Holiday Spending: Ways to Save this Season

Save Money This Holiday Season

Holiday spending is expected to increase 4-5% this year. According to the National Retail Foundation,  the average family spends about $800-$900 during the winter holidays. For many families, the extra cost of the holidays is challenging, and causes stress and anxiety.  Do you panic when the holiday season rolls around? Wonder why you’re not enjoying the holidays as much as you used to? A few of these tips will save you money this year and decrease your holiday spending. The aftermath of the holidays won’t be quite as painful.


Planning ahead for holiday spending will benefit you every time.  It will take more effort and time, but carve out an hour or two to do your research on the best deals.  Create a budget for gifts, and set a price limit for each person. Personally, it has helped us to know in November that we will spend X amount of dollars on each niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, etc.   

Shopping last minute will increase your chances of spending more.  Last minute shopping causes stress, impulsivity, and inevitably you won’t find the best deals.  However, events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday at large merchants don’t necessarily provide the best prices between October and January.  Keep an eye on the prices of some of the key items you know you will need to purchase.

Prevent after-shopping guilt by using a list and sticking to it.  List out the purchases you need to make with the prices, as well as the best deals in the area.  If shopping without impulse buying is difficult for you, a good resolution may be online shopping.


1 in 4 families go into debt over the holidays, according to recent statistics from Credit Karma, causing increased stress and conflict. The same study completed by Credit Karma shows the top reasons and ways shoppers overspend during the holidays.

  • Social media
  • Last minute shopping
  • Sales

Those that use cash are less likely to overspend.  Credit card users spend 12-18% more on average. If you use credit cards for rewards points, track your spending.  Treat the credit card like cash, only spending the money you have to immediately pay it off.



For families that budget, more than half of the amount spent during the holiday season goes to gifts (63%) with all other expense categories with much lower percentages, like meals (13%) and travel (11%).  

Put a little extra thought into holiday spending this year and think outside of the box.  If a popular electronic device, like an iPhone, is on your shopping list, try the previous model.  Many electronics are updated so frequently and last year’s model wouldn’t make a difference to most of us, but could make a huge difference in your wallet.  

Give the gift of service or another intangible gift.  Offer to walk a friend’s dog, cook dinner for a family, babysit for no cost.  Gifting your frequent flyer miles is yet another way to give a lovely gift while not spending a large sum of money out of your own pocket.  

If you’re purchasing for a whole family, think about giving an annual family pass to a museum, amusement park, or other attraction they can enjoy together. If you’re budgeting to spend for each person, a family membership is often a less expensive option.

Don’t discount homemade gifts! With Pinterest and other ideas accessible with the click of a button,  you can create homemade gifts that don’t look homemade, but will be treasured for years to come. Mason jars give homemade bath salts, cooking ingredients, and sugars a chic look while still having a homemade touch.  Tie Mason jars with a piece of twine and a brown paper gift tag.


Gift wrap doesn’t have to be expensive to look elegant under the tree.  For $5-$6, purchase a roll of brown packing paper. Scotch brand is durable and the rolls are long.  With one roll, you can wrap average sized gifts for a family of four. Once the package is wrapped with brown, use various twine, ribbon, and even patterned tape for the final touches.  If you want to save even more, skip the gift tags. Write the person’s name directly on the package.

Get kids involved. Have children help decorate packages wrapped with brown paper. Provide them with stickers, paint, sponges, brushes, and more to create their own wrapped creations.



Like gift wrapping, decorating doesn’t have to be a huge expense.  It can, however be quite the budget killer. There are several ways to decorate on a budget, while your home still looks trendy, stylish, and ready for the holidays.

One of my favorite centerpieces is putting together glass containers of various widths and heights and filling with red candy.  Peppermints, red hots, red M&Ms, and Twizzlers are all great candies for these jars. I especially like the peppermints, and then tying the glass jars with a red, silver, or burlap bow.  

Wreaths can be rather expensive, but can be made with little to no crafting experience and for under $15.  Grab a grapevine wreath or wire wreath frame at Dollar Tree or Michaels. Make your own wreath frame by using a pool noodle or piping insulation (found at Home Depot) and taping it into the shape of a circle.  Once you have your wreath frame, use strips of burlap or burlap ribbon to wrap around the frame, covering the entire frame with two layers of burlap. Now, tie a large red bow or other festive colors to the wreath for the holiday season.

With these changes, make a spending plan for the remainder of the holiday season. Start saving money this Black Friday!  

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!  We’re thankful for our community, clients, friends, and family.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.   

About the Author

Prior to selling real estate, Brenda worked in the mortgage industry for over twenty years. She worked for companies such as Freddie Mac and HomeBanc in numerous capacities from underwriter to executive management. Her thorough knowledge of the mortgage industry is an asset in these times of stricter loan qualifications. Brenda's commitment to continual education keeps her on the cutting edge of current market conditions and trends.

Her professional confidence and easy going style comforts clients through this sometimes stressful situation. Brenda is committed to negotiating the absolute best deal for her sellers.