Merry Money Tips: 12 Ways To Save This Season

Nov 22, 2023 Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year which means it’s time to tackle holiday shopping. Use these twelve spending tips to stay on budget and save.

A woman standing outside a window, there is a credit card in her hand.

The holiday season is here and it’s time to create a game plan for spending if you haven’t already. As you know, the joy of coming together with friends and family can add up – seasonal decor, meals, gifts, etc. The National Retail Federation forecasts that consumers are expected to spend between $957.3 and $966.6 billion during November and December – a 3 to 4% increase from 2022.

Try these tips to keep you from breaking the bank this holiday season.

A woman staring into a window, there are holiday lights behind her.

Holiday Spending Survival Guide

Use our free Holiday Spending Survival Guide to easily keep track of your budget and following these steps.

12 Ways To Save This Season

Tip #1: Cyber Monday

The first Monday after Thanksgiving is like Black Friday, but online from the comfort of your home in PJs – don’t worry, we won’t judge. The first Cyber Monday was created by in 2005 and typically boasts the best online deals of the year for holiday shopping.

Here’s how to find the best deals:

Tip #2: Small Business Saturday®

Typically held the Saturday after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is an annual holiday created in 2010 to encourage consumers to bring seasonal shopping to small businesses. With over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., you’re bound to find all the gifts you need within your community.

Small Business Saturday doesn’t only apply to traditional retail storefronts. If you’re still on the hunt for gifts, purchasing a gift card to a local restaurant or spa are great options and support your local community as well. You’ll feel good while getting your holiday shopping done.

Tip #3: Make A List

Maybe you only have a couple gifts to buy this year. Or maybe you have a list as long as Santa. To help save money, consider setting expectations for the number of gifts you plan to give. One way to do this is to buy four gifts per person – something they want, something they need, something they’ll wear, and something they’ll read.

Make sure you communicate your plans, ask for a list, and if you find that’s still too many gifts to buy, see if you can exchange names instead. A good reminder is that if you’re trying to save money, other people might be too, so don’t give them an overwhelming list of expensive items either.

Tip #4: Get Crafty

Looking to save money? Make your presents instead of buying them. Take advantage of websites like Pinterest to find creative and low-cost items to make for the holidays.

Just remember that DIY doesn’t always mean cheap or low cost. If you have to buy a bunch of items just to make one thing, it’s probably not cost effective. To help save money, make multiples of the same gifts to give.

Tip #5: Stay Focused

Surprise: stores want you to spend more money during the holiday season and they have many ways to encourage you to do so – including appealing to your five senses.

During the holidays, keep the following in mind and remember to use your head, not your heart while out shopping.

Best way to shop with your head: create a plan and follow it.

Tip #6: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Reduce Holiday Costs

Reuse Items


Holiday Budget Worksheet

Organize your holiday spending using our easy Holiday Budget Worksheet so you can have a more joyous, stress-free season.

Tip #7: Get The Best Price

Use deal sites to find discounts, deals, and best prices. Some deal sites include: Deal Seeking Mom, RetailMeNot, Groupon, PriceGrabber.

Know if the stores you’re planning to shop at have price match policies and what they are. A few major retailers will price match, but only within certain timeframes and not always on all items. Shop around and know the details to ensure you get the best deal.

Tip #8: Treat Yourself Sparingly

According to Gallup, 64% of shoppers plan on buying gifts for themselves while shopping for others. Cut back on personal spending by making a list of only one or two things you’ll pick up while you’re out. If you really want or need something, consider adding it to your wishlist to give to family and friends.

Tip #9: Cook Smarter

When picking out recipes for meals or baked goods, take into consideration the ingredients required. For example, rather than purchasing three types of flour for different dishes, consider finding three recipes that use the same type of flour.

When building your shopping list, make sure you look at deals and specials too. Find coupons online or in the paper and find stores that allow double coupons to save even more. Many retailers now have an app where you can choose coupons ahead of time to make shopping even easier.

Tip #10: Create New Memories

To save money or even try something different, consider making new traditions with a small group of family members or friends.

Tip #11: Focus On Experiences

A gift doesn’t have to be a material item. Make a suggestion to spend time, not money, together. Some ideas include:

Tip #12: Prepare For Next Year

Keep track of what you spend this year to build a plan for next year. Add up what you spend and divide it by 10 (if you plan to start shopping in November) or 11 (if you plan to start shopping in December). Once you have that number, set up automatic transfers to a designated saving account for that amount. When the holiday season rolls around again, you’ll be ready to go!

For example, if you spend $800 on the holidays and plan to start shopping in November next year, that means you’d need to save $800/10 = $80 a month. You can set automatic transfer each paycheck, each week, or once a month.

Providers and products are mentioned for educational purposes only. This in no way constitutes an endorsement or approval by A+FCU. Refer to the external organization’s site for the most up-to-date information as their products and terms are subject to change.

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Save To Win®

Open a Save To Win® Certificate and get a head start on savings for next year’s holiday celebrations. The more you save the more chances you’ll get to win up to $5,000 – an added bonus, 4.23% APY!*

*APY = Annual Percentage Yield. Rate effective 5.1.2024 and is subject to change without notice.

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