How to Survive the Christmas Season without Breaking the Bank

Many of us feel the crunch during the holiday season. You want to buy gifts for your friends and family. You want to host holiday parties. You probably plan on traveling. All of these things add up during this time of year. Fortunately, there are dozens of finance bloggers out there who have smart tips on how to survive the Christmas season without breaking the bank. Check out the list below to learn more about everything from using your credit cards wisely to tracking your holiday spending.

Before you get started with your holiday plans, take a minute to plan a holiday budget. Most people recommend spending between 1% and 3% of your total annual income on gifts, parties, etc. Take that number and split it up by the number of gifts you want to buy, the party you want to host, the trip to grandma’s, etc. It’s also a good idea to set a budget for each individual when it comes to gifts.

Retire by 40

Joe at Retire by 40 has some good tips on how you can use pre-paid credit cards this holiday season. These cards are a good way to stay safe when shopping online and to stick to your holiday shopping budget.

Bargain Babe

Libby over at Bargain Babe has some great tips on how to trim the fat from your holiday budget. She has tips on ways to reduce your electricity bill, your food/party budget, and your gift budget.

Beverly Harzog

Beverly has some savvy tips on how to use your credit cards wisely this holiday season. You can watch her video interview or simply read her bulleted list of helpful points.

Money Beagle

Money Beagle has some practical tips on how to keep track of your holiday spending. It is one thing to set a budget, but it is another thing altogether to stick to it!

Money Q&A

Hank over at Money Q&A has even more tips on smart ways to use your credit cards when you go shopping this year.

Be sure to share these articles and tips with your friends!

And You?

What steps do you take to keep your holiday spending under control?



  • Hank /

    Thanks for the mention! I really appreciate it.

  • Christian L. /

    -I use lists and I stick to them by…
    -Buying everything with cash. I figure out how much I can afford to spend for the holidays without hurting my savings, 401k, IRA or emergency fund. I put that cash amount in an envelope. That’s my budget.
    -The party I’m hosting is a potluck. I only have to provide one dish and everybody else brings a dish. It’s also BYOB. My friends are fine with that.

    I’m also lucky that my immediate family doesn’t travel for the holidays and they’re less than two hours by car. Extended family is all over the country so we all use the excuse that it’s too far to travel!

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  • No problem Hank 🙂

  • I love the enevelope system / cash method for gift giving. Have you ever went over your budget? What did you do in that instance?

  • Christian L. /

    When buying gifts, I’ve stayed within my budget. It’s emergencies that have popped up and almost ruined my budget a few times. Nothing major though, just a $25 copay here or a burnt out car headlight there. But thankfully, I have an emergency fund for that stuff.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  • Good old fashioned emergency fund saves the day 🙂

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