Ever feel like you pull out your wallet more than good will during the holidays? We do too, but get ready to change that this year by following these nine ways to save money during the holidays.

Handmade Keepsakes are cherished forever. My son and his Great Grandma on Christmas 2011 - he sleeps with that quilt every night. Photo Credit: Becky Davenport

Handmade Keepsakes are cherished forever. My son and his Great Grandma on Christmas 2011 – he sleeps with that quilt every night.  Photo Credit: Becky Davenport

Happy Holidays! Now empty your wallet! That is exactly how I use to feel about this glorious season. I love the holidays, but I don’t love spending money – especially money I don’t have. The holidays shouldn’t be about going broke or in debt. The holidays are about family, faith, and enjoying the season.

Several years of spending more than I had taught me a lesson of how I can really enjoy the holiday AND save money too.

9 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

  • Set limits on who you buy for.  Nowhere does it say you have to buy a present for everyone you meet over the next eight weeks. I limit my list to just those close to me.
  • Set a budget on presents. It is easy to rack up several thousand dollars in credit card debt over the holidays – not exactly how you want to start the New Year.  Set how much you are going to spend on each person and stick to it.
  • Skip the fancy shows. A good holiday show is good for the heart, but many show tickets are outrageous in price. If you really want to see a show look for an “off Broadway” show or even a high school musical show so that ticket prices will be cheap.Having fun can be so expensive, especially at the holidays. But it doesn't have to be that way! These nine tips will help you cut the cost but keep the fun at the holidays.
  • Look for free things to do. Communities go all out for the holidays. Many have parades, light shows, live nativities. Take advantage of the free things to do wherever you go.
  • Travel after the holidays. We all want to spend Christmas with grandma, but sometimes that is not the best idea for our wallet.  Travel cost drops drastically just after the New Year – they refer to this as “snow bird season” – ideally when only retired people have time to travel, but often hotels are begging for guest and will really cut you a deal.
  • You are the gift. If you do travel to see family, do not feel obligated to arrive with gifts in hand. Travel is costly, so you being there is a gift altogether.
  • Give something from the heart.  If you must give a gift for the holidays, give them something from the heart. Handmade keepsakes mean so much more than something you have picked up last minute at the local gas station.
  • Skip the fancy dinner. I always joke in my family that we could skip several dinners and still be okay.  However, holiday trimmings are a bit pricey (if you have seen the price of a turkey). No one says you have to have the traditional dinner. You can serve whatever want and people will still eat.
  • Give the gift to someone else.  This is tough with little ones, but can be done. If you kids are like mine, we are very blessed, so blessed that I trip over their toys and perform acrobatic stunts daily.  We need for nothing. Instead of buying tons of unneeded more stuff, pick one item off their list for them, then take the rest of your holiday budget and give it to someone in need.

The holidays are a special time of year and we seal memories made in our hearts forever, so the best gift you can give your family and you is less stress.