9 Basic Frugal Ways To Save Money During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for a lot of people that means it’s time to spend a lot of money. In the endless onslaught of family and religious obligations, continuous advertising, and frankly, delicious and exciting treats, it’s hard to resist the temptation to spend all your money. But, resist we must! 

Here are nine easy and basic ways to get a handle on your holiday spending before it overwhelms you and leaves you in piles of debt. 

Set a Budget for Gift Spending

First person top view photo of hands unpacking craft paper gift box with blue satin ribbon bow over shiny sequins on isolated pastel blue background with blank space.
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Before you start splurging on gifts, decide how much you’re willing to spend. It keeps you in check and prevents post-holiday budget regret.

Make Homemade Gifts

daughter giving her father a gift.
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Get creative! DIY gifts can be more meaningful and easier on your wallet. It’s the thought that counts, right? You can also gift services or time to people who will appreciate it. Imagine gifting a parent some free babysitting or a teenage relative some free driving lessons. They will love it and you will save some money. 

Utilize Coupons and Discounts

Woman viewing discount coupon on her mobile phone.
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Look for those golden promo codes or take advantage of holiday sales. Download all the coupon apps and scan all the purchases you make.  Saving a few bucks here and there adds up!

Plan Potluck-Style Gatherings

multiethnic large group of friends sitting on cafe table restaurant eating a muffin making faces. diverse people celerating sweet breakfast together enjoying happy holidays.
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Hosting a holiday feast can get pricey. Make it a team effort and have everyone bring a dish. It’s a win-win – less stress for you, and everyone gets to show off their culinary skills. Choose cheap, but filling, foods to serve like chili, soup, or stews. 

Opt For DIY Decorations

Happy kids doing arts and crafts together at their desk.
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 Forget the fancy store-bought decor. Get crafty and make your own ornaments and wreaths. It adds a personal touch and saves you money. If you have kids, then have them get in the action and create their own decorations to hang. It may not be as “glossy” as some of the neighbors but it will create beautiful memories for your kids. 

Consider a Gift Exchange or Secret Santa

gifts in a beautiful and elegant package on the wooden table. red and turquoise colors. polka dots. top view
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Why stress about buying for everyone? Suggest a gift exchange or Secret Santa with your family or friends. It’s fun and eases the financial load for everyone which will surely be appreciated. 

Shop Secondhand or Thrift Stores

Closeup on christmas shopping bags in hand of smiling young woman.
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Thrifting isn’t just cool; it’s budget-friendly. You can find unique, affordable gifts and save the environment while you are at it. Buying sustainably is a great way to find really cool gifts while saving money and being eco-conscious at the same time. Win-Win!

Limit Travel Expenses

Happy family on a road trip in their car, rear passenger POV.
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If you’re visiting family, plan your travels strategically. Look for deals on flights or consider a road trip. Saving on travel means more cash for presents or, even better, for your savings account. 

Explore Free or Low-Cost Holiday Activities

Girl tying shoelaces on ice skates before skating on the ice rink, hands in red knitted gloves. View from top.
Image Credit: Kiryl Lis/Shutterstock,

The best things in life are often free, right? Look for local holiday events or activities that won’t drain your wallet. It’s about making memories, not breaking the bank.

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.