What to do NOW to Save Money for Christmas

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More Holidays

Santa display at Home DepotUpdated, July 25, 2019

Have a holly jolly… summer?

If you’re just enjoying your summer and the upcoming holiday season hasn’t even crossed your mind yet, that’s totally normal! But if you feel like planning ahead, we’re here to show you how to save money on your Christmas hauls long before it’s time to deck the halls! 🎄

Check for leftover Christmas decor.

theshold holiday decor from blinq hip2save

You’ll come across cute finds at crazy discounted prices from the previous holiday at Blinq.com, with many products coming from Target’s Wondershop and Threshold. You can also search in-store at Christmas Tree Shops for clearance holiday goods!

Start making a list, and check it twice all throughout the year!

Piper on bed with toys

Planning ahead for the holiday helps you set your budget, keeps spending in check, and ensures that you’re minimally stressed when the holidays arrive. We even made a printable gift list to help get you started!

Making a list of who you’re buying for now helps you to gauge your gift budget. It also helps you track any hints that your gift list recipients may drop for gift ideas. Armed with this knowledge, you can buy throughout the year to get the best price, ensure they’re getting something they actually want without the stress of waiting until the last minute!

Hip Tip: Be sure and sign up for Hip2Save Hot Text Alerts so you know about all the hottest deals!

Get a head start on homemade gifts that take time to make.

ways to save at christmas homemade vanilla extract hip2save

You’ve got months until crunch time, so why not get a head start by making some VERY thoughtful gifts now? Try your hand at making a big batch of this homemade vanilla extract. It’ll take about two months to cure, though many people say the longer it ages, the better it tastes!

Make larger bottles as individual hostess gifts or to include in baking-themed gift baskets. Smaller ones are perfect for stocking stuffers or even place settings. Be sure to keep some for yourself for your own holiday cooking!

Hip Tip: Get money-saving tips for how to do Christmas on a basically zero budget!

Take some time to perfect your DIY skills.

DIY Lavender Bath BombsIf you plan on DIY gifts for Christmas, attempt them now so you can perfect your craft and avoid last-minute stress by working ahead! Plus, you can watch for sales on supplies since you aren’t strapped for time! Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby offer frequent sales and coupons!

Our very own Lina, QUEEN of DIYs, has some perfect DIY ideas for holiday gifting:

Hip Tip: Check out all Lina’s amazing DIY ideas for more gift inspiration, along with this DIY gift list from Buzzfeed, or these cute Brit + Co DIY kits!

Get gifts on clearance.

easter clearance baskets at target hip2save

Knowing the sales cycles and trends can be SUPER helpful when stocking your gift closet! Certain items go on sale at predictable times of the year, and seasonal items are obviously at their lowest price after their respective season.

Planning on making themed gift baskets? Pick up Easter leftovers like baskets and grass filler at a deep discount (just avoid anything too Easter-looking). Heading for warmer weather after the holidays? Pick up summer must-haves like towels, beachwear, and sunscreen for a steal once September hits.

And don’t worry about those pesky clearance stickers – we have some tips for removing price tag stickers here.

What’s even better than clearance? FREEBIES!

ways to save for christmas freebies and samples hip2save

We LOVE freebies at Hip2Save! Check out our Freebies page and start signing up for them now since certain brands can take several weeks (even months) to be delivered. Freebies make great stocking stuffers and can be used as extra filler in gift baskets too!

Try out fun and new ways to budget.

ways to save for christmas money jar challenge hip2save

The holidays are so much more enjoyable when you don’t need to max out your credit cards to get your shopping done. Start budgeting early by determining how much money you’ll need at Christmas time, and set a weekly savings goal to get you to that amount.

Need a boost? Try a money-saving tactic like money jar challenges, the envelope budget method (a favorite among Hip2Savers!), or unique and ridiculously easy changes to your lifestyle that yield additional savings! Don’t forget to involve the kids, too. You can teach them smart ways to save money while making it fun in the process.

Hip Tip: Automate the process with budgeting apps that help you get control over your finances and savings. I downloaded Digit in February and saved over $550 by doing absolutely nothing!

Bonus! Earn extra cash on your own schedule.

dollar bills on laptop computer

Save up by taking Pinecone Research surveys that pay $3 for each one you complete. You can literally complete them while you’re relaxing or watching TV.

If you’re looking for something a little more lucrative, earn up to $22 an hour by teaching English with VIPKid. Our readers love their experience with this flexible, work-from-home job!

With a little planning now, your wallet will thank you this ho-ho-holiday season! 🎅🏻

Want to learn more ways to keep some extra cash in your pocket?

Check out our 10-Week Financial Boot Camp! In this series, you’ll receive weekly emails featuring ​money-saving challenges​, ​helpful tips​, and even ​budget-friendly meal ideas​ to keep a little more cash in your pocket.

Sign up now for our Financial Boot Camp!

