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Creative Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

During the holidays, most people want to express their love by giving gifts and celebrate by eating special food! But if the budget is tight, this can put a damper on the fun. The good news is that it doesn't have to. There are many low budget gifts and activities available to still enjoy this special season.

In the end, what makes the holidays so special isn’t the amount of money you spend or the number of gifts wrapped under the tree. It’s about spending time with your loved ones, making memories and showing them how much you care.

With that in mind, here a few creative ways to make those special memories while still saving money and enjoying the holiday traditions.

Visits with Santa: If your in-person photoshoot with Santa is a no-go this year, consider giving your little ones a chance to meet the big guy in red via Zoom from the safety and comfort of your home. This year, Sam’s Club is offering club members free Zoom sessions with Santa on their platform My Santa Session. You will get a free digital photo and video as part of your 5-minute visit but can purchase prints to get more time with Santa.

Gift Exchanges: If you have a large extended family, a big friend group or several close coworkers, instead of purchasing gifts for each, consider drawing names for Secret Santa or hosting a White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Secret Santa:

o Have participants write down their likes and dislikes, favorite foods and other


o Set a budget for each gift

o Plan a fun Secret Santa reveal

White Elephant:

o Pick a theme and a set of rules

o Set a budget for each gift (To do this for free, tell everyone to bring an item

from home that they no longer want but think others will want. These can be

humorous gifts as well.)

o For an extra laugh, wrap your gift in a box that once contained a different

item not suitable for a gift exchange (like a cereal box or baby wipes)

Before you start planning these events, decide on the type of gathering you are comfortable with – a small gathering with those who agree to quarantine in advance, an in-person event with masks or a gift drop-off with a Zoom meeting later in the day.

Virtual Gifts: Amongst other things, 2020 will be remembered as the year that everything went virtual and gifts are no exception. However, virtual gifts can leave quite an impact without breaking the bank.

  • E-Gift Cards: The savings site offers discounts and cashback on digital gift cards. You can also purchase gift cards from Sam’s Club and/or Costco at a discount. Remember to shop local. Ask your favorite restaurant or shop if they offer e-Gift Card options.

  • Subscription Box: We’ve all been at home A LOT these days. Receiving a package in the mail might just be the highlight of someone’s day! Give the gift of a monthly subscription box. When purchasing, browse the gift options available so you can determine how many boxes you’d like the recipient to receive. With different payment options available, this is a budget-friendly gift idea. Find holiday discounts on subscription boxes here:

  • Digital Subscriptions: Another stay-safe, stay-home friendly gift option – give your loved ones access to binge-worthy television. Check out Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, or your favorite streaming platform for information on how to give the gift of good TV in a timeframe that works with your budget. And don’t forget the book lover in your life – Audible also has budget-friendly gift options.

DIY Gifts: DIY gifts are perhaps the most thoughtful gifts under the tree, and oftentimes they are also the most budget-friendly. Here are a few DIY gifts perfect for teachers, co-workers and neighbors:

Christmas Parties/Holiday Celebrations: It may not be possible for you to gather with all your loved ones for the holidays like in years past, but it’s still possible to host a celebration virtually via Zoom or Facetime. To make your get-together a little more personal, drop off a bottle of wine or homemade dish or dessert on your guests’ front porch beforehand that you can all enjoy “together” virtually. If your guests aren’t local, share a recipe that you can all make and eat/drink together. Just by doing the party virtually, you’ll save the money that you would usually spend on party decorations and a large meal while still connecting with loved ones.

Discount Shopping: There are so many sales, clearances and offers online that it can be hard to know where to start looking for a good deal. These two websites, and categorize gifts by dollar amount and category, making the search a bit easier.

Here are a few more tips to help you save:

  • Create a holiday budget and stick to it

  • Monitor your spending by writing it down or recording it in a gift app

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to shop

  • Research sales

  • Avoid impulse buys

  • Use your credit card rewards

We hope you found these tips helpful and have a wonderful holiday season!

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