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The 12 “Saves” of Christmas: Budgeting Tips for the Holidays

Let me start by saying that I love the holiday season. The music, the traditions, the excitement on my kids’ faces. Holiday memories are priceless, but let’s get real; they almost always come with a price tag. Toys, food, decorations, entertaining – it all adds up. So how do you celebrate the season without overspending? Try saving money (and starting fun family traditions) with some of these budget-conscious suggestions, courtesy of our employees.

Remember Rewards
I save credit and debit card reward points and redeem them for gift cards, merchandise and travel, all of which come in handy during the holiday season.
– Jennifer, Selinsgrove, PA

Save For Tomorrow When You Spend Today
Online shoppers: Upromise.com offers a free and easy way to save for college or to pay down existing college debt. Family members are able to save for a student beneficiary as well. Many online stores offer a small percentage of your purchase total as a cash back reward through Upromise. Users may also link their grocery store loyalty cards to their Upromise account. – Hala, Moorestown, NJ

Painless Saving All Year
At the start of every new year, I calculate how much I will need for gifts for the coming December. Then I divide that total by 12 and automatically transfer that amount to savings every month. When December arrives, I have the money I need to cover gift expenses. – Lauren, Lititz, PA

Pass It On
Let’s say your mother-in-law gives you (a grown man) a Steelers Mr. Potato Head®. Well you can save money by re-gifting it to someone more age-appropriate on your list. It’s FREE! – Jason, Red Lion, PA

Thrifty Entertaining
Shop around at thrift stores for the serving pieces you need, rather than paying full price.  I recently needed an extra crock pot for a party and found a great one for $3 at a thrift store.  If you don’t have room to store it or won’t need the item again, donate it back. – Terry, Hagerstown, MD

Online Deals
I can’t stress enough how much better the deals can be online. It’s often like Black Friday every day. I personally love amazon.com because of the free shipping and wide selection. For comparison shopping I like pricegrabber.com because it calculates in the shipping and gives you the bottom line price. – Brian, Lancaster, PA

Taking a Holiday During the Holidays
When I was growing up, instead of having the expense of a holiday party or big gifts, my family would go on a trip together over the holiday break. My parents would keep it simple and pick a location within a relatively close distance. They would buy us some small gifts, but the best part was sightseeing and just spending some good quality time with family. – Aaron, Ephrata, PA

Money for the Kettle
When my daughters were little they loved to put money in the Salvation Army kettles. So every November 1, I would cash a check for the total amount that I could donate that year. I got it in $1 bills and kept it in the car. Every time we went to a store with a bell ringer, my daughters each got a dollar to put in the kettle. They were thrilled. I stayed within my budget and it taught them the importance of giving to others at the holidays. – Linda, Hagerstown, MD

Online Coupons
Don’t forget to do a Google search for coupons online. Many retailers have printable coupons for in-store use as well as promotion codes for online shopping. I have good luck with coupons from retailmenot.com. – Alison, Lititz, PA

 

Give to Those In Need
I come from a very large family and when I was a child my parents started a family tradition. Instead of buying for all the nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers, my parents decided to “adopt a family.” Instead of spending a lot of money on little things for ourselves, we would get clothes, toys and food for a local family in need. – Mary, Marlton, NJ

Catch the Post-Holiday Sales
For friends and family who you know you won’t be able to see before the holiday, catch the after-holiday sales!
– Sarah, Hammonton, NJ

Family Gatherings On a Budget
I come from a very large family. Each year we collect donations of $5 per person to pay for our annual Pot Luck Christmas. With this small donation from the entire family, we are able to rent the local community center, purchase small gifts to give to the littlest ones, and have prizes for games played throughout the day. Everyone brings one dish so no one leaves hungry. – Leigh, Lititz PA

Have some creative holiday savings tips or family traditions you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!

(Mr. Potato Head is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.)

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