Ways to Save on Christmas

Christmas is looming in the near future. How did that happen? How did a big portion of the year go by so fast? So now it's three months away and those three months will go fast, especially if you aren't prepared.

Have you started saving for the big day yet? I haven't, but I'm not concerned. For me, October is a three paycheque month, meaning I'll be able to spend the third cheque on gifts.

saving on xmas gifts

I have some ideas as to how to save money, so one cheque should be enough for Christmas. I used to work in retail, and did so for years. I got the hang of the Christmas season really well back then.

So here's how I plan to save money on Christmas and how you should too:

Start Shopping Now

I know. It's three months away. Shopping now seams overzealous and obsessive. But you can save some major green if you do this.

I worked at three different stores in retail, and I had friends that worked in other retail stores, and the consensus was almost unanimous: retail stores do not have sales anytime near the holidays. That's just how they operate. If they do hold sales, they are on summer items and/or substantially less than you'd be able to save at that same store at any other time of the year.

The stores at which I worked stopped having sales about a month before Christmas; we'd usually take down the sale signs by November 15 or so. I'm going to be shopping for Christmas in early October to maximize my savings AND my selection. Malls start to get busy about a month before the holidays as well, so be prepared to lose out on getting some of the gifts you'd like if you leave it to the last minute.

Comparison Shop Online

I love shopping online because it makes it easy to comparison shop, which is especially important around the holidays when looking for some deals.

If you are gifting a loved one something that is well known or in demand, comparison shop online. Sometimes, there are online coupon codes you can use or promotions going on at certain stores over other ones.

Even if you don't buy the item online, but would rather buy it in store (avoid those shipping fees), you can see what stores have the best deals online instead of having to run back and forth to stores to check prices and stock.

Look on Craigslist/Kijiji/Facebook

No, I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy your loved ones something used (that's just tacky). What I'm suggesting instead is that you look for unopened goods at a discounted price on these websites.

Sometimes people get "free gift with purchase" items that they would rather sell than use. Sometimes, they get something they already had at a birthday or celebration. And sometimes, people change their mind and a store's no refund policy gives them no choice.

This can also help with stock; if you can't find an item anywhere (because they've all been snapped up because you were too lazy/in denial and didn't go Christmas shopping earlier) perhaps somebody has a new one that they want to sell on one of the classified boards.

Gift Card Discounts

If you are going to go the gift card route, look on the ad boards mentioned above first for somebody who is trying to get rid of a card to the store that you are thinking of. If not, check sites like plasticjungle.com which will give you a discount on most gift cards (if they have them in stock).

You can also try collecting Swagbucks (referral link) to  bank up points for Christmas shopping; you can get gift cards on there (and also some other products - or, get gift cards and spend them on products for gifts).


There are probably plenty of ways you can save money on Christmas. How do you do it? 


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38 thoughts on “Ways to Save on Christmas

  1. Make gifts! Now is the time to be getting that started so that you actually have time to finish the gifts before it's time to give them to the recipients.

  2. We have started with our shopping...a little bit. We bought a used play vanity set for my little girl:) She'll get some actual new toys from us as well, but she also gets a few used items. She doesn't know the difference;)

  3. Great tips. I am actually writing a post for next week on the very same subject. I think a lot of it comes down to planning ahead, knowing what you want, and sticking to your budget. We generally take care of the shopping throughout the year so it's over and do our final bit from the convenience of our home on Black Friday.

  4. My wife and me have already started shopping! We always start early because we can't really afford to do it any other way. We only have a little extra money each month and so we buy another little Christmas gift each month.

  5. The deals are already starting to pop up on the popular items for this year. The best way to save money is to start shopping now. I love shopping through Amazon because the prices are usually the best and most states don;t have sales tax

  6. For buying gifts from Best Buy or Future Shop and the like, I often buy discounted giftcards and use those to purchase the gift. I haven't started any shopping yet however :S We've been too busy with house hunting!

  7. Good call, need to start now otherwise it'll be a mad rush at Wal-Mart on christmas Eve, fighting over the last power ranger doll with an old lady who's grandson is more important than your kid!!!!

    We're doing baked goods this year for everyone, except immediate family, well, because it's not in the budget 🙂

    But, don't think our baked goods are lame gifts. Wifey has some skills in the kitchen!

  8. One of the biggest ways that I try and save money on Christmas is to do Secret Santa's. I've had a lot of success arranging this with friends and family members and it drastically cuts down on the volume of presents that need to be purchased.

