5 Simple Ways to Save During the Holidays

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love the holidays. The feeling, the food, the atmosphere. It just stirs up something inside of you and makes you want to be around family. I mean, everyone in my inner circle loves the holidays and for us, it means spending a lot of time with family, both immediate and extended. And with all the gatherings and dinners that happen during this time; it’s no wonder people feel obligated to spend a lot of money. Feel obligated to buy each family member a gift.

But when it’s all said and done, will you be able to say “I stuck with my budget” or will you see $0.00 as your bank account balance? If you are worried that it will be the latter, here are some simple ways to save during the holidays:

Start early

I was in the habit of waiting until the last-minute to do all my shopping. But once I got married I started to shop earlier because we are buying for his family and mine. Instead of waiting for December to roll around try getting everything done in November when late night shopping starts. A lot of businesses have Corporate nights that offer at least 20% off to the employees of certain companies. Also, companies like Gibbons offer sales that normally start at 30% off throughout the holiday season. But if you really want extreme savings and enjoy/don’t mind waiting in line all night, you can do your shopping on Black Friday. A lot of businesses have sales and promotions; you just have to keep your eyes open.

DIY Gifts

Sometimes doing it yourself is not always cheaper but when it comes to Christmas there are a few things you can do that are meaningful and saves money too. Here are a few DIY projects you can do:
DIY Cookie Mix in a Jar

DIY Spa Kits

DIY Mug and Beverage Kits

DIY Gift boxes

Creating a gift from scratch shows that you put thought into what you wanted to give the person. This is the time to incorporate their favourite colours, foods or scents. Personally, I like the DIY Spa kit because everyone needs time for themselves. A little time to relax and recharge. You can even put a small bottle of their favourite wine in the basket so they can have a glass while relaxing.

Just remember to pick a gift that is in line with your skill level. If you take on a project that is too big you may end up not being able to pull it off, spending way more than you wanted.

Secret Santa

Now that we are all adults, instead of purchasing gifts for everybody we decided to do secret Santa for us and only buy gifts for the children. If you have a really big family and depending on the type of gift giver you are, this option could save you hundreds of dollars. The rules are easy:

  • There is a dollar limit. You don’t want one Santa to out gift the others.
  • Each person can write what they want that is within the limit (or they can be surprised)
  • No cash in a card* (put some thought into it!)
  • You can’t pick yourself or your spouse

If you want to make things fun, you can have each receiver guess who made/gave the gift or play the White Elephant version of this game.

*Last year my secret Santa forgot what I had asked for and waited until Christmas Eve to remember he picked my name. Long story short I got a card with a candy bar in it and he transferred money to my account.


During the holidays you can save a lot on decor and decorations by keeping things simple. Try using items that you already have, like using an old blanket as a tree skirt. Or you create a theme in the fall that can also be used during the Christmas holiday. In our living room, I like to use a lot of creme, beige and gold items, that way I don’t have to change it during the Holidays and I can keep the same theme all year round.

Now if you are a person who loves to change it for every season, try waiting for the holiday sales once Christmas is over to get next year’s decorations. Because the items will be significantly reduced.

A New Take on Dinner

Every year my parents have the whole family down their house. Throughout the day it’s about 50-60 people that come by. That is a lot of people to cook for and a lot of money spent on food. A few years ago they decided that rather than provide all the food for everyone they would ask family members to bring their favourite dishes, desserts or beverages to share. Also, people can opt to bring the non-food items like the utensils, plates and cups. Just make sure you write what everyone said they’re bringing because you don’t want everyone to turn up with cassava pie.

Planning a dinner doesn’t have to break the bank, you just have to be smart about it. Not only will you save a lot by sharing the load, you will be able to focus on enjoying the day because you are not stuck in the kitchen.

*BONUS* No Gift Christmas

Because we do not have children, I suggested that we don’t buy a tree, decorations or gifts for each other and that we do something together instead. My husband thought it was a good idea and so we decided to go to a nice restaurant on Christmas Eve. We have budgeted $200 for the night but I doubt it will be that much.

If you have children, you can implement a gift limit and price limit on the gifts, as I know it would be kind of hard to tell a 5-year old that they will not be getting gifts this year. And you never know you might just start a new family tradition.

With the holidays approaching fast, make sure you have your game plan in place. A lot of stores will have “Holiday sales” that will help you save money on gifts but these sales are also designed for you to spend more than you intended. So give some of these ideas a try and see if your pockets are a little heavier on December 26.

Do you have a holiday budget? How do you save money during the Holiday season?