Join The Discussion

Comments 27

  1. Meg

    I must be in the minority as I’m always thinking about Christmas. I currently have stocked up on wrapping supplies for this year and already purchased steeply discounted items for my kids. Hehe

  2. animity

    This is not for everyone but we use our credit card to pay for all our bills (the stuff we HAVE to pay for). We save up all the points and use it to get gc to buy presents.

    • marie

      We do this too! It is wonderful to have this added resource around the Holidays.

    • Andrea

      We do this too

  3. Susan

    My credit union offers holiday club accounts. We have $30 taken from our paychecks each week and we have a nice chunk of change for presents come November!

  4. katie

    Been shoppimg for Christmas since right after Christmas this year. Already have all the kids in my family done for christmas and birthdays and workimg on the adults, I normally try to be done with Christmas shopping by at least Sept/Oct. Hopefully I can make it again this year!

    • Suzanne H

      Same here. I bought a Xmas gift for 2018 before Xmas 2017 came around (already had a 2017 gift for the recipient)! I’m always on the look out as I have a lot of difficult to shop for people so I have to not only find gifts that are reasonably priced but also something I think they will like. I tend to shop later on (Sep/Oct/Nov) for my kids but try to have everyone else done well before that. I kind of have to since I have to wrap and mail for all of my relatives.

  5. AJ

    Does anyone have go to recipes for candles or soap? I would really like to try something like that this year.

    • Blanksandboutique.com

      I don’t have it handy, but on Pinterest, I found a recipe for lush jelly soap. Really awesome and turned out fantastic! Just search “lush jelly soap”

      • AJ

        Thank you!

  6. Candace Parker

    I think about holidays all year long, lol. I have a binder I use for planning, with a section for planning each kids birthday party, a yearly calendar with important dates, and a big section in the back for planning Christmas. It even has a list of projects I plan on making and supplies I need to get. I keep a running list of things I buy for gifts also. I have the general gift closet, then I keep a list of what I buy for specific people, what holiday it is for, and who it’s for. My youngest’s birthday is two weeks after Christmas, so we have to be careful not to give him all the birthday gifts at Christmas.

    I save all my cash from rebate apps and use it for online shopping starting in October or November. By then I normally have $300-500 saved up. That way I’m not putting too much on my credit cards.

    • marie

      Wow! You sound super organized! I would imagine it results in a less stressful, more enjoyable Holiday Season!

  7. Jessica

    I’m up for a good deal anytime, but our Christmas shopping is really just for our kids. How on earth does everyone know what they will be into a year in advance?

    • Meg

      My kids are little so maybe it’s easy but I get things like stuffies and toys that they have an interest in and store them away for birthday or Christmas. I tend to avoid getting the latest trends only because they never really get into them.

    • tammy

      I agree. When the kids were younger, I could buy in advance, but now I need to wait to see what they’ll be into.

    • homereferee

      My kids are teens. They know I shop year-round, so they give me ideas year-round. Some things are just written on a master sheet, others go on the Amazon wish list (if they carry said item) to help me remember it all. I leave room in the budget for each of them for last minute additions to their lists.

      • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        I love the idea about using Amazon Wish Lists — pretty much everything is available on Amazon! I’ll have to convince my family to start using those to make the holiday shopping a bit easier. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Kelly

    I design crochet patterns. IT’S just the right time to start making handmade items for Christmas!

  9. Sarab

    I save up all my $5 and $10 Target gift cards that I get through their gift card deals all year and use those to buy most of my Christmas gifts.

  10. Kandice

    Just a note about homemade vanilla. I love to make it. Unfortunately due to natural disasters vanilla beans are currently over $400/lb. Not very frugal right now.

    • marie

      I also wonder if the liquor flavor seeps into the vanilla?

    • Laura

      It doesn’t take much in the way of beans to make vanilla. I have made this for the past two Christmases for my family as they don’t “need” anything. My dad said it was the best tasting vanilla he had ever used! I put 2 beans in a 12 ounce jar and fill it with vodka and let it sit in the dark for 2-3 months. I made another batch with the same beans and it is still working well. No alcohol taste to the vanilla either. Just yummy. I use 4 ounce jars and those are the hardest to find. I would order a dozen if you think you would like to do this for gifts. Much cheaper that way. I found a jar at Hobby Lobby for $2 on sale, the most expensive part of the gift!

      • marie

        Do you have to seal the jar like you would for making jams or jellies?

  11. Jessi Berggren

    Was just scrolling and saw Santa. Even thought I hate inflatables and yard ‘crap’ my hubby bought the same Santa in the photo for me, it was love at first sight, and I can’t tell you how many compliments we got having him on our front porch. Just his picture made me excited for the holidays to come around again!!

  12. amy

    I have 5 brothers and sisters, 14 nieces and nephews, my mom, and more family members that I shop for for Christmas. I use points at Kmart and Sears to get free stuff, shop Walgreens, CVS, Walmart etc when toys are 75-90% off use amazon review sites and get free or cheap stuff . This year I spent $100 and have all my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews done for Xmas. They are each getting 10 presents each!

  13. Dani O

    I just used my Shop Your Way points for my first Christmas gift of the season :}

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