50+ Best Christmas Money Saving Tips from Top Personal Finance Pros – Check out the top money saving tips and tricks around the Christmas holidays that you probably haven’t even heard of. Find out how to have a stay on budget this Christmas by finding new ways to save big.
Christmas shopping season is here and everyone is in spend spend spend mode. But are you actually getting good deals? Or are you leaving money on the table that you could be saving or getting cashback?
Enter: your 50 new best friends – money saving gurus, debt free bosses, credit and travel hacking extraordinaires, frugality pros and more. We’re all here to help you learn how to save money at Christmas using these awesome tips.
So if you’re looking for new, weird, fun and easy ways to save this year on Christmas shopping (and any shopping you do), then you’re going to want to make sure to save this page so that you never miss out on the best Christmas money saving tips from the pros.
50+ Best Christmas Money Saving Tips from Top Personal Finance Pros
Talk to your family about the amount of gifts everyone is giving and suggest that you all play a Christmas gift game instead of drawing names, or bringing gifts for everyone. This can help cut down the amount of things you need to buy and also take the pressure off others in the family who may be struggling more financially. Plus, you end up getting more quality time because the game can help bring people together instead of everyone opening presents by themselves.
Nick True, Mapped Out Money
Our family has been able to save money while also enjoying the holidays more by using the 4 gift rule.
With the 4 gift rule, we try to limit the numbers of gifts to one each in the following categories: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
It has really cut down on the holiday clutter, allows us to give our kids more meaningful gifts, and saves us money every Christmas!
Andrew Herrig, Wealthy Nickel
I love to use leftover Halloween candy to add to stockings! I always make sure that the candy isn’t Halloween themed! This is such a great way to save a TON of money on stocking stuffers. The Dollar Tree is a great place to pick up inexpensive stocking stuffers that kids (and adults!) will appreciate!
Allison Baggerly, Inspired Budget
Lena Gott, What Mommy Does
My best money saving tip for the holidays is to price compare, especially if you’re shopping online. It only takes a few clicks to find out which site has the best price. Make sure to take shipping costs into account. You may find a great price on one site but shipping costs could cut all your savings and actually make you spend more than another site. Free shipping is your best friend over the holidays.
Rebecca Forst, Financially Minded Millennial
I love shopping online during the holidays so I can avoid the crowds, but I’ve also found it’s a great way to save money! I use Rakuten (formerly Ebates) to earn cashback on my purchases. They have a Chrome extension you can install into your internet browser and it automatically checks for coupon codes and deals for the site you’re shopping on. It’s an easy way to streamline my online shopping during the holiday season, and I almost always earn some cashback. It really adds up fast this time of year!
Jaime Gibbs, Bubbling Brook Budgets
Skip buying new Holiday clothes and paying for Santa’s photos. Take advantage of “free” photos with Santa and free workshops in many retail stores.
Joyce, My Stay At Home Adventures
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy gifts for your family or friends. Many times these items are new and people are looking to get rid of an impulse buy item they never used. Use the chat feature as a place to ask questions and negotiate the price. You can score some great nearly new items if you have family and friends that don’t mind gently used.
Brittany and Kelan Kline, The Savvy Couple
Taking the time to create a detailed holiday budget (before you begin shopping for the holidays) can help you save hundreds of dollars this holiday season! Sit down and set an amount for each gift you plan to purchase and every other Christmas expense you will incur! Don’t forget to include food, decorations, holiday cards, stocking stuffers, etc! Now that you have your spending plan all you have to do is stick to it!
Kristin Stones, Cents and Purpose
We first monitor prices of items we want by looking at the prices pre-Black Friday from the online stores we shop at regularly. When the sales come, we use a shopping portal like Rakuten or TopCashback and a rewards credit card (ours earns 2% back on all purchases).
