Easy Ways to Cut Down on Christmas Spending

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76_4271307The holiday season is the time when most families spend the most money. The other time of the year that is a big expense is summer vacation, but most families have more trouble budgeting for Christmas and New Year’s than in the summer.

To help you save money over last year without cutting into your enjoyment of the season, here are some easy ways to start saving money and to avoid those last minute "splurge" issues that can add hundreds of dollars to holiday spending.

  • Shop online – If you are shopping early for Christmas, you can find terrific online deals, starting in mid-November. Shopping online also allows you to have the gift wrapped and delivered right to the recipient, saving you on those costs as well. For impulse buyers, staying out of retail outlets is a cost-saving factor as well.
  • Use cashback cards – Saving up to five percent per purchase makes sense, so using these credit or debit cards within your budgeted amount is always a good idea. Remember to only use credit cards if you have the cash on hand to pay the bill in total to avoid interest.
  • Host one major event – Instead of a number of smaller dinners, parties, and gatherings, have one major event that allows you to set a budget and stick to it. You can even make it a potluck or a themed meal that will help to spread out the cost while allowing everyone to contribute.
  • Use coupons – Even if you don't use coupons throughout the year, this is a great time to get started. Grocery stores and other types of retail outlets will have coupons, online specials, or specials through their apps that can really help to save money. If you don't want to keep using the apps, just delete them after the holidays.

Talking to family and friends about limits on gifts is also a great option. Most people are uncomfortable about bringing up the topic, but they appreciate the ability to have the discussion once it is raised.