In 2020, Americans spent about an average of $997 on holiday-related shopping. Going into the new year, this is a bill many would prefer to go without while still enjoying the holiday season. Lessen the blow of your holiday-related expenses with our five money-saving tips for the upcoming holiday season!

#1: Create a Holiday Budget
As with any budget, start your holiday budget by listing all your expenses. These include items purchased as gifts, how much you plan to spend on each gift or person, any holiday decorations you wish to purchase, and lastly, how much you want to spend on hosting a gathering and on any food and drink items. It’s essential to keep track of these expenses as you shop to ensure your spending limits aren’t exceeded. Tracking these expenses may look different for many. Still, some of the most effective ways to do so are via spreadsheets, digital note-taking, or a budgeting app. A digital tracking system allows for these expenses to be tracked on the go during one of the busiest times of the year.

#2: Pre-Save for Large Purchases
Most holiday shoppers have at least one large gift purchase to be made each year, but this doesn’t need to be overwhelming. These expenses are usually for someone special and can be anticipated, making it opportunistic to start saving up early. The best way to do so is by setting up small automatic transfers into a savings account throughout the year or larger ones before the holidays are in full swing. (This can be quickly done via your Mechanics Mobile Banking App!)

#3: Give Out Homemade/DIY Gifts
Some of the most affordable yet meaningful gifts to give around the holiday, are homemade ones! These are perfect for people with exceptional creative hobbies such as baking, painting, curating, or any art form. If this is a frequent hobby, many of the necessary supplies or ingredients may already be in your home and can be supplemented with a small extra stock-up purchase. Even if you struggle to bake a perfect batch of cookies, another alternative DIY gift is care packages. A popular example is to buy seasonal mugs from any affordable big-box retailer and package them with some hot cocoa and marshmallows or even a favorite coffee or tea, as this can still give this gift a personal touch.

#4: Use Price Checking and Price Matching
The perfect gift can blow up your holiday budget, but sometimes it doesn’t have to! Being conscious about the price you pay for that perfect item can have a big payoff. In today’s world of technology, all you have to do is pull out your phone (or even open a new browser tab) and search the varying prices of the item you’re looking to buy. In many cases, retailers will allow a price match to keep from losing business to a competitor by matching their lower price. These price matching policies are prevalent among retailers and can usually be found on their websites. In some cases, these policies are printed in the store, and even if they’re not prominent, it never hurts to ask because there’s always the option of going for that lower price elsewhere.

#5: Shop in Bulk
Don’t be afraid to buy people the same gift or buy most of your holiday gifts and supplies from the same place! Buying items in bulk can have several benefits; one of the most common are holiday deals such as buy one get one free or buy several items for a set lower price. In addition, when purchasing online, spending a certain amount at an online retailer can save on shipping costs as many of these retailers will reward orders over a specific price with free shipping. These shipping costs can add up over time, especially if you do the bulk of your shopping online. Lastly, buying many items from somewhere you shop under a rewards program can also produce a high reward when any point/credits you earn go into a rewards dollar system to spend later.

Saving money while enjoying this holiday season doesn’t have to be complicated. Your family, your budget—and your wallet—will thank you in the long run! If you want to open a new holiday savings account or start budgeting with us, contact us today.