The end of the year is filled with delightful holidays. Everyone gets excited about traveling, celebrating, getting and receiving gifts…good times all around!

But the holiday season sales have their own series of pitfalls if you’re not careful. No one wants to start the new year on the red!

By following a few basic tips, you can save A LOT and enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.

1. Set a spending limit before the budget

Always set a spending limit!
Always set a spending limit! Source: Scott Alan Turner

The best thing you can do for your budget is defining a spending limit. Like, right now.

People often think writing down everything you want to buy and knowing how much it will all cost equals a good budget. Writing down costs doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a spending limit — it’s the only way you can effectively know how much is too much.

Keep in mind the holidays aren’t just about gifts: there’s also food, traveling, gas, increase in energy bill (from decoration lights), the Christmas tree, donations…write all that stuff down and have something saved for emergencies.

2. Make a list

Make a list to keep focused!
Make a list to keep focused! Source: Jones Design Company

Seriously, you can’t underestimate the usefulness of a gift list. It will keep you focused and straight to the point, preventing Christmas shopping from turning into chaos. So really, make a list.

You can also use any of these list-making apps to help you stay organized:

3. Holiday sales are exciting, but be careful!

Holiday sales are great but be careful!
Holiday sales are great but be careful! Source: RetailMeNot

Every website and department store in the world wants a portion of your hard-earned cash during holiday season — and the worst part is that you want to give it to them.

How could we resist? All those shiny ads, 20% off, 50% off, just for today, yada, yada, yada…

Truth is, you can get a lot of awesome discounts right about now, but don’t let these same discounts fool you into purchasing more than you can pay for.

Look out for price matching: many stores offer the same price as other stores if you find the same product for a lower price. Check the rules for each store and you may save by getting everything (or most) of what you need in one place.

4. Purchase online, but look for free shipping

Purchase online but always free shipping!
Purchase online but always free shipping! Source: Net4Tech

More often than not you’ll find better prices online than on physical stores, but mind the shipping cost — always look for free shipping.

Getting a handful of products online and paying for shipping usually makes the total higher than just going to a store for the same product.

Be on the lookout for coupons. Websites frequently give out discount coupons if you subscribe to their newsletter or if you leave stuff on the shopping cart but don’t finish the purchase.

5. Don’t leave it for the last minute

The best time for shopping is now!
The best time for shopping is now! Source: Ridge Times

Leaving holiday shopping for the last minute is pretty much the WORST thing you can possibly do if you’re trying to save.

By shopping last minute, you:

  • Will face a crowd of equally desperate customers who suffered the same fate.
  • Won’t have the same options and prices.
  • Will probably have to settle for any gift of any price, given the rush, and won’t be able to pick something satisfying.

So if you’re planning on Christmas shopping, start now. Like, right now.

OK, you can finish the article first — we’ve still got some important tips here!

6. Gifts don’t need to be super expensive to be special

Take it easy on the gifts.
Take it easy on the gifts. Source: Pexels

This should go without saying, but it’s true — the idea of measuring how much you love/care for someone with how expensive a gift is purely subjective. It’s all in your head.

Instead of going straight for that top-shelf, instead try finding something cheaper, but still awesome.

For example: last Christmas I wanted to give my father The Godfather Blu-ray Collection. The price was salty, but it was for my dad. I wasn’t going cheap for my dad! Except I was already struggling to buy gifts and that was supposed to be the second of a day I intended to get seven more.

Conclusion: I got him The Dark Knight graphic novel by Frank Miller. He had been telling me he wanted it for the longest time and he loved it. And it was five times cheaper than my first choice.

7. Save on holiday lights

Be careful with holiday lights!
Be careful with holiday lights! Source: DIY for Teens

Christmas decorations are awesome — bright, colourful, and vibrant. Everybody loves them! And so you should, but choosing your light setup cleverly will save you some good money on the next energy bill.

Our recommendations are simple:

  • Choose a light setup that’s pretty, but economical — you want something that says “Christmas spirit is here”, not “I’m trying to signal someone in space.”
  • Only leave them on during certain hours, and turn them off when not needed.

8. Make your own decorations

Time to DIY some decorations!
Time to DIY some decorations! Source: Elementary Art Fun

Christmas decorations are everywhere by now and it’s easy to get carried away with them.

A simple trick for saving on decorations is making your own — there are tons of tutorials for beautiful crafts you can DIY for next to nothing. They’re beautiful, practical, custom, and won’t break the bank. Here are some ideas to get you started:

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Keep on reading:

13 Hosting Essentials To Go Through the Holiday Season
10 Amazing Candy Cane Crafts To Make Your Christmas Special
10 Gorgeous DIY Wreaths To Welcome The Holiday Spirit
Free Christmas Printables for DIY Gifts and Decor

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