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How I (try to) Save Money During Christmas

Christmas is coming up and the shopping season has kicked off in full force.  As the theme of the Canadian Tour of Personal Finance Blogs is saving during Christmas, this post is about how I save money during the Christmas shopping/holiday season.

What are some ways to save money during Christmas?

  • Set a budget of how much you are willing to spend on Christmas gifts and stick to it.  You'll be surprised how much you can control your spending by simply setting a goal.
  • Instead of buying an extravagant gift for your spouse, how about going in on a gift for the house instead that will benefit you both?
  • If you have kids, buy them one item from their letter to Santa instead of every item.  Spoiled kids don't make happier kids. 
  • If you have a lot of siblings/friends, instead of buying gifts for all of them, why not get together and have a secret Santa type system.  That way, you'll only have to buy a gift for 1 sibling/friend instead of many.  Also, set an agreed upon price limit to the gift.
  • If you have a crafty/artistic/baker side, how about making a gift instead of buying one?  It may take a bit more time, but the gift will mean a lot more.
  • Instead of buying a $40 real tree every year, try a quality plastic tree for $80-100 and keep it for as long as you can.  Or even better, go out and cut down your own tree.
  • If you decorate your house with Christmas lights, use LED lights to reduce your light bill.

Those are some ways that I save money during Christmas.  Do you have anything to add?

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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.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Avatar The Financial Blogger November 27, 2007, 9:22 am

    Hey FT,
    I wrote a similar post 2 weeks ago:

    How Can I join the tour?

    BTW, I agree with you in regards to gifts made to kids, there is no point of spoiling them as a parent (Their grandparents will do the job fine!)

  • Avatar FrugalTrader November 27, 2007, 10:00 am

    Hey FB,

    I’m not sure if it’s too late for this tour, however, there’s another one coming up. Click on the link in the article, and contact Monty.


  • Avatar Meg November 27, 2007, 11:25 am

    hhrrmmmm, a few weeks ago we were to put up the lights outside and found the old lights were malfunctioning to a point of annoying. We planned to go to the store, shell out for new LED lights…but once we got there I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $35 more for the equivalent LED strings, I do already have all the lights on a timer (about 5hrs a day once we start putting them on) and I just don’t like the LEDs as much as the traditional lights.

    I’ve switched over all the indoor light bulbs and it’s taking a while to get used to, but have to admit I’ll be a late adopter for christmas lights.

  • Avatar FourPillars November 27, 2007, 11:27 am

    Funny – I was thinking about doing a Cdn tour stop this past fall – but I never got off the couch and did it! :)

    You snooze, u luze!

    Xmas tip – Don’t give/receive any gifts at all (except the kids). It’s taken me a decade to get my family to completely buy into this philosophy but it’s a good one. It’s especially useful if relatives are travelling to get together – gifts can be too much sometimes (and unnecessary).


  • Avatar canadian dollars November 27, 2007, 12:15 pm

    Here’s a tip. Now that all my siblings and I have all grown up, we all agree not to buy each other presents for Christmas. Instead a simple greeting card will suffice. Why? We all believe in not being slaves to Christmas. However for gifts for my nieces and nephews and parents, I will still purchase simple gifts since they really like that sort of stuff.

  • Avatar Jonathan November 27, 2007, 11:01 pm

    We use to buy our kids several presents each. It’s amazing when we just bought them one for the tree and a stocking gift how much more they enjoyed it.

    Also, we’re trying to get the family focus off lots of presents and more on volunteering during the holidays. Volunteering at the hospital on Christmas day was one of the best Christmas’s I ever had.

  • Avatar Monty Loree November 27, 2007, 11:16 pm

    Hey FrugalTrader,
    Thanks for participating in this Tour!
    I like the post. And the idea about making gifts and goodies for family and friends. It’s always way more fun when you add the personal touch. And it saves money!

    Thanks again.

  • Avatar Rod Payne November 28, 2007, 5:11 pm

    1) I picked up a pile of useful Xmas supplies at yard sales in the summer. IIRC, we found 3 or 4 boxes of white/silver/gold balls and a couple hundred LED lights in unopened packages. Total cost less than $10. It isn’t worth the time to go out specifically looking for Xmas things, but if they are there, we’re picking them up.

    2) Accumulate AirMiles, then use them to get gift cards. I get to give out $50 gift cards for roughly 375 AirMiles each. I’m an Airmiles fanatic, so it serves me well.

  • Avatar Mrs. Micah December 4, 2007, 1:49 pm

    My extended family does a 1 gift swap with name drawing and price limits. Means everyone who wants something gets something, means people can afford 1 nice present instead of something cheap for everyone, and means you can opt out without depriving anyone (unless everyone but one person opted out).

  • Avatar Hollie December 4, 2007, 4:37 pm

    Yes there are so many ways to save..

    This year my sis and I are only doing kid gifts and photos..who really needs another pair of pjs.

    As well for teacher gifts we are going handmade this year..each teacher is getting a canister of snowman soup.

  • Avatar Carl November 4, 2008, 12:51 pm

    Good suggestions, Frugal, I especially like the first one. What do you suppose would happen if everybody just paid cash this holiday season?

  • Avatar Ian Miller November 17, 2010, 12:57 am

    Set a budget and keep to it! Shop in advance if possible.

  • Avatar Bianca December 21, 2010, 12:17 pm

    I use free Christmas e-cards and print-at-home cards. They’re a great way to save money during the holidays. They’re also quick and modern.

    http://123greetings.com has all sorts of ecards for free.

    If you’d rather mail your cards, but want to print them on your home printer, another site is:


    They have free downloadable quarter-fold and half-fold printable cards as well as e-cards. Not a ton of designs, but what they have is very classy. I used their beautiful “red bow” half-fold card this year.

    Merry Christmas and keep saving!

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