5 Simple Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

  • Copy by: Jenna Arak
  • Photography by: Danielle Moss

With Halloween just a few days away, I think it’s safe to say that the holiday season is officially upon us. (So yes, yes I will be playing Nsync’s Christmas album on repeat beginning…NOW.)

This is absolutely my favorite time of year: boot-weather, my birthday, and buying the perfect gifts for the people I love! What could be better?

Unfortunately, my wallet—inanimate object that it is—doesn’t always share in my excitement. I love A LOT of people, so it gets pretty pricey to spend money on the perfect gift for all of the wonderful people in my life. I assume you can relate?

If so, here are five ways you can save money this holiday season, without skimping on presents for those you love most:

1. Track (and budget) your money. 
Do you know how you’re spending your money now? I mean, like, really know. You might be surprised to find that you spend $35 on chai tea lattes every week or that the Friday night drinks and Sunday brunch with your friends are adding up to thousands of dollars every year. By tracking what you spend and setting a clear budget for specific categories, I guarantee you’ll find areas where you can cut back, be more intentional with your spending, and save a bit of money!

2. Skip the salons: rely on DIY beauty treatments.
I understand the importance of looking presentable: of having fresh skin and healthy hair—and perhaps, a manicured hand every so often. But that can get expensive when you let the pros handle it. And, to be honest, you don’t really need them! (Sorry, pros.) At-home mani/pedis, face masks, bath soaks, and hair treatments are easy to use and can be really fun when you give yourself the time and space to indulge. Plus, you can make most of these body treatments yourself with ingredients found inside your house! Do you have coffee grounds? Good! You have the foundation for a fantastic exfoliating scrub. You’re welcome.

I’m not discounting the fun of letting someone else pamper you, but if you let yourself take over every few weeks (or months), you may find even better ways to spend that beauty budget!

3. Use virtual coupons for your favorite stores.
Coupons. I love them. And when I spend them on things I already wanted to buy—you know, as opposed to the items I want to buy after seeing the coupon, ahem—I feel like I’ve hit the money-saving jackpot! (Note: I have.) And you can too!

These days there are so many helpful websites and apps—like my personal fave, the Target Cartwheel app—that let you virtually collect all of the coupons you need and keep them in one place, where (unlike your car/purse/desk drawer) they can’t be easily lost. One quick swipe of a barcode is all you need to save a lot of money.

It’s convenient and cost-efficient! Win-win.

4. Make your gifts.
Okay, listen. I resisted this one too. I was convinced that, if I went this route, I’d have to gift a sock bunny to everyone I hold dear.

Don’t think you’re crafty enough? I get it. I’ve been there. But we both need to open our eyes! Just log onto Pinterest or Instagram–there’s an entire image database of creative, inventive, and most importantly, personal gifts, alongside step-by-step instructions on how to make them! A few homemade gifts we love? These, this, and everyone’s favorite baked good just the way they like it and wrapped creatively.

This is an incredibly easy way to save money during the holidays and it also adds some heart to the gifts you give. Assuming you avoid the sock bunny selection, any gift you give that you’ve made yourself will certainly be unique and thoughtful.

5. Make more money! 
I know, I know, this is easier said than done. But there are ways to do it! And one of the best ways to save more money—and/or have more money to spend on gifts this holiday season—is to make more money.

You could write a few articles for reputable, well-paying websites. Or pick up a holiday shift at your favorite retail store (trust us–the money you’ll save on the discounts alone are worth it!). You might go so far as to ask for a raise at work! Whatever you choose, there are myriad ways to make more money and, as we’ve established, the holidays are an especially opportune time to have extra cash! With a little planning and ingenuity, you can save (and then, spend?) as much money as you need to this holiday season—and year-round, really. Happy Holidays!

Tell us: How do you plan to save money this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!



This post is sponsored by Target. Start saving on things you already buy at Target by downloading the Cartwheel app today!



  • This is a great collaboration as I have never heard of the cartwheel app. I will download for sure. Thanks!


    • Aley, it’s the best! It’s so easy and convenient.

  • Amanda

    For the past couple years I’ve been crafting gifts for extended family – my husband has lots of aunts, uncles and cousins – and buying personal gifts for immediate family members and close friends. This year I’m making magnets out of our favorite instagram photos. Last year we made fire starters out of pinecones and newspaper, and the year before we crafted spice blends in cute tins. I actually really look forward to this part now and not only am I spending less money, but everyone loves the personal touch.

    • These are such great ideas, Amanda! I love the Instagram magnets gift. And your plan to reserve personal gifts for just immediate family and friends is perfect. I usually do the same!

  • Great tips! I love doing homemade gifts…especially when they are baked. And the presentation is half the fun, anyway 🙂

    • You’re so right, Amelia! I love receiving homemade gifts when they’re baked too 🙂

  • Downloading this app now. How did I not know about this before?!

    • I don’t know, Jessica, but you’ll be so glad it’s in your life now! If you’re a regular Target patron (and really, who isn’t?), you’ll love it.

  • The oldest tricks in the book: potlucks, Kris Kringle, and maximum limit White Elephant games!

    Catherine | the latest on TheSingleDiaries.com

    • Potlucks and White Elephant games are my favorite, Catherine! What’s Kris Kringle (other than a character in Miracle on 34th Street)?

  • I worked over the holiday break. I know that I am going to get at least 2 weeks off for the holidays; I figured why not make some extra cash!

    I also sold some of my gently used clothes on Vinted! It’s amazing and it’s like having a Plato’s Closet on your phone!

    • Such good tips, VaNessa! I’ve never heard of Vinted—definitely going to check that out.

  • Deanne Fenton

    Those are my wooden spatulas! How fun 🙂 I loved this article

  • Tips 1 – 3 are my go-tos for the holidays and events in general. Following some of the tips can certainly help with sticking to a budget and not feeling regretful afterwards.

  • Great advice to follow, many people I know have a hard time keeping track of their money thus they fail to plan expenses.

    Saldadebiti – Recupero Crediti

  • Hailee Shay

    These were some pretty great tips. I made a lot of my gifts last Christmas. I was super hesitant too, because I’m not the craftiest person, but just like you said, I logged onto Pintrest and got some awesome ideas. And all my gifts really ended up being a hit, plus people loved that I put the time and effort into something, instead of just running out and buying a cute sweater or a pair of earrings. So I think that’s a great tip.
    I found a great article on how to save money when you’re throwing Holiday parties. https://scrumptioussp.com/6-genius-money-saving-tips-for-the-frugal-holiday-hostess/ Just wanting to share the information so we don’t all have to bring in the New Year, broke.