10 ways to save money during the holidays and still have the best time

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Worried about holiday expenses? You don’t need to be in debt to have fun. Read the tips below to save but still enjoy yourself.

  1. Set a budget

    List all your expenses and estimate how much you need. Do your best to spend below your budget. Make your budget realistic. Make a small allowance for extra expenses.

  2. See where you can save

    • Check monthly bills – Do you use your landline? Get it disconnected if you use a mobile phone. Check your mobile phone plan, cable TV subscription and gym membership. Ask for better deals so you can save.
    • Brown bag it – Bring lunch to work. Don’t buy Starbucks or Tim’s coffee every day. Sacrifice some luxuries to save.
    • Sell stuff you don’t need – Check your garage or storage room. Sell things that you are not using anymore. Make sure that they are still in good condition. Use Facebook groups or Kijiji to sell them.
  3. Give gifts wisely

    • Do a Secret Santa. This gift exchange is fun and exciting. You need to buy only one gift.
    • Give homemade gifts. Cook or bake some goodies to give away. People like these gifts because they appreciate your effort in making them.
    • Give gifts of service. Shovel snow for a neighbor, run errands for a friend, or baby-sit for free.
    • Donate money in someone’s name. Pick a good charity close to that person’s heart.
    • Get your kids excited about giving. Let them join a toy drive or donate winter gear (like Koats for kids). Let them help in a church project.
  4. Potluck parties

    A potluck is a practical way to hold a party. Each person invited will bring food. It will be good to ask first if there is someone with food allergies or special diets. Bring food that everyone can enjoy.

  5. Make extra money

    Take a part-time job. There will be many jobs in retail (cashier, stocking clerk, greeters, etc.) call centres and delivery services during the holidays. You can also make crafts that you can sell.

  6. Don’t use your credit card

    Don’t charge holiday expenses on your credit card. It will be harder to keep track of expenses and lose control of your spending. Use cash as much as possible.

  7. No last minute shopping

    Don’t go to the mall a few days before Christmas. It will be easier to overspend.

  8. Wait for Boxing Day

    Don’t give gifts on December 25th. The 26th is Boxing Day in Canada. Most stores offer big discounts on many things. You can buy toys, electronics, clothes and other gifts at cheaper prices.

Things you can do earlier (tips to keep in mind to do next year)

  1. Start a holiday savings account

    Starting saving as early. Use automatic debit. Make sure your money is earning interest.

  2. Book tickets early

    December is the peak season for travelling. Ticket prices are high. Buy plane tickets six months before the holidays. Use your air miles to get a discount. Happy vacation!

Article updated November 22, 2022.
Sources: 6 ways to save for the holidays, Laureen Miles Brunelli, the balance; and 9 best ways to save money during the holiday season, Jacqueline Curtis, Money Crashers. Accessed November 8, 2018.

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