Josh, Money Buffalo
I follow “The Coupon Boutique” on Facebook. Feona and her team post deals all year round, but starting Black Friday through Christmas they go into hyperdrive! You will save A LOT of money with their deals. If you follow them throughout the year you will save money that can be used for next year Christmas shopping!
Ja’Net Adams, The Money Attractor Blog
I absolutely love giving gifts, but one aspect has always pained me: the insane costs of wrapping them. Over the years, my wife and I have found ways to cut these costs significantly.
First, we buy wrapping paper in bulk and use it over many holiday seasons. You have to do some basic math to make sure you’re saving money, but it’s worth it!
Second, this won’t help you this season, but we also shop for discounted wrapping paper in the days immediately following Christmas. Sometimes we use gift cards to complete these purchases.
And finally, here’s a tip I’m stealing from a family member’s playbook: Have your kids create their own wrapping paper using paper bags. You can get them for free from your local grocer and use pens, crayons, markers, and stickers you already have to create custom wrapping paper for small to midsize gifts.
David Cahill, Finance Superhero
Download the photos that you took over the year on your phone and make a photo calendar. Grandparents will love this gift showing pictures of the grandchildren over the year. It’s a thoughtful gift that they will love and it doesn’t cost much.
Samara Diggs, Budget to be Free
Make a budget for each person when buying gifts. That way you know how much to spend for each person or family. Plus while shopping, use a calculator! This will help keep you from overspending!
Ashley Patrick, Budgets Made Easy
Instead of throwing a holiday party, host a holiday potluck! Instead of spending on food, drinks and decorations, assign an item to each of the guests. This also allows everyone to participate and get into the spirit!
Raya Reaves, City Girl Savings
Don’t tell my two little kids, but since they already have more than enough toys to play with, here’s what we do to “save” a little money during the holidays: any toy they receive as a gift that they don’t need or already have, we end up putting for sale on eBaby to the highest bidder, to get “cash back” for those gifts. Since we have such a large extended family and plenty of family friends, this can add up quite a bit, at least a couple of hundred dollars per year. We’re not total Scrooges, though — any cash we earn back from re-selling the toys, we add to our kids’ 529 college savings accounts, so they’re getting actual value back from their gifts.
Mike Pearson, Credit Takeoff
If you’re looking to save money for the holidays, my number one tip is to begin any online shopping you do well before the holiday season and gift-giving time rolls around. It is possible to find deals in November-December, although seasonal items or trending gift ideas may be more expensive than other points in the year. If you can gradually budget and shop for people you plan on giving gifts to at least 3-4 months before the holiday season, you can allow yourself enough time to find the best deals and to avoid the holiday season rush. Plus, doing this is far less stressful!
Tom Blake, This Online World
Use your skills as gifts! I give my stepdad certificates for haircuts every year. It doesn’t cost me more than 10 minutes per cut, and he LOVES not having to go to the salon!
Laurie Blank, Great Passive Income Ideas
In the past few years, my wife and I have used our credit card rewards to cover the cost of all of our Christmas shopping. We each have a few different cashback cards and we’ve saved the rewards throughout the year, and then we redeem them to pay for the Christmas gifts. Between the occasional bonus of signing up for a new card and getting 2-5% cashback on purchases made throughout the year, we’ve easily had enough rewards to cover all of the Christmas gifts for our immediate family (4 of us).
Marc Andre, Vital Dollar
Buy presents throughout the year when potential gifts are on sale. (Hello Black Friday!) just make sure you label them so you do not give a new razor blade to your 5 year-old son or giving back the pair of socks you did not want to the person who gave them to you in the first place :).
Jonathan, Joney Talks
My wife and I send newsletters to our family and friends each year highlighting the happenings in our lives from the year. Usually, we send them through the mail to 50-100 people, costing us easily as much in postage and supplies alone. This year, we’re considering switching to an enewsletter to save the money and reallocate it toward other expenses which always seem to crop up unexpectedly during the holiday season.
