6 Tips to Spend Less on Holiday Gifts

A woman standing in her decorated living room holding an armful of gifts.

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You can buy gifts without breaking your budget. These tips will help you spend less as you begin to shop.


Key points

  • Shopping for holiday gifts can be expensive and stressful.
  • Heartfelt DIY projects and setting a budget are just some of the tips that can help you spend less as you shop for holiday gifts.

The holiday season is near, and for many, that means it's time to buy holiday gifts for friends and family. If you're just getting started with your holiday shopping, you may be feeling overwhelmed financially. But you don't have to skip out on gift-giving this season just because you're trying to shop on a limited budget. Check out these tips so you can spend less this holiday season.

1. Set a spending limit for holiday gifts

Before you start shopping, it's good practice to set a spending limit. Doing this will help you avoid spending more than you can afford. Take a look at your finances and figure out how much you can comfortably spend on gifts. As you do your shopping, be sure to stick to this budget. It's not worth it to overspend on gifts if you'll feel guilty or be in a difficult financial situation afterward.

2. Participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange

One way to help lessen the financial burden of gift-giving is having a Secret Santa gift exchange or another similar gift exchange. With this method of gift-giving, everyone only has to buy one gift instead of buying gifts for everyone. This style of gifting is a perfect idea for families, friend groups, and coworkers.

If it's still early enough, go ahead and suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange. Buying gifts for everyone that you know can be time-consuming and costly.

3. Pay attention to sales fliers

Don't ignore the sales fliers in your mailbox and email inbox. Sales may help you save money on your holiday shopping purchases. You can get some excellent deals on the latest toys, electronics, and essential household items, and these items can make great gifts. Before making your shopping trip, flip through some sales fliers to see what discounted items you can pick up.

4. Sell used electronics and other unwanted items

You likely have some older electronics and other items lying around your home. If you're not using them regularly, it may make sense to sell them. You can use the money you make to buy new gifts. Plus, you'll free up space for new gifts.

Now is the perfect time to sell unwanted items because everyone is looking for a great deal, and many people buy used items during the holiday season. Check your neighborhood sales groups to see what items are selling well.

5. Spend the gift cards that you haven't used

When was the last time you took note of the gift cards taking up space in your wallet? If you have gift cards that you have yet to spend, consider using them to buy gifts for others.

If you don't have any gift cards lying around, you may be able to redeem your credit card points for gift cards. Many of the best rewards credit cards allow you to do so. While this isn't always the most valuable redemption option, it may make sense if your shopping funds are low and you still need to buy gifts.

6. Get creative

Some holiday seasons require a little more creativity. You can bake cookies and other treats, get crafty, or find other ways to give gifts creatively. You don't have to buy expensive gifts to show that you care. Instead, find unique and creative ways to express your appreciation for the people in your life. Doing this can help you spend less and can make for a more unique gift.

If you're not feeling prepared for the financial aspect of the holiday season, now is a good time to rework your budget for next year. If you're new to budgeting, using one of the best budgeting apps can make the process easier and help you stay organized.

You can open an online savings account and automate your monthly savings contributions so you're well prepared for the next holiday season. Over time, your holiday shopping fund will add up. By saving only $50 per month, you'll have $600 saved in 12 months, plus whatever interest you're able to accrue on that cash.

It's never too late to improve your financial situation. Check out these personal finance resources for more helpful advice.

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