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15 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Shopping: Frugal Hacks for the Holidays

tips for saving money on holiday shopping

Continuing with our series on 15 Ways to Do Anything, here’s the next one in keeping with the current festive spirit over here at the blog. Let’s look at 15 ways to save money on holiday shopping.

Yes, we launched the free Holiday Gift Guide earlier this week, and if you missed it, I’d love for you to head over here and download it right now. It is packed with over 30 small businesses that have some amazing gifting solutions for you!

Okay, so now that’s done, here are my top 15 ways to save money on holiday shopping:

 1. Make a List

I cannot stress the importance of this point. Heading into a store without a list is like holiday hara-kiri. Seriously. You’ll save money, time, effort and your mind by having a list and not just any list, a well-organized list that outlines the recipients, the possible gift ideas for them as well as the budget for each family/individual.

Need some nifty ready-to-fill-in lists? Check out Jessica’s Organizing Life as Mom for some cool printables.

 2. Set a Budget

Ideally, this should come before the making of the shopping list, but I’ve found that when you know how many gifts to buy or make, you’re in a better position to set a budget. However, you can easily switch these two points around depending on what works best for your family.

3. Start Shopping Early

 The early bird doesn’t only get the worm but also gets the best deals. Don’t shop for Christmas after Thanksgiving, unless you’re wanting to hit the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales {see #10}. Instead, start shopping NOW! That is why we released our Gift Guide on the 15th of this month, to give you enough head start.

But seriously, check out your favorite stores’ websites or newsletters to see if they’re already offering items on  sale or at reduced prices and start crossing things off your list.

4. Scout for Sales and Specials

Keep your eyes peeled for sales and specials both online and offline. Follow your favorite stores on Twitter or Facebook or both, if you like and check their pages for announcements. Also, bookmark online shopping websites and keep a watch for when your preferred gift items go on sale.

5. Make Your Own Holiday Gifts

While  I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, I can make some yum brownies and cookies and those will be my gifts of choice for close friends and family this year. If you can, see what gifts can you make instead of buying. Package them prettily, add sweet notes and ta-dah, you’ll be done in no time and quite inexpensively as well, if I may add.

 6. Use Coupons or Reward Points

Again, another favorite of ours to save on holiday shopping, especially since we have both Diwali and Christmas to shop for over here. We use our credit card reward points to get vouchers that we can either send as gifts themselves or use them to buy the gift and pay for part of the purchase.

Coupons again, are a great way to save on shopping and sites, like and others offer you some great savings on brand name stores.

 7. Shop Online

Love this for many, many reasons. No heading out of the house into crazy crowds, no parking hassles, no arguing with store clerks.. Bliss!

Plus shopping online usually gets you some great ‘online-only’ deals and allows you to do your research in peace.

8. Think Out of the Box for Gifting Ideas

Don’t just think of the regular clothes, toys or gadgets for gift ideas. How about gifting a mom entrepreneur with a service from another mom graphic designer? Or how about turning your kids’ artwork into adorable gifts and cards for grandparents? Hint: You’ll find all these ‘out-of-the-box’ gifting ideas in our Gift Guide!

 9. Make a Thrifty Gift Basket

Hit the thrift stores and the Dollar Stores for some cool gift basket containers. I got some adorable bread baskets that I’ll be using as gift baskets to give away my cookies and brownie gifts.

Once you have the gift basket, fill it up with more thrifty finds – toiletries, books, a gift card, travel-sized bottles of perfume, a CD, a photo book or even, assorted food items for a homey yet gourmet basket.

 10. Check out Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales, Online {and In Stores!}

If you have the courage**laughing**, hit the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the stores for some seriously CRAZY savings.

Others, like yours truly, can shop online. Yes, businesses these days value online marketing and so, you’ll find some amazing savings on the Net as well. Sites, like Amazon, in fact will give you probably better deals than the stores themselves.

 11. Look for Free Shipping Options

Save money on shipping, especially, if you have to send a lot of gifts around the country.

Plenty of retailers and stores offer free shipping starting as early as NOW through December 20th. Amazon, again, scores here and am sure you’ll find many more offering the same money-saver by Googling for them.

 12. Support Small Businesses for Some Good Deals

Again, a favorite of mine. Small businesses can give you some great gift solutions while saving you money as well, plus you’ll get the warm fuzzies from knowing you’ve supported a mom or a dad in business!

Check out your local stores for items to fill into gift baskets or for stocking stuffers. You could even shop online at mom-owned businesses and make the holidays happier for yourself and another family. While, again, we do have quite a few mom-owned businesses listed in our Guide, you’ll also find good listings at The Mogul Mom’s Marketplace, Support a WAHP, Market Mommy and Seed Mommy

 13. Get Older Models for a Steal

If gadgets are on your gift list,  check out older models since you could get them for a LOT cheaper. Best part is sometimes, they don’t even have a lot of features ‘missing’. Case in point, iPhone 4 and  the iPhone 4S .

 14. Gift Memories and Experiences

Again, love this gift idea. Gifting a new mom with a half-day of babysitting will be probably the best gift she’d receive. Similarly, gifting the grandparents with a week-long vacation with their grandkids will delight them more than any sweater or photo frame.

Look through your list to see,  if there are people on your list who’d value experiences or memories more than a material thing and then, go ahead and make their holidays happier, inexpensively.

 15. Use Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas

Finally, once you have the perfect gift, wrap it up tastefully but inexpensively. I’m a HUGE fan of using brown paper ‘painted’ by my 4-year old as gift wrap but you can take your pick from these 20 frugal gift wrapping ideas and then, more of these cheap yet chic gift wraps.

 How do YOU save money on holiday shopping? Go ahead and share your tips in the comments and help me add more to my list as well.

Photo Credit: imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos


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  1. Great list, Prerna! I usually do several of these but you’ve given me a much needed reminder. I’m running way behind this year so I guess I’d better get started on #1…

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Crystal, thank you! Getting a head start is always good.. Hope you’ve drawn up your list and set your budget:-)

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