Riley Adams, Young and the Invested
Two months out of the year we get three paychecks.I get paid every two weeks rather than twice a month. (26 paychecks each year) Two months out of the year we get three paychecks. Usually once in the early summer and once during the winter. Thankfully, this year that 3rd paycheck will be at the end of November. This allows us to plan for all holiday expenses! We use this third paycheck to plan for expensive holiday travel, Christmas gifts, higher than normal grocery costs and save a bit for other gift giving occasions like birthdays. I have the flexibility of shopping online and looking for black Friday sales or cyber Monday sales. I have 10 nieces and nephews! This “extra” paycheck is a great way to prepare for this very expensive time of year.
Mrs. Miller, Millers on Fire
It’s well-proven that Millennials value “experiences” over “possessions.” Thankfully, you can gift an experience for much less than the cost of, say, a new iPad. And we’re not talking about hiking through Tibet.
Ever heard of a staycation? Well, give your favorite Millennial a selfie-worthy experience close to home. I live in southern Florida, and my employees have found classes for intriguing activities like glass-blowing, pole-dancing, and fencing. Best of all, these places offer introductory lessons for cheap. And the Millennials who went had a blast.
I would also suggest looking to your favorite hobby. Chances are, you already know how to get the best discounts for your favorite hobby. You can gift this experience to someone in the form of a starter pack. Use some of your own material, and maybe gift them some new material too. You can also trade-off your hobby for a month (or whatever time you want) so that they enjoy your hobby in place of you.
Howard Dvorkin, Debt.com
Arrange a White Elephant or Secret Santa exchange for the adults in your family or friend group. You get to keep the fun of gift-giving without spending too much money buying presents for everyone.
Kate Braun, DollarSanity
Being Jewish comes with its perks! Sure, we have Hanukkah, which is kind of like 8 days of Christmas, but we don’t go all out on gift giving. Instead of elaborate meals, a Christmas tree, and celebratory lights, we simply go out to the movies and eat Chinese food on Christmas Day. It’s a tradition. We definitely spend less money this way and it works like a charm for families.
Drew DuBoff, DrewDuBoff.com
Always, always ask retailers to honor expired or competitor promotions or coupons. You have nothing to lose and a lot to save. Business love to please customers. In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, most business offer some sort of price match guarantee. If a competitor offers a price on a product, they’ll match or beat it — and this comes in handy when you have a gift card or stacked savings to one particular store only. Have an expired coupon from Black Friday (or whenever)? They’ll honor those a good portion of the time too. You don’t have to haggle over small items, but if you’re making a purchase on say, a TV, asking a company if they’ll honor a seemingly closed deal can save you hundreds of dollars.
Ben Huber, Dollar Sprout
For a gift exchange instead of buying new my friends and I have often got together to do a “wrap your crap” exchange. Everyone brings one wrapped gift and we do a sort of white elephant gift exchange. The only clause is you aren’t allowed to buy anything new. You have to bring something from your home that you’re currently not using. Sometimes the items are awesome and super useful to someone else. Other times the items make everyone laugh – who really needs (and keeps) 4 old phone charging cords they no longer use? At the end of the exchange any items not wanted can be donated or recycled.
Maria, Handful of Thoughts
We don’t do traditional gifts anymore expect for our parents. When our nieces and nephews were born, we setup small 529 plans for each of them. So now instead of Christmas gifts for our siblings and their kids, we just put money in their kids 529 plan. No shopping needed. No buying junk that they won’t use later. It is simple and takes us less than 5 minutes to do. And everyone loves that we are helping put away a little money each year for their education.
Andrew, FI by REI
Use browser extensions like Rakuten or honey to get cash back on online shopping and if you want to go to an actual store, ditch the mall and go to the outlet mall/stores instead. The Adidas outlet by us is always 50% off…it’s crazy!
Danielle, I Like to Dabble
My best Christmas money-saving hack is to shop early. I’m not talking starting in early November. I’m talking stocking up on presents throughout the year and having your shopping completed by early November. It lessens the stress and unnecessary extra spending that tends to happen when last-minute shopping.
