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The 10 Best Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

The 10 Best Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

Christmas is right around the corner, and you had better be prepared. Making sure that you have what you need for everyone on your list can be a challenge — and it can also be expensive.

If you want to avoid breaking the bank this holiday season, here are 10 tips to help you save money on Christmas shopping:

1. Stick to a Budget

First off, set a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much you have to spend on your Christmas shopping. Then, make a list of those you need to buy for. If you have a list of what you want to get each person, it will save you time and keep your spending on track.

2. Use Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

Don’t go overboard on stocking stuffers. It’s tempting to buy every little gadget available, but you need to watch out. You might not be keeping track of the little things you buy. This is a great chance to be frugal by shopping for little gifts at the dollar store and including some candies, nuts and mandarin oranges. Also, make sure you keep to your budget when it comes to stocking stuffers.

3. Set Up a Gift Exchange

You can cut down on shopping for extended family by setting up a gift exchange. As your siblings grow up, get married and have children, your Christmas shopping list gets longer. It can get out of hand unless you change the way you do things. Draw names and each person will only buy for the one person whose name they drew. Everyone gets a gift and you all save possibly hundreds of dollars. It’s a winning situation, and can be a lot of fun.

4. Shop the Early Sales

One of the best things you can do when it comes to the way you save money on Christmas shopping is to look for sales. Shop early if a decent sale comes along. Not only will this save you money, but it can save you the hassle of crowds as Christmas gets closer.

5. Shop Online

Once December gets advanced enough, the traffic and the crowds become unbearable. Another way to avoid crowds and save money is to shop online. You can often find products cheaper than you do in the store, and you don’t have to battle with others. However, you do need to keep an eye on shipping costs to ensure you really are getting a deal. Check for promo codes and sites that offer free shipping on holiday purchases (Amazon has holiday sales and free shipping). Also, don’t forget that you need to order your items in plenty of time so that they arrive by Christmas.

6. Save on Shipping by Ordering Early

To save money on shipping, shop soon to give you time to use many sites’ free shipping options. The closer to Christmas, the more you’ll need to pay for priority or express shipping. This is also the case when you are sending presents to friends and family. If you have to pay for Express or Overnight shipping to get your gifts on time, you’ll pay so much more money.

7. Stay Away from Extended Warranties

During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s hard to make decisions, and easy to say yes to whatever someone suggests. However, you need to be on your toes at check-out if you want to save money. Avoid extended warranties on your purchases. If an item is defective, it’s likely to have issues within the standard warranty’s time frame. Don’t spend extra money for coverage you probably won’t need.

8. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

There are plenty of places to buy discounted gift cards. If you aren’t sure what to get, look for an experience. Discounted gift cards can provide you with a face value that exceeds what you actually pay. This can be a way to look like a hero and save money.

Be careful, though. You might want to skip getting someone a gift card. An estimated 10% of gift cards are never redeemed. Make sure the gift card makes sense for the recipient.

9. Consider a Bonus Gift Card from a Restaurant

Want to save money on your own dining experience? Some restaurants have been enticing people to buy gift cards by including a bonus gift card. You might not save money on your immediate Christmas purchase, but you can save money on a future meal. That can be worthwhile. Additionally, you might be able to use the bonus card as a white elephant gift or a stocking stuffer.

Be careful about the bonus card. While this can be a great deal, check out the bonus card as it may have an expiry date.

10. Keep the Gift Receipts

Finally, make sure that you keep all your receipts in a safe place since items may be broken or clothes might not fit. While some stores will accept returns without a receipt, it will be at whatever their lowest price has been on that item, so you might not get full value for it.

You will also need your receipt if you want to make a claim using your credit card. Many credit cards offer extended warranties and protection against theft or returns. If the store won’t take it back, you might be able to get money through your credit card perks — but you’ll need the receipt.

With the right planning and a little savvy, you can save money on Christmas shopping every year and get the right gift for each person on your list.


