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Money-saving tips and tricks for Christmas

by Jillian CariolaPublished: December 18, 2013Updated: November 27, 2017

Exceeding the household budget during the holidays is inevitable, but there are ways to plan your spending so you pretty much stay within your limit.

Here are a few tips on saving money during the Christmas season Piggy bank Christmas lights

Christmas is a great time to spread holiday cheer through home decoration, gift-giving, and the Noche Buena. It’s understandable; the little elves in us want to make sure we have the best-decorated house on the block, the most thoughtful present, and the best-tasting meal. Besides, Christmas only happens once a year, right? That may be so, but excessive home accents, extravagant gifts, and a spread that would rival a restaurant buffet are also what drive our spending up higher than usual this time of the year. It’s important to know where and when to cut your spending, and here are some money-saving tips you can do.


Home decoration

● It’s common knowledge that electricity bills are much higher nearing December 25 because of all the Christmas lights that families proudly display all over their houses on the weeks leading to the day itself. To keep your power bill from going through the roof during these months, set a certain number of hours for when you’ll only leave your string lights on. For example, you can switch them on at 6 PM and then shut them off at 9 PM to limit your use of electricity.

● Think twice before buying a new Christmas tree or new ornaments. If your tree and decorations are still in great condition, use them and put the money you would’ve spent aside for something else. If you normally get natural decorations like fresh flowers, try looking for plastic ones that look like the real thing that you can use again next year.

Here are a few tips on saving money during the Christmas season DIY homemade Christmas decoration
Photo via Depositphotos

● If you have a knack for arts and crafts, try your hand at making your own decorations and ornaments. Use your leftover craft supplies or whatever recycled materials you have in the house, and make it more fun by getting people in the family involved.

● If your friends are just as enthusiastic about the holidays as you are, chances are they have overdone it with the decorations in the past as well and probably have an assortment of Santas and reindeer lying around. Try to borrow what they won’t be using this year, or ask them if they’d be interested in swapping ornaments. This way, you’re introducing new décor to your home without spending a peso.

● Sometimes decorating can be as simple as applying Yuletide colors to your interior, so if you have any red throw pillow cases or green table runners in storage, now would be the perfect time to whip them out.


● When buying presents for your family and friends, set a budget and stick to it. It will be difficult to do this, especially with costly options tempting you left and right, but if you write down around five things that each person in your gift-giving list might want and eventually choosing just one, you can avoid being derailed by anything shiny or new you see on TV.

● Do you have a knack for cooking or baking? Instead of buying ready-made gifts, why not bake Christmas cookies or make leche flan and give them out as gifts? Not only will you save money, but it’ll also mean more because you made it yourself.

● Forget about purchasing and mailing Christmas cards this year and get typing (on a computer, that is). A lot of websites offer free Christmas e-cards that you can personalize however you want, and the best part is, you can set the date when you want your loved ones to receive them.

Here are a few tips on saving money during the Christmas season Man woman Christmas exchange gift
Photo via Depositphotos

● Instead of buying a gift for everyone in the family, hold a Secret Santa. This way you won’t be pressured to buy everyone something, and neither will they. While you’re at it, set a maximum amount that each person will spend for a present so no one feels forced to buy anything too expensive unless they can actually afford it.

● Find out if the grown-ups in the family would be open to giving gifts only to the kids this year instead of getting something for everyone.

● Buy gifts that can be shared instead of a lot of separate items, such as a box of cupcakes for coworkers or a bottle of wine for a couple.

Noche Buena

● If you’re cooking a big batch of one type of food, buy your ingredients by bulk instead of making separate trips. Look for wholesale stores, grocery stores, or market stalls that offer discounts when you buy a lot of the same thing.

● Every year, there is one thing on the dinner table that hardly gets touched during Christmas dinner. In many families, fruitcake is the clear winner in this category. Think twice before buying them so you won’t waste money on something no one will eat. And just because you can get them at a discounted price if you buy 10 doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to give them out as gifts, unless you know for a fact whoever’s receiving it absolutely loves it.

Here are a few tips on saving money during the Christmas season Christmas dinner Noche Buena
Photo via Depositphotos

● When you’re hosting a party, make it potluck-style; ask each guest to bring something that everyone can share. Just make sure you know ahead of time what each person is bringing so no two dishes are alike. To make things more personal, ask them to bring something that their family always has to have on the dinner table as a tradition.

● Weigh the costs between cooking the food yourself or ordering it from a restaurant. Many will claim that buying the ingredients and making a dish from scratch is the more cost-effective option, but be sure to do your research before you decide to take on the task.

● No matter how many people you invite over, you will most likely end up with leftovers. Be ready with the Tupperwares and make room in the fridge so no morsel of food goes bad. Also, look up ways to create new dishes out of the remaining ham or queso de bola to keep things fresh instead of serving them as they are. If you do things right, you should not have to buy your meals for the next few days.


You don’t need to spend a lot to make sure that you have a meaningful Christmas. Tightening your budget will definitely be a challenge, but it’ll be well worth the effort if you can do it and achieve your goal of getting your loved ones together and making them happy during the holidays.


Main photo via Depositphotos

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