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Real Talk: Holiday Budgeting

Did you know that the average American spends over $700 on gifts for Christmas? I don’t know about you, but that seems like quite a lot of money to blow for one month, on top of your regular expenses. To get ideas on how to save money on the gifts and bills this year, I asked some friends, strangers, and acquaintances how they cut costs over the holidays. Some of the responses were in jest, but others were actually quite insightful. Here they all are, from everyday people to your computer screen:

Crystal: “If you have a large extended family, give gifts per family instead of each individual person. Fun gifts for the entire family to use together such as DVDs, board games, or movie tickets are some good ideas.”

Rod: “Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Grace: “If you have a large number of family members or group of friends, opting for ‘Secret Santa’ with a specified limit for spending seems to work well for everyone. You can use websites like to organize secret Santa groups easily.”

Thompson: “Use coupons and limit what you buy. Have a route plan on what you are going to purchase and where. The grocery store is usually close by but gift items are usually spread apart so as long as you use a good route plan you save time and money. Keep in mind that sometimes the quickest route saves you more gas as you don’t burn as much fuel, while the shortest route requires more stop and go fuel.”

William: “Don’t waste money on stuff you really don’t need during January through November. If you do that, you should have more than enough money to enjoy the holidays.”

Frank: “Don’t buy gifts for anyone. It’ll save them money because they won’t feel obligated to buy you a gift, and that’s your gift to them–saving them money. Also, you can create other traditions for Christmas that don’t focus on consumerism, but highlight more important things like spending more time with loved ones.”

Amy: “A great way to keep costs down but still show your holiday spirit is by giving baked goods as gifts. I love baking holiday treats and giving my friends baskets of treats. If you buy ingredients in bulk, the cost is low but the heart is all in there.”

Angie: “To save money in general, my family keeps the electricity bill low by unplugging any appliances that aren’t in use, and we make sure to turn off lights that we don’t need. A little goes a long way.”

Sean: “I know this is hard to do, but when I start shopping months in advance, I save a lot more than when I shop last-minute for gifts. It’s definitely a lot less stressful too.”

Jamie: “IOU coupons are what I like to do for Christmas. Instead of giving actual presents, I usually ‘owe’ people things like a coffee date or offer to do chores for family members. Right now I’m working on a couple mix CD’s, which are really nice on my wallet!”



Everyone appreciates money-saving strategies–including us! If you have any to share, let us know 🙂

3 comments on “Real Talk: Holiday Budgeting

  1. I.G.Pradeep
    December 15, 2012

    That excellent Christmas advice and now we can save money and enjoy our holidays with our family. Merry Christmas stantalum.


  2. igpradeep
    December 15, 2012

    What you gonna do?


    • stantalum
      December 18, 2012

      Thanks for reading. This year my budgeting strategy involved making a list of people to shop for and looking for deals. Luckily, I got everything I needed on Black Friday, so it’s a stress-free holiday for me (in terms of gift-giving)!


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This entry was posted on December 14, 2012 by in Holiday + Seasonal, Living and tagged , , .
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