-law a present.

Santa’s Bag is a handy app you can use to keep all of your shopping ideas in the same place.

Use it to create a list of people you want to buy gifts for, gift ideas, and even set a total budget.

#7 Four-Gift Rule

Your kids don’t need four toys each Christmas despite how hard they try to convince you otherwise.

If you’ve already got them used to receiving this amount of gifts then it might be a little hard to change that now because they’ll feel disappointed.

Generally, you should apply the four-gift rule when shopping for your children during the holiday season.

The four-gift rule goes something like this:

  • Something they want
  • Something to wear
  • Something they need
  • Something to read

At the end of the day, your kid is still getting four presents, but at least some them will be practical and valuable in the long run.

#8 Buy Decorations after Christmas

No, we’re not postponing Christmas or suggesting you celebrate it after the rest of the world.

If you’re planning on saving money for Christmas next year, a great way would be to start preparing as early as 26th of December of this year.

Prices of Christmas decorations start to drop significantly once Christmas is over. Take advantage and buy the decorations you like, to store them for next year’s holiday.

Take care to store them in a clean location away from dust and temperature extremes so they remain in perfect condition until next Christmas.

Oh, and you don’t have to worry about them seeming outdated because Christmas decorations never go out of style.

#9 Buy in Bulk

You can always find great Amazon deals on things you can bundle together. It’s often how retailers get you to buy more, but you can definitely take advantage of that to save a few extra bucks.

This is a great option for buying Christmas tree decorations.

You probably already have a perfect mental image of what you would like your tree to look like, but keep in mind that buying individual ornaments can be pretty expensive.

Why not try to buy them in bulk instead?

You can find 100-piece sets available for as little as $10 on Amazon or even at Walmart. Any large retailer most likely offers plenty of choices and variations that you can choose from.

If you’re still attached to the idea of having a very unique tree then perhaps it would be a good idea to ask for these individual ornaments as presents from your loved ones.

They’ll be happy to oblige since ornaments will probably be cheaper than most gifts they can get you anyway.

If you’re looking for some great ideas for cheap gifts to order from Amazon, check out this list of 25 cool items under $25.

#10 Do It Yourself

This ties back to one of our previous tips, “Get Emotional,” but in this case it applies to Christmas decorations.

There are tons of materials and colors that you can use to make the prettiest Christmas decorations you can think of.

Get creative, look up videos on YouTube, and put some love into it. We bet you’ll get plenty of compliments from guests on your lovely and unique decorations.

Disclaimer: To be honest this isn’t something I tried or would try because my art skills are non-existent.

#11 Nature Is Here for You

We’re always too busy staring at our phones to notice the beauty around us.

Take a few minutes to walk outside and enjoy the scenery. You’ll find plenty of alternative, cheaper Christmas decoration ideas out there.

During winter you’ll find tree logs, fallen leaves, interesting looking rocks, and more. Why not use them to add a woodsy feeling to your home and Christmas decorations?

Adding these to your home will undoubtedly make your Christmas feel and look more authentic. In addition, you’d be saving quite a few bucks that would otherwise go on expensive store-bought decorations.

As a bonus tip: If you don’t like how something looks 100% you can always tie a ribbon around it or spray paint it a different color.

#12 Exchange with Neighbors

No, we can’t say we recommend walking up to a neighbor’s house, knocking on their door, and seeing if they want to swap ornaments.

There are apps available like letgo or OfferUp that allow you to buy and sell items locally.

These apps can help you find sellers or buyers in your neighborhood or community, which is a lot more convenient than shopping online. It also cuts down on shipping time plus costs.

It might even be a neat way of getting to connect and meet with new neighbors.

#13 UberEATS

Ordering food while trying to save money seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? Well, not if you’re not the one doing the ordering.

You can apply to be an UberEATS driver to deliver food whenever you’re free and make some extra money during the holiday season.

It’s cold and people won’t get up from under their blankets if they can help it, which means services like UberEATS will be in high demand.

Swoop in and save the day by delivering what they need, on your own time, whenever you’re available.

#14 Make Some Sales

If you’re trying to find new ways of saving money for Christmas presents, maybe you should try selling them yourself.

For extra money this holiday season, you can always get a part-time job at a retail store.

It’s a clever way to make more money and take advantage of any Christmas deals they have for employees.

For those who don’t have time for a part-time job you can make some Christmas cash by selling some of your old stuff on Gazelle.

Gazelle is a great e-commerce platform to buy or sell used electronics.

The company purchases used tablets, smartphones, laptops, and desktop computers, even if they are slightly damaged.

After inspecting them and certifying them, the items are then resold for a convenient price.

#15 Drive for Lyft or Uber

In this modern day and age we all have Lyft or Uber apps on our phones. To many people, they’ve become their favorite mode of transport.

Demand for these services during the holiday season is particularly high, so a good option for rounding up your income and saving money for Christmas would be to work as an Uber or Lyft driver.

You can turn off the app or become “unavailable” whenever you don’t want to work.

Both companies allow you to drive whenever you want so you can spend as much time as possible with your family.

It’s also worth knowing that Lyft gives new drivers a $300 bonus if they complete 100 trips within the first 30 days of their employment.

For more information about driving for Lyft and Uber, including pros and cons of each service, check out this article.

Start Saving Money for Christmas Early

We can’t deny that saving money for Christmas and looking for the best deals requires a lot of effort.

Ideally, you should start at least a few months before the holiday season begins.

This will allow you to stay on the lookout for the best Christmas deals and the most effective ways to buy cheap Christmas presents that will still put a smile on your loved ones’ faces.

Our Christmas tips focus not just on saving money on presents and decorations, but also on making some extra cash.

Not all of these will work for everyone, but surely you can all take advantage of at least 3-5 ideas in order to make your Christmas one worth remembering without breaking the bank.

Do you have any other useful Christmas money saving tips? Let us know below!

Here are some other great ideas for making extra money, both during the holiday season and throughout the year. Check them out now!

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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