  1. Jeff

    Good list of ways to save. I like number 3 the gift exchange. Here’s something my family does for Christmas-

    There are way too many people in the family to buy presents for, so we do a “White Elephant.” Each adult brings one $15 gift to the party. All the gifts are wrapped and placed in the middle of the room. Numbers are drawn from a hat to establish the order of the draft. Number 1 goes first and so on. This is a very fun and entertaining way to give gifts.

  2. Financial Samurai

    Tom, just curious if you have a budget for Christmas this year, and if so, what is it?

    • Tom Drake

      FS, For immediate family we spend $50, can’t fairly change that since they also spend $50 on us. The wife and I have spent over $500 on each other in the past, this year we’re going to do $50 as well.

  3. Cap

    Solid tips. Personally, I save a butt-load by having very little friends (haha) and limit the gift buying to my mom only. But in all seriousness, the warranty is a good tip.. during holiday seasons, the sales guys will work extra hard to push warranties on gift buyers so their special someone can have that extra “peace of mind.” Meh to that.

  4. Perry Peck

    In these troubled times any gift that saves money is very welcome especially the ones that show love for the person and the soul things that don’t cost a thing things that you make.

  5. Anne from

    Some very good tips there. Interesting that 10% of gift certificates are never redeemed! I tend to give online gift certificates because that means no shipping costs (and also because I’m a last minute shopper 😉 )

  6. James

    Good comments. A comment/question I would make would be what sorts of gifts can you give that might actually increase someones bottom line?

    Most of what people get, at least here in the states, is mostly knic-nacks or cheap stuff thats going to break down or fall apart.

  7. Stephen

    I think the best way to save money when shopping for Christmas is to use online coupon codes, or printable coupons to get money off your purchases, it doesn’t take long to look for them and they can save you a bundle, you just have to stop looking if you can’t find one after 5 minutes. Thanks for the other tips 🙂

  8. Matt Cover

    Ooh this can be one of the most expensive times for many families. I am a believer of not got overboard at Christmas and establishing an agreement of how much to spend with each family member and friends to ensure the day is happy for all.

  9. JG Larvan @AskTaxGuru

    Most of the time, I go overboard with Christmas gifts. It’s a different feeling when you’re planning from when you’re already at the store. Also, before making any online purchases, check if the site is legit based from reviews. Do a random online search to see if they’re really well worth it.

  10. Georgia

    Good tips!! I like No 4- Shop early if a decent sale comes along. Not only will this save you money, but it can save you the hassle of crowds in December. Especially fitting with today being Black Friday 😀

  11. S. McLenehan

    Christmas shopping is like grocery shopping. If you don’t make a list, you pick up too much ‘other’ stuff. Budget is also key. Set a limit or you are in trouble. Also, make a pledge to NOT have a Christmas hangover on your credit card! Finally, watch that you don’t shop too soon and then feel like you need to shop again because of all the ads and specials. At Christmas time, less is more.

  12. Susan J

    Budgeting for Christmas should begin in January. I physically have a separate savings account for Christmas. That being said we do gift exchange with our 3 kids and spouses. What I find is that most of the budget is on food and drink. We also choose to give gifts to those who can’t give back to us. So many people right in your own corner of the world that need help when we can just go buy what we want and when we want. So debtless Christmas is the way to go! What we do spend on is time! Getting a 24-48 hour period of time with those you love is the best gift overall. 🙂

  13. kejing

    I would also add that if you feel like you don’t know what to get the other person, you can check out a website like and they have articles dedicated to reviewing best gifts under $50, $100, $200. You’re getting a top notch product at the best value. Takes the guessing right out of gift giving!

  14. Tyler @ Oddball Wealth

    Having a Christmas budget is important. I know a lot of people who go into debt just to purchase gifts. Thanks for the great tips!

  15. Nancy

    I gotta say that it’s so refreshing to click on a pinterest post and get actual ways to save money for Christmas. Great Job! I’ll be launching my blog “ Shes Got Cents Now” soon and look forward to reading more of your posts!

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