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How to Save Money for Christmas in 2023

Written by Jessica Steer
Christmas can be one of the most expensive times of the year. From gifts to large dinners to travel expenses, the costs just seem to pile up and take a hit on your bank account. However, if you’re prepared for all the money you need to spend, they can hurt a little less. 
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    One of the best ways to prepare for these costs is by saving money throughout the year. Sometimes, that isn’t always enough, though. So, are there ways to save money during the holiday season? Well, yes, there are. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get the most out of your money when you buy gifts, decorations or other Christmas essentials. 

    Saving Money on Christmas Gifts

    Gift buying can be one of the most costly parts of Christmas, but they don’t have to be.

    Make a List and have a Budget

    One of the best ways to save money is to outline a list and have a budget before you even go shopping. Going through flyers and websites before you even leave the house can narrow down where you intend to shop and stop you from overspending. It can also find you the best deals on expensive gifts when gift-giving this holiday season.

    Start Early

    Another way to save on buying gifts is to start early. Make a list of all of the gifts you intend to purchase, and then keep an eye out for those items every week. You can find the best deals and avoid window shopping. If you’re unsure how to do this, a great option is to use a flyer app. Apps such as Flipp and Reebee show you your local flyers, and you’re able to search for specific items. You can even add your standard flyers to your favourites folder, and the app sends you alerts on sales for any of your commonly searched items. 

    Shop Online

    If you can’t find the expensive gifts you’re looking for in flyers, you can always look into online shopping. Not only will you be able to find the exact amount of the gift when you look online, but often, there are coupon codes you can use to save extra money. You can even look for second-hand gifts to save money on Christmas. 

    Homemade Gifts

    When giving gifts to family members and friends, a homemade gift is also a great option. Family photos, decor, cookies or even family experiences are great ways to save money while giving a gift and enjoying the festive period. Expensive physical items aren’t the only way to give at Christmas; sometimes, spending time together on a new adventure is better. You can also give a thoughtful card (when to send Christmas cards(to family and friends instead of a store-bought one.

    Saving Money on Christmas Dinner

    When it comes to Christmas dinner, there are plenty of different ways that you can save money. Before you do anything, though, the best place to start is by making a plan. Decide what you’re going to cook and figure out how many you’re going to cook for. Just because there are many different traditional dinners, that doesn’t mean you have to make them. There are plenty of alternatives to traditional dishes that are just a fraction of the cost. 

    Check Flyers

    Once you’ve planned what you intend to have for dinner, you should start looking at flyers. Different stores in your area offer different sales, so by searching before you leave, you’re able to figure out where the best deals are. It’s also a good idea to discover if the store you’re shopping at price matches. If they do, you can find all the items you’re looking for with better prices and show the flyer at the till (screenshot or physical flyer). The difference for each item will then be taken off when you go to pay. Most stores in Canada allow you to price-match four items for each price. For example, if butter is on sale at one store but not the other, you can price-match up to 4 butter and still price-match other items. 

    Use Coupons

    Did you know that, along with price matching, you can use coupons? Well, these are a great way to save some money. You may not think a dollar here, or there makes a large difference, but when you start using coupons for multiple items, you can save a significant amount of money and get the items you’re looking for at a great price. 

    While coupons aren’t found in newspapers anymore, there are plenty of places where you can find them. The first place is at your local grocery store. While not all stores do this, Loblaws stores do. They can be found in the aisle, but you have to keep an eye out; they’re easy to miss. They’re usually just below eye height and found in a different aisle from the item they discount. While you may not need them right away, it’s a good idea to hang onto them; just make sure you take note of the expiry date. 

    Another place to find coupons is online. Many brands offer manufacturer coupons off their website that you can print off or get mailed to you. These coupons change often, so make sure to check them when you can. It’s also important to verify how many coupons you can have in total. It will tell you on the site, though. If you’re looking to find coupons for your favourite brands, then some great places to look are:

    You can even find product coupons from some of your favourites directly on their website. If you use these coupons along with sales and price matching, then you’re able to get the most for your money. 

    Use Cashback Apps

    Along with coupons, there are cash-back apps that allow you to upload your receipt and claim cashback offers. Once you’ve hit a certain amount of these apps, you can then cash out your funds and receive a cheque. While this may not save you a ton upfront, you’re able to save up some money for your gifts or to use at a later date. Some notable cashback apps in Canada are:

    These cashback apps often let you save money on other items as well, such as board games, stocking stuffers, and other holiday musts. You can even get coupon codes to save money upfront. 