  9. Yay for gifts! I added to my gift stockpile just yesterday and can pretty much guarantee that I will be using some of those things at Christmas. Another tip I would add is to keep your eye out throughout the year for good generic items. For example, yesterday I found an awesome, fancy corkscrew that I like on sale for 70% off. Good corkscrews are nice and generic, but still make a nice gift, so they are great to have on hand.

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  11. We need all the help we can get this season since we are also trying to keep on our debt-busting budget. I've never heard of Kijiji...looking up now, thanks!

  12. My wife and I save year-round for Christmas. It's nice to stash away money each month and have it all ready to be spent by the time December rolls around. No worrying or panicking or sacrificing in other areas during that month...just go pick out what you want and spend the money! Makes life a breeze!

  13. Yep, we save money every month in our budget for Christmas and move it to our projected expenses account. We don't have many gifts to purchase all year so Christmas is not stressful for us at all. Great tips. CHeers Mr.CBB

  14. I write down during the year perfect gift ideas for people around me. Saves me the headache comes Christmas to think "what should I buy my mum" and buy something super expensive and impersonal.

  15. I've noticed this before, too! I've found black Friday to be overly stressful and a scam. I've found a few random good deals, but nothing worth writing home about, really. And nothing worth the traffic. We try to buy throughout the year so the holidays aren't as stressful...procrastination-wise or money-wise. We love antique stores, too. If they're in the right neighborhood, you can score some good deals on unique gifts. The ritzy ones, not so much.

  16. Good tips! I always shop in advance and this year have been using Groupon Goods and Living Social Shop to get great deals. I got my nephew a $100 toy for $25 and I'm so excited to give it to him 🙂

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  19. I wrote on my first failed about the Christmas season being a year-round event. There are always clearance sales or inventory reduction sales that can be shopped with the purchases stashed away for future events like birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. It actually accomplishes two goals: minimizing the amount of money spent on the gifts and time savings. Of course, setting aside some money at regular intervals into a separate savings account also gets the job done too, especially if someone is committed to sticking to the system. That way, the little bit put each time won't be as hard to deal with as spending a bunch in one short period when the gift is needed.

  20. I disagree with you on sales. There are awesome Black Friday sales here. They started doing the Black Friday deals online too, not just for Cyber Monday.

  21. Great suggestions! Planning ahead and taking advantage of deals are the biggest ways we save money on Christmas. We exchange gifts with a lot of people so it's important to budget and try to get the best deals.

  22. We stopped doing adult gifts for our families a while back and only buy for the kiddos. I think we have enough credit card points to get our nephews gift cards. That's what they really want anyway. I'm not ready to think about it, but you're right, it's getting close.

  23. From about now until Christmas, I keep my eyes open using slickdeals. There are always a ton of awesome deals out there and I only buy them around this time to give out as gifts. Most of the time I don't even know who I'm gonna give it to. I just buy them b/c they're at a good price and I know they'll eventually make good gifts.

  24. I can totally get on board with shopping right now. In fact, I've already found an iPod Touch for cheaper than it usually is, and bought it to put away for Christmas. You can bet I'll be doing a ton of comparison shopping too.

  25. Every year I intend to save and it never happens 🙁 It will next year though! Oct is 3 pays for us as well but b/c we're just now starting our emerg savings extra pay=car repairs, ugh.

  26. My sisters always go in together to get presents for our parents and for each other, which helps cut down on the costs. I also try and minimize the need for last minute gifts by having some fun home-made stuff on hand.

  27. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

    Ugh, Christmas mayhem. I will try to be crafty (pathetically so?) and make more home-made gifts this year. This way I can include my baby daughter in the process as well and, let's face it, what grandparent doesn't love a soggy handcrafted what-the-hell-is-it?-idgit from their precious grandchild? 😀

  28. I can probably do a better job on saving on Christmas expenses. I do try to hit up sales though, as there's no need to pay full price for many items.

    That being said, there is one thing that I WON'T do: stand in long lines as a part of Black Friday sales! Here in the US, there are so many folks that will get up in the middle of the night on the night after our Thanksgiving in order to save some money at retail outlets. Or, in some cases, people simply stay up all night. Not me! No point in saving a few dollars while wasting time and losing sleep 🙂

  29. We've already started our Christmas shopping 🙂 Actually we have all my side of the family done (or at least the stuff to make presents is bought). His side doesn't make decisions until Thanksgiving so we have to wait which sucks. But we came up with a semi plan and have been socking money away little by little since May. So while the fund isn't fully funded, most of it is and at least half the stuff was bought. We also took advantage of a 20 percent off store wide sale to stock up on wrapping paper and the like.

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