A family use their Money Mentors tips to make crafts and save money at Christmas.

12 Best Tips to Spend Less at Christmas

As the festive cheer of the holiday season approaches, so does the challenge of managing expenses amidst merry-making. While December is often a whirlwind of joy and generosity, January can bring a stark contrast, with the looming concern of bills and the aftermath of holiday spending. This year, Canadians are anticipated to spend an average of $1,635 on gifts, travel, and entertainment—a significant 13% increase from last year, largely driven by a resurgence in travel spending.

In light of this, we’re here to guide you through a season of wise spending. Our aim? To help you avoid that debt hangover, and welcome the new year with contentment rather than financial stress. Here are some essential tips to save money this holiday season, ensuring your celebrations are as budget-friendly as they are bright.


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  1. Play a gift-giving game
  2. One easy way to spend less this Christmas is to only buy one gift. Games like Secret Santa, Left/Right, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas are a great way to still spread the holiday cheer while saving money. You don’t need to buy gifts for every family member, as the important thing is the time spent together.

  3. Set a spending limit
  4. Before you set off to join the herds of people in the mall or scour the internet to shop online, talk to your friends and family about setting a spending limit for gifts. This will help you not go overboard and get creative with the gift-giving.

  5. Make a list
  6. Once you know who you’re buying for, make a list of what you need to buy―and then stick to it! It’s all too easy to go crazy while shopping if you don’t have anything to follow. (And no, following your heart doesn’t count, as the heart is all too giving this time of year.) This also goes for grocery shopping for all your holiday feasts and shopping for holiday décor and attire.

  7. Stick to cash
  8. Decide how much money you have to spend this season on gifts, food, décor, attire, etc. and then pull that exact amount out in cash, if possible. Once you’ve done that, divide it up into separate labelled envelopes based on the category. This will help you not overspend and help minimize the surprises in your bank account statements come January. Check out our post on a cash-only budget for help.

  9. Give your time
  10. Instead of buying gifts this Christmas, consider gifting your time. Think pet sitting, babysitting, dog walking, house cleaning, car cleaning, lawn mowing, snow removal or even just time spent together helping others.

  11. Re-gift
  12. We promise there’s nothing wrong with giving away a gift you once received and never used. If you have no reason to keep it and you think someone else would appreciate it more, give it away.

  13. Donate
  14. Instead of buying gifts for your family or friends who already have what they need, suggest a group donation to an organization in your community. You can save some money and feel good about giving back.

  15. Get crafty
  16. Handmade gifts are always so meaningful and perfect for family members who live far away. Challenge yourself and your family to make something instead of buying a gift using materials you have on hand. This also works for wrapping gifts (like decorating craft paper/newspaper/boxes instead of buying wrapping paper).