    Saving Money on Christmas Decorations

    There are a few different ways you can save money on holiday decorations. Here are some of the most popular ones:

    • Shopping at thrift stores
    • Buying Christmas gifts second-hand
    • Reusing wrapping paper
    • Making Christmas cards
    • Making your own decorations
    • Buying after the Christmas season
    • Shopping at the dollar store

    While decorating your home is one of the best ways to start celebrating the Christmas season, it can also be costly, so any of the ideas above can help you avoid that. Making your own decorations can be quite fun and cost-effective, but also a good activity for the whole family to create memories. 

    Even though there are plenty of different decorations you can make, there are still some that you may just want to purchase. You can find these at thrift stores or online marketplaces, or you can be really prepared and purchase them right after the holidays for the next year. 

    With most stores, as soon as the holidays are over, all of their decorations go on clearance to make room for the next season. This makes it a great time to stock up.

    Reasonable Budgets for Christmas

    Creating a reasonable budget is going to look a little different for everyone, depending on what their financial situation is. That said, the general rule is 1% of your annual income. So how much is that exactly? Well, if your annual income is $50,000 per year, then the reasonable budget would be $500 for all of your gifts combined. 

    Saving Money Weekly

    During the holiday season, everyone’s budget for buying presents is going to be different. That said, it’s never too early to start saving. Even saving as little as $20 per week can help you get the funds you need for Christmas gifts. Depending on how much you intend to spend, $20 per week isn’t much, but it can get you $1,120 in just one year of saving. This can make the holiday season much more bearable, financially speaking. 

    How to Spend the Least Amount of Money at Christmas

    The best way to spend the least amount of money throughout the holidays is to be prepared. The more last minute you leave things, the more expensive they become. Set a budget and a list and stick to it. This will keep your finances balanced while accomplishing your goal of finding the perfect Christmas presents for less. You can also set alerts for online shopping so you can find the best deals. 

    Budget per Child for Christmas

    When it comes to determining how much money you should spend per child for Christmas, there are a lot of wavering options out there. Some say you should spend as much as $220 per child, whereas others feel that $100 is more than enough. At the end of the day, though, the answer comes down to what you can afford. 

    The best way to determine what your Christmas spending money per child should be is to calculate your total budget against how many gifts you need to buy. You should then take a look at your list and determine what the relative cost per child will be. You can then decide which gifts should be bought based on your overall budget. Not only does this help you stay within budget, but it allows you to determine what gifts each child will get before you even start your Christmas shopping. 

    Saving Money for Christmas This Year

    While Christmas is only a couple weeks away, it’s never too late to start saving money. It’s also a good idea to start shopping with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales just starting up. This gives you time to balance your budget, determine how much you can afford, and shop within those parameters. 

    What you could also do is get a side hustle to earn money. Things like dog walking, snow shovelling, or other odd jobs can help you obtain the extra cash you need for Christmas presents. Lawn mowing isn’t an option in the winter, but it is something you can consider for summer and save more money for next year. 

    Overall Ways to Save Money

    Saving money during the holiday season, or any time of the year for that matter, all comes down to being prepared. The more last-minute things that come up, the more expensive they become. Here’s a look at all of the ways you can plan ahead and save money on your holiday spending during the holiday season.

    • Shop with cash
    • Make a list
    • Make homemade gifts
    • Do your research
    • Create a gift budget
    • Opt for Secret Santa
    • Start early
    • Use coupons
    • Shop flyers
    • Do some shopping second-hand
    • Shop online
    • Make your own gift tags
    • Give family gifts
    • Reuse wrapping paper when wrapping gifts
    • Have a one-gift limit per person
    • Use decorations from the past year

    Final Thoughts

    It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year, and a lot of that has to do with money. There are gifts to buy, family to entertain, and so many other costs. This is why making a plan and creating a budget is so important. By just taking those few extra steps to calculate what you can afford, and do the research before you buy, can save you hundreds of dollars in food, gift and decoration costs. Before you get too overwhelmed by the holidays, take a deep breath and make a plan. You may be able to spend way less than you initially thought. 

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