Almost every store has yearly clearance sales, like Target’s toy clearance at the end of July, and Bath and Body Works semi-annual sale. It’s the perfect time to stock up on gifts that you know they’ll use and enjoy – and get them at a hefty discount as well.
Shopping throughout the year has multiple benefits. One, you’re spreading the cost across the year, which is easier to add to a monthly budget. You’re more likely to find something that your family members want (rather than panicking and making questionable last-minute purchases that will likely get regifted anyway).
Lastly, you’re more likely to get better discounts. You have the luxury of waiting for that special something to go on sale and stack your discounts when you do purchase it. Then, you’ll be able to spend Christmas relaxing with family – and bragging about your savings!
Tana Williams, Debt Free Forties
Secret Santa for the adults. We converted to this about 5 years ago and have never looked back. The gift limit is high but far below what we would have spent individually purchasing gifts for each person. I use a computer-generated name picker and release the names on Thanksgiving. We have all experienced less stress, less shopping, and more family time because of our system. Not the most exciting or innovative but it packed the biggest results for us.
Emma Leigh Geiser, EmmaLeighGeiser.com
Start shopping NOW!
Waiting for Black Friday and the day after Thanksgiving to get the best Christmas shopping deals is a thing of the past.
Many of the stores start their promotions now on November 1st, the day after Halloween. These stores include Walmart; Target, and Amazon and all of them price match.
(Target was even offering 40% off of select toy and video game purchases for example.)
And to make this deal even sweeter, be sure to save your receipts. If the products you buy do happen to go on sale within 30 days, all you have to do is take your receipt back and get an adjustment. It’s that simple.
And that’s real money saved you can take to any bank; online or brick and mortar! Happy holidays!
Bryan, Bucks & Cents
Embrace Potluck Dinners! We host the whole family for Christmas every year in our home. We love decorating, cooking, and having everyone together for the holidays, but man does it get expensive. If you’re in the same boat, you should embrace the idea of a potluck dinner. You get to focus on the main dish and ask everyone else to bring a side dish, an appetizer, desert, or some wine. You’ll not only save money on the cost of the items, you’ll also save time in having to prepare them all!
Mike Collins, Wealthy Turtle
My favorite way to score epic deals while holiday shopping is to follow fashion and lifestyle bloggers on Instagram. Around the holidays, these IG bloggers go ALL OUT with blog posts, IG posts, and IG stories covering where to get what for the cheapest! Simply find Instagram Lifestyle Bloggers with your similar style, start following them, and watch out for their IG Stories. As an added bonus, they usually throw in popular home, kitchen, and appliance bargains (ie. Nespresso, Dyson Vacuums, Instant Pots etc.) to set you up for the best (aka cheapest) Christmas yet!
Nikayla Sutherland, The Budgeting Couple
The holidays are crazy expensive, one thing we love to do is give experiences as gifts. This has the double benefit of having something to look forward to in the new year, plus it takes some financial pressure off of December because you don’t have to pay for it right away. The final and almost hidden benefit is that people seem to remember them better. Your child may not remember the gift they got last year, but they will remember the zoo pass (or whatever other experience you buy) that they get to use because they get to anticipate it for a lot longer.
Andrew Daniels, Family Money Plan
Find Cheaper Travel Options.
Traveling during Christmas is not only hectic, but also quite expensive. If you need to travel for Christmas, consider looking for cheaper fares.
Check out sites like Google Flights to track flights before your trip. It will give you the cheapest fares and notify you if the prices go down (or up). The tracking tool even allows you to keep tabs on flights months before your trip. If you see a price that you like, you can go straight to the site to start booking.
Timing-wise, you should always start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight because prices skyrocket during that time. The earlier you plan your trip, the greater the chance you’ll find the right fare.
