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150+ Ways to Save Money Over the Holidays

It’s the season where some are running around trying to find last minute gifts.  With all the pressure to get appropriate gifts in a short time line may result in overspending just for the sheer convenience.

Before we get too caught up in the rush, here are some ways to save money over the holidays:

1. Use LED Lights – For those of you decorating with Christmas lights this year, use the LED Christmas lights instead of the incandescent ones.  Not only are LED solutions more environmentally friendly, they will help reduce that dreaded winter power bill.

2. Use the Secret Santa System – Instead of giving gifts to all of your siblings, or to every single one of your friends in your circle, how about using secret Santa system for each group instead?  Implementing this system will help reduce the pressure and expense of purchasing so many gifts.

3. Re-Gifting –  This seems to be a hot topic this holiday season as other bloggers have debated this issue.  Personally, I have no problem with re-gifting.  In fact, I think that it’s a great idea!  If you receive a gift that’s not right for you, why not package it up and give it to someone who might enjoy it?

4. Give a Personal Gift – If you have the creative skills, how about baking a cake, making some cookies or creating a craft as a gift?  Not only can this be economical, it’s a gift straight from the heart.

5. Donate to a Charity – Lets face it, a lot of people that you know do not need another gift this holiday season, however, charities are always in need of contributions.  Try donating to a charity in someones behalf.  The benefits?  All parties involved will feel good about giving plus you’ll receive a donation tax credit to boot!

6. Have a Plan – Make a shopping plan and write it down, not only will it save time, it will save money by preventing the purchase of spontaneous gifts.

To add to this list, I asked other personal bloggers about how to save money over the holidays:

Being Frugal lists 50 frugal christmas ideas.

Money Ning explains 32 sensible tips for the holiday shopping season.

Bible Money Matters also has 50 frugal gift ideas.

Digerati Life gives us the best coupon sites for online shoppers.

The Smarter Wallet lists some frugal gift ideas for the holiday season.

Moolanomy gives us 9 smart holidays shopping tips.

Cash Money Life shows us how to find holiday travel deals.

Mr. Grinch, I mean Mike from Four Pillars suggests to not give any Christmas gifts at all!

Happy Holidays!

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Four Pillars December 16, 2008, 8:35 am

    Lol – thanks for the link.

    Grinch is right! Of course once my kids get a bit older I’m sure I’ll be changing my tune quick enough! :)


  • Avatar nobleea December 16, 2008, 12:19 pm

    I know the LED lights use less electricity and last longer, but I just can’t stand the look of them. The light they give off is far too ‘cold’ and ‘technical’, if that makes any sense.

    Another good way to save during xmas requires a bit of planning. Buy your decorations, wrapping paper, lights boxing day or afterwards for next year. They’re 50-80% off.

  • Avatar Pete December 16, 2008, 12:21 pm

    thanks for the link! I didn’t realize that Lynnae had a 50 frugal Christmas ideas post as well! Thanks for the great links to read as well!

  • Avatar Sarlock December 16, 2008, 1:04 pm

    We put LEDs on our Christmas tree this year and I really like the look, not to mention that I am less concerned about hot light bulbs adorning my tree too (LEDs burn quite cool).
    Our family no longer exchanges gifts between the adults, we just give to the kids and we have a cap of about $20 per kid (there are 3 children in this generation so far) though the grandparents typically shoot well over this number! Not trading gifts as adults saves a lot of money… not to mention it cuts down on the number of useless gifts that just sit unused in a closet for 10 years.

  • Avatar Aman December 16, 2008, 2:45 pm

    Excellent tips, one tip that I posted on my site ( http://bullsbattlebears.com/?p=194 ) was about Christmas Trees. With the quality of “fake” trees out there getting better. Its much cheaper to get one these days.

    There are so many that look and feel like the real deal and you are able to re-use it over and over. This can save a bundle in time, energy (gas), money to purchase a real tree and you are helping the environment which is part of being frugal in it self.

  • Avatar nobleea December 16, 2008, 5:03 pm


    I’ve yet to see a conclusive report/study that proves that fake trees are better for the environment than real trees. They certainly save time, and probably money over a long enough time period. But not sure about gas or being better for the environment. In many municipalities, real trees are recycled and turned in to mulch/chips for the various parks and pathways.

  • Avatar Craig December 16, 2008, 5:05 pm

    Re-gifting is a great idea but it only works if you have already received something. Otherwise the timing would be off and you would have to wait with it. Another tip may be to buy in bulk. If you get the same gift for a few people, you may be able to save some money if you buy it all together.

  • Avatar Patrick December 16, 2008, 11:31 pm

    I think regifting is fine as long as you give the person something that they will appreciate and is in good condition (and as long as they don’t mind). I like LEDs because they are much more efficient and burn cooler than incandescent lights… but I unsderstand why some people don’t like them. Thanks for the mention! :)

  • Avatar lcowan December 17, 2008, 1:41 pm

    I agree with Craig –I love the concept of re-gifting but I don’t have anything to re-gift. This year I did all of my holiday shopping online – I don’t know why I’ve never done it before, its great. Most of the stores right now have free shipping and wrap! Actually there is a fabulous new site that you must check out called iStorez. They have all of the latest sales and deals from all of the major retailers. Here’s a link to the site http://www.istorez.com/

  • Avatar Craig December 17, 2008, 1:48 pm

    Thanks Icowan. I’m like you, have done more shopping online and will continue to. Thanks for the link.

  • Avatar Bill M December 18, 2008, 1:19 am

    Build baskets of chocolate and other goodies, they look nice, and you save a bunch of money.

  • Avatar Gregg Sims December 18, 2008, 4:37 am

    From the title I was going to say that this list must have taken ages to put together ;)

    For the points you’ve added here, number 2 is definitely my favourite. It adds a little mystery to the now very-commercialised Christmas’ we have.

  • Avatar Dividend Growth Investor December 18, 2008, 1:01 pm

    Lol, I am thinking of sending cards to people saying something like: ” A donation from your name has been made to the New York Ballet Institute”..

  • Avatar Lynnae December 18, 2008, 11:53 pm

    Thanks for the mention! I personally love tip #4! It’s so much better to receive something personal, than some coffee gift box from Target.

    Thanks for the mention!

  • Avatar MoneyNing December 22, 2008, 6:03 pm

    Doh everyone saw this post on the 18th except me! Thank you so much for the link! :)

    With regards to the tip about LED lights, I always wondered what the electrical bills of the people that setup beautiful lights like the one shown on the picture will be.

  • Avatar Meredith January 12, 2009, 5:24 am

    I was so fed up paying the high electric bills, I decided to try out LED lights. I bought the LED lights to replace my old bulbs – CFL and incandescent – and guess what – my electric bills did drop a lot!

  • Avatar Pett April 15, 2009, 2:11 am

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg


  • Avatar Debt Concolidation Saskatoon August 28, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Great tips for the holiday season. People can also benefit from shopping online. It helps the unnecessary pile up of gifts you don’t really need but do end up buying because they are right in front of you. Having a set list of gifts to buy is a must during the holiday season. Thanks for sharing the additional links as well.

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