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Ways to Save During the Holidays

October 30, 2018

Okay Christmas, I see you lurking there. True that it is still October, but Christmas is practically in full swing! Don’t believe me? Head to your local craft store and tell me otherwise. With Christmas approaching many are beginning their holiday budgets. Between gifts, travel, decor and family gatherings, Christmastime can unsurprisingly rack up quite a bill.

For Clay and I Christmas can get really expensive. Between 9 nieces and nephews, parents and traveling home for the holidays we’ve learned over the years how to cut unnecessary spending. And it’s not as hard as you may think! Below you’ll find my best tips and trick for realistic Ways to Save During the Holidays.

Ways to Save During the Holidays

1. Keep it simple

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE decorating, especially when it comes to the holidays. But Christmas specific decor can be pricey. So instead of splurging on decking out for the holidays,  invest in decor that can last all winter and invest in just a few  “Christmas-y” pieces. Don’t feel like your options are limited! For ‘all winter’ decor head to my Pinterest Board by clicking on the image below for some incredible (and budget friendly) ideas!


2. Draw names for gifts

Something we started years ago in my family is drawing names for our sibling gift exchange. In my family there are 6 ‘kids’ including in laws. Even with a budget of $10 a person, that adds up quickly! So every year we draw a name from a hat and also a theme for that person. Then we set a budget of $10. This forces us to be creative and also helps eliminate the need to buy more.

If you have a larger family, drawing names may be a great idea for you. It not only eliminates additional costs for more gifts, but also allows you to really pour thought into that one single gift. Drawing names could even be extended to parents, but we usually all gift our parents individual gifts (because they kind of deserve it!).

3. Create a Budget

Setting a budget helps prevent from buyers remorse. It’s easy to use Christmastime as an excuse to make bigger purchases for yourself. Always wanted that new car? Well maybe the holidays are not the wisest time to spend on something huge. Set your budget BEFORE you start shopping, which for many that may need to come before Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Budgeting your expenses will help you from overspending and stepping into the New Year in debt.

When budgeting, take into consideration upcoming spending and always leave wiggle room in case of an emergency. For a great Christmas organizer, head over to my sweet friend Kate’s Etsy shop here where you can purchase an entire Christmas planner (with budget sheet) for only $5.

4. Make a list

Okay Santa Claus, don’t forget to make your list! Write down each person you are buying for and before you go shopping come up with an idea of what gift you’d like to buy them. This will help you stay within your budget and not get overwhelmed by all of the amazing things to buy in stores. Stores during Christmastime put out their BEST items, and it’s tempting to want to purchase everything. If you go in without a direction it’s easy to find yourself stuffing your cart with things you don’t actually need.

Creating a complete Christmas gift list with names and what you would like to buy also helps you to know exactly where to shop, what section to head for and what deals to look out for!

5. Know where and when to shop

Every store offers something different and unique! This gives shoppers opportunities to save, as long as you know where to go. Knowing where the best deals are for the holidays can be an obstacles. Check below for a quick guide to Christmas!

  • Target

Every mom loves Target, and soon you’ll have reason to love it even more. Target just recently announced that this holiday season they will offer FREE 2- Day shipping with no minimum purchase. Holla! As if we needed any more reason to shop at this beloved chain store. This runs from November 2nd to December 22nd, giving shoppers ample opportunity to take advantage of the free shipping offer.

Don’t forget that Target also gives you the ability to have something sent to stores for you to pickup through their Order Pickup! Simply order online, choose to have it shipped to your local Target store and pickup in store when the order is ready, no additional cost. Easy Peasy.

*Target Dollar spot is also one of my favorites for holiday decor. Prices range from $1-$5 and their decor is my guilty pleasure.

  • The Dollar Tree

The Dollar Tree can save you major when it comes to gift accessories. With each item only $1, this store becomes a treasure trove for things you need. From wrapping paper to bubble wrap envelopes for shipping they have what you need to save big time! The best part? The Dollar Tree (my personal fave) offers online shopping. To shop Dollar Tree online click here for Holiday needs!

What to buy:

  1. Gift Wrap
  2. Gift Boxes
  3. Clear Tape
  4. Bows
  5. Gift Bags
  6. Scissors
  7. Stocking Stuffer’s


  • Walmart

Walmart is the store I love to hate. The international behemoth is undeniably convenient, and offers affordable items (not to mention they’re conveniently located on every corner). But Walmart definitely struck with it’s layaway, making Christmas shopping even more budget friendly for buyers. Christmas layaway began in late summer, and runs through December 10th.

Simply shop in stores, take your items to guest services and set up your layaway account by placing either $10 or 10% down of your total (whichever is more). The minimum purchase for layaway is $50, paying the total off in installments. Once you’ve paid your entire purchase your gifts are then available to take home!

Layaway is a great option for families that budget per paycheck or simply don’t have a lump sum to pay for gifts at once. But they do have rules for their layaway program. Purchases must be made in-store and excludes wireless phones. Read the rest of their guidelines here!

  • Flights

A few years ago Clay and I flew to my family’s Christmas in Ohio. Together our tickets were almost $1,000. Eeks! Christmas is definitely not a cheap time to fly, but home for the holidays is where many long to be. If you are traveling long distances then flying may be your best/only option! Over recent years several airlines have tried to accommodate guests for lower costs with budget airlines such as Spirit or Frontier. But lower ticket prices doesn’t always mean lower total. Make sure to compare airlines to see who includes bags, snacks and seats with your ticket purchase, as many budget airlines charge extra.

Don’t forget that the best time to purchase your airline ticket is on a Tuesday! Buying on a Tuesday increases your chances of finding the cheapest price for your flight.

Holidays are an important time to be mindful of finances, so make sure that you keep track of your spending, buy practically and hopefully these tips help you to save money this holiday season! If you have any tips to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Merry Christmas!









20 Ways to Save During the Holidays- The best tips for realistic ways to save during the holiday season.
5 Simple Ways to Save During the Holidays- Tired of overspending? Here are 5 ways for you to save money during Christmas.
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  • Barbara Alfeo

    November 8, 2018 at 5:05 am

    What about secondhand shopping? You can save wayy more money than at any of these stores!

    1. beingmrsmcintosh

      November 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      That is a great suggestion Barbara! Thanks for sharing that. I’m a huge fan of shopping second hand, and am so glad you commented with that 🙂

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