Google Flights isn’t the only player in town. Try Kayak, Expedia or Priceline for price comparisons as well.
Also, think about non-direct ways to get to your destination. For example, you may live in San Jose, California. A fare from San Jose to Miami might be $1000. If you try another flight from a bigger market, say, San Francisco, you might be able to get a fare half of the cost. Check other cities near you for alternate prices.
Trains and boats can also be another method of travel. You’d be surprised to see a radically different fare if you consider alternate travel options.
Julian Kim, Dollars And Points
I have a few!
1. Give an experience. Extend the holiday cheer for your loved ones and buy yourself some extra time to save by gifting an experience in new year, instead of a gift around holiday season. This may also be a great way for you and your loved ones to reconnect later in the year!
2. Use credit card points to offset costs. Many people will put holiday expenses on credit cards, but forget about the rewards. Consider using your credit card points to purchase gift cards or stocking stuffers that can help offset the costs of holiday shopping. Worried the gift card isn’t thoughtful enough? Save them for yourself to use at your favorite store or even a supermarket in the New Year.
3. Put your money where the value is. Not all holiday gifts have to cost a lot of money. Consider what gifts you can provide that may be of more sentimental value, but not costs as much. A do-it-yourself project or photo album for example, may have more of an impact on your loved one (and your wallet) than you think.
5. Set up a high-yield savings account. Part of the reason holiday spending can be so stressful, is many people don’t plan far enough in advance. To get ahead of next year, consider setting up a high-yield savings account, which are usually offered by online banks and provide a much higher annual percentage yield (up to 2.3 percent) than your standard big bank (e.g. Wells Fargo). This means you’ll generate additional funds in interest over the course of the year, which you can then use for holiday expenses. To keep on track, estimate how much you anticipate spending during the holiday season, divide that number by 12, and set it aside to your high-yield account every month.
Kimberly Hamilton, Beworth Finance
Limit or eliminate gifts from family to your children! Seriously! Keep the gifts to your kids to siblings, parents, and Santa. Kids only need a few gifts. Instead of gifts that just go to waste, consider having extended family (like grandparents) contribute to a 529 plan for your children instead. Such a better use of money!
Robert Farrington, The College Investor
The best way to save money during the holidays is to follow websites like slickdeals.net or subreddits like https://www.reddit.com/r/frugalmalefashion/ (or r/frugalmalefashion/). People there will do all the legwork for you and post all the great deals that crop up during the holidays! You can also search around on reddit for your interests as well as subreddits like https://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/ exist if you’re looking for something other than clothes!
Jarek, Time in the Market
Pick a different date. Who said you have to celebrate Christmas on the 25th? Maybe you can celebrate on 1/25/2020 instead so you can have more time to shop, and more importantly more time to save. While this may be an unconventional money hack, another option is to simply give money for the holidays so people can buy their own gifts after Christmas during all the post Christmas sales.
Rachel, Money Hacking Mama
My favorite money saving Christmas hack is using credit card shopping portals to pay for gifts, which in turn, can then be used to pay for travel expenses. Cash back rates inside shopping portals like Chase’s can earn up to 10X points. This is in addition to the normal cash back you’d receive from using your Chase card. We then use these rewards to help pay for upcoming Spring or Summer travel.
R.J. Weiss, The Ways To Wealth
Set a spending limit between you and your significant other. That way neither one of you feels that you were “out-gifted”
Katie Jones, Agape Investing
If you have a big extended family with lots of kids, instead of buying expensive gifts for each and every child, try organizing some frugal family fun for Christmas instead. Build some memories by doing this like going sledding, building gingerbread houses, making Christmas cookies or hosting a Christmas movie party. Spend time with each other instead of spending money.
Peter, Bible Money Matters
Make a homemade gift or give your services as a way to save money on Christmas gifts.
Personally, I think people (myself included) appreciate homemade gifts more than store-bought because you know much more time and effort was put into the gift, and it was made with love.
For example, my uncle makes a custom annual calendar for our family as a Christmas gift. Each month has family photos and dates that are important to our family (i.e. – birthdays and anniversaries of people in our family). This is such a great gift because, at the end of the year, I like to cut the photos out of the calendar and frame them or put them in a photo album.
So consider making a homemade gift. You don’t have to be incredibly talented or artistic—because most of the time it’s the thought that counts.
If you choose to give your services, think about the tasks that you can do for someone.
For example, my best friend is excellent at calligraphy and can write out invitations or certificates. My uncle is a brilliant photographer and can offer a photoshoot or professional photos. My cousin is an outstanding tutor and can help with math or science classes. I am a lawyer and can help someone draft up a legal document.
What services can you provide? Maybe a homemade three-course dinner for a loved one, a car wash and detail, a haircut or color, organization services, personal training lessons…the list could go on and on.
Whatever it is, if you have the skill or talent then offering it as a gift is not only heartfelt and valuable, but also saves you money.
Dafina Sharpe, Dollars Plus Sense
My best Christmas money saving tip actually happens long before the holiday season, and that is, to begin saving for Christmas at the beginning of the year, by setting aside small amounts of money every month into a “holiday spending account”. By the time December rolls around, there’s more than enough money set aside to cover expenses. For years, this is how my wife and I were able to avoid the added financial stress so many face during the holidays, and focus instead on building memories with our kids.
Check Online Price Comparison Tools
I like to use CamelCamelCamel.com. This oddly-named website is a great tool and an alert system that can help you find the lowest price online.
Try finding an item that someone wants. Once you find the product, enter an alert with your email and price trigger. If it falls to your price, the site will issue you an alert email.
Another site to monitor prices is SlickDeals.net. The deals site is essentially a forum but it can, like CamelCamelCamel, set up an alert system as well. There’s even a Black Friday section for people who want to know the best deals for this day.
If you’re using a smartphone, try some great apps like RedLaser, SnapUp, and CouponSherpa. Apps like these listed can allow you to take a snapshot of the bar code and compare the product to other retailers (physical and online).
Julian Kim, Dollars And Points
My money saving tips is that you should wait to buy yourself the items on your personal Christmas wishlist until after the holiday, like the 26th of December. A few years ago I noticed that I would buy things for myself while shopping for gifts for family and friends at stores like Macy’s, Target and even Walmart but come back later around January to find them on sale. Well, turns out that if you wait to shop you’ll get them at close to 75% off after the 26th of December. Thanks for the opportunity to share.
Gloria Fagbemi, She Loves Good Things
Did you know that Amazon.com has an outlet website? It’s one of the best, and easiest ways to save lots of money when shopping online this holiday season.
Amanda L Grossman, Frugal Confessions
Make sure where you shop you can stack your rewards and cash back offers. Use cash back apps to ensure receive some sort of cash back on your purchases. There are times where you can triple or quadruple stack your earnings. Use a credit card that offers cash back, check if there are bonus offers for that card, use a cash back app to find that location to earn additional points. This may sound like a lot of work for limited reward, but these points can add up quickly. You might as well get some reward for purchases you need to make!
Kyle, Financial Wolves
My family and I loved using Elfster. It allowed us to save money and low stress because you didn’t have to worry about giving the perfect gift to everyone.
Diana Frick, Wealth Worthy Life
Selling things I don’t need is the best way for me to make money to buy gifts. By cleaning out my closets I’m making room for the stuff I’ll get for Christmas, and getting money to buy stuff for other people.
Cara Palmer, Smart Money Tips
Buy your Christmas PJs early and from an online retailer like JCPenney’s, Kohls or Target over Amazon. Early shopping and online coupons will combine to get you all the size options and outfits as cheap as $16 per adult (cheaper for children/ animals).
Sarah Wilson, Budget Girl
What are you best money saving tips for Christmas? Leave it in the comments!