11 ways to save money over the holidays

No matter what you celebrate, holidays mean extra strain on your bank account. This year, try one of these 11 clever ways to "sleigh" your holiday budget.

Photo: iStockphoto

1. Have a plan

Write down all your holiday expenses, including presents, gift wrap, groceries and entertainment. From there you can develop a budget, divide your funds and track your spending along the way.

2. Use tech to shop the sales

From toys to food to gifting supplies, everything goes on sale—the key is knowing when. Apps like Flipp and Checkout 51 help you find deals, coupons and rebates among local retailers and top brands.

3. Organize a holiday swap

Holding an exchange party with friends and neighbours is a great way to upcycle last year’s decorations and gift-wrapping supplies.

4. Unleash your inner Martha Stewart

From teacher gifts to home decor, there are so many things you can DIY—think personalized mugs, handcrafted wreaths and homemade bath bombs. Pinterest is your friend here.

5. Embrace potlucks

Consider making the big holiday dinner a potluck. You’ll save yourself money and stress. Try one of these 13 easy potluck recipes!

6. Kris Kringle it up

Set up a Secret Santa gift exchange instead of buying for everyone. Whether it’s just for the adults or everyone in the fam, it’s a new tradition the gang will grow to love.

7. Give the gift of your time

A gingerbread cookie looking sad How to handle the top five holiday stress triggersGive your sister the gift of taking her kids for a weekend, or pledge to help your grandma declutter and redecorate her basement. Your time may be far more appreciated than yet another impersonal gift under the tree.

8. Opt for a fake evergreen

Consider making this the year you invest in a high-quality artificial tree. It will be pricier than a real one but will save you money in the coming years.

9. Seek out free activities

Lace up your skates, volunteer at a local soup kitchen or tour the neighbourhood light show—there are so many free activities out there that make it a breeze to entertain the family on a budget.

10. The dollar store is your best friend

Gift wrap, decorations, stocking stuffers and so much more can be found in discount and dollar stores at prices your wallet will thank you for.

11. Stock up when it’s all over

The best time to buy decor, festive clothing, wrapping paper and holiday cards is at the end of the season. You can find total steals on Boxing Day and beyond, so grab them now and shorten your list for next year.

Read more:
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