Guide to Holiday Savings
Authored By: GreenPath Financial Wellness on 12/11/2023

The holidays are a chance to make memories, but this can also be a time of financial stress. And let’s be honest: with high interest rates and student loan payments resuming, many of us are justified in our reticence to spend.

Here are a few savings strategies to help you save this season.  


Create a Spending Plan: During the holidays, it can be easy to let spending get out of control. Put a cap on your spending by creating a holiday budget/spending plan. Be sure to factor in additional non-gift-related expenses that can easily add up - things like holiday photos, decorations, food, and shipping of gifts to loved ones. Remember, nothing is set in stone, especially during a busy holiday season. You’re in charge of your plan and your goals.

Set Expectations: Year after year, studies show that families with children are more likely to take on debt and go all in on gift spending across the board. With some by paring down on the “stuff.” Get everyone in the spirit by setting a gift limit so expectations are clear. 


DIY Gifts: Thoughtful gifts don’t require a big budget or expert crafting – a video tribute, photo book, or curated snack basket for the sweet tooth, coffee lover, or home baker in your life are just a few ideas.  

Abundance Swap: Many of us have something in our home that we don’t use – an appliance collecting dust or something you were gifted twice. Host a party where your friends or family bring a quality item they’d be happy to swap.  

The Gift of Time: The holidays are an especially busy time, and caregiving is often a steep hourly expense. Instead of buying gifts, offer cost-free babysitting or pet sitting to someone who could benefit from a date night or weekend away from home.

Opt for an Outing: Gifts aren’t the only way to connect during the holidays. Suggest a group experience you can enjoy together. Whether it’s a holiday performance, snow tubing, or a festive exhibit, experiences are often what makes a season memorable.  


Keep it Simple: While it may be tempting to recreate a lavish meal from your childhood or gourmet cookbook, there’s nothing wrong with keeping ingredients simple. Prioritize what matters to you. If you want to go big on one entree, complete the meal with less costly side dishes like roasted vegetables or rolls.  

Potluck Dinners: Host a potluck dinner where each guest brings a dish to share. This not only reduces the cost and pressure of cooking for a large group but also makes the meal more diverse. You might even walk away with a favorite new recipe! 

Dessert or Appetizers Only: If you’re tight on funds this season – and still want to enjoy coming together for a meal – host a dessert or appetizer-only gathering where everyone brings something on the smaller side.   

Skip the Smorgasbord: The holidays are a hard time for so many households living paycheck-to-paycheck or living without a paycheck at all. You don’t need a big budget to make a meaningful impact. Instead of a lavish meal, donate to your local food bank in your area and encourage others to join you.  

Holiday Helpers

If holiday spending has you feeling stressed, reach out! Our partner GreenPath can help you pay down debt, create a sustainable budget, and connect to free financial courses designed to build a healthy financial foundation year-round.  

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.

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