5 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

by Sean Bryant on October 9, 2012

The majority of world celebrates Christmas, either paying respect to the religious holiday or participating in the more commercialized version of the event. Wherever you may fall on the spectrum, one thing remains the same. You can end up spending a lot of money buying gifts!

It might be better to give than to receive, but when you’re giving so much that you’re receiving headaches from the expenses, you know it’s time to make a change. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to save money on Christmas shopping this year, and we’ll cover five of them below.

Top 5 Money-Saving Christmas Shopping Tips

Find Coupons

The best way to save money, especially if you’re an online shopper, is to find a great coupon to use while shopping. You can do this by checking out coupon sites online. These sites have coupons that will work on top of the stores’ deals, meaning you can save even more on the gifts you want to get.

Don’t Wait Around

Instead of waiting for Black Friday or the middle of December to shop, start your Christmas shopping in the summertime. It might seem a little odd, but if you start as early as possible, you’ll be able to stockpile different gifts for great prices. You can even start for 2013’s Christmas a few weeks after 2012’s, when the overstocked merchandise is marked down considerably.

Be Creative

Creativity can help you save a lot on your shopping expenses. Think about homemade gifts or presents that are a little off the wall. Not everything is clothing, jewelry, gift cards and electronics. You can get your creative juices flowing and ultimately find something that people will love for little money.

Use Layaway

Some of the top department stores out there have layaway plans. While this isn’t technically saving you any money off of the ticket price, it is saving you a lot of money on your budget. You can start early and put down a little every week or every other week, easily fitting great presents into your current overhead.

Comparison Shop

First up, start with the big-name stores like Macy’s, Target, etc, and check out the merchandise you want, weighing one store against the other. Don’t worry; you won’t have to burn gas money here. All these big-name department stores have websites, so you can comparison shop quickly and effectively. Make sure to also compare the coupon vouchers (refer back to tip #1) to see which store you can save the most money with. These Target discount coupons and Macy’s promo codes are a great place to grab a bargain.

Although most of us would like to believe in our heart of hearts that money isn’t an object, the sad truth is that Christmas is a huge expense. With the tips above, you should be able to save money this holiday season while still finding great gifts for your loved ones.

What money saving tips can you add to help save money on Holiday shopping?

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and his wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and dog Charlie.
  • AverageJoe

    Man! I don’t want to think about Christmas yet! I feel like the holiday 2011 season just ended. Great tips. You’re right: waiting till the holiday “season” just limits your options and raises the chances you’ll overpay for gifts.

    • I am right there with you. I can’t believe we’re already starting to talk about Christmas.

  • Creativity is the best way to give something personal and meaningful, that will probably be remembered years after. Can you believe my mum still has a sewing kit I made in 1st grade with a yogurt pot!? But she saws often and her needles are always stored in my yogurt! Even if I have to pay for a gift, I try to give something that the person will use on a regular basis, not a polite “sorry-didn’t-know-what-to-get-you-and-shopped-last-minute” gift.

    • Homemade gifts are the best especially when they come from young kids. They have nothing but love and meaning behind them.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Great tips. I am actually writing a very similar post for next week. 🙂 I think all are key, while my wife are big on not waiting around. I just read an article today that argued that Black Friday deals really aren’t very good as you can often find similar deals throughout the year. I don’t know if I entirely believe that, but all the more reason to have a watchful eye on prices. My wife and I shop throughout the year and buy a couple of final things online on Black Friday.

    • I agree. I think Black Friday has just become a great marketing gimmick for retailers. Major props to them though because it works.

  • Veronica @ Pelican on Money

    Sean, thanks for sharing these tips. I typically give the gift of love. Both figuratively and literally.

  • My tip to add is to never buy anything until you’ve shopped the price. If you think it’s an amazing deal and there’s only one left and you’re there and the kids are cranky…I don’t care! Always shop the price! If you have a smart phone, there are tons of free apps for price checking.

    • This is a great point. If you do have a smartphone, you have no excuse not to compare prices. All you have to do is take a picture of the barcode. A whopping 10 seconds to makes sure you are getting the best deal. It’s a no-brainer.

  • We draw names now for Christmas and only have 2 gifts to buy so it’s no biggie although we still try to get the good deals. We shop all year long because we draw names every New Years so we already know who are shopping for all year. We have used coupons, discount cards, layaway you name it. Every penny counts! MR.CBB

  • Good tips. Since we exchange presents with essentially all our relatives, we need to find as many ways as possible to keep our spending down.

  • frugalportland

    this is why I almost exclusively make gifts!

  • Great tips! So many people overspend at Christmas only to suffer when January comes around.

  • holly

    Good tips. I give cash to nieces and nephews so that I don’t overspend. I typically give my kids a few “used” toys that look new. They are young- they have no idea! =)

  • Online shopping saved my budget last year! Free shipping is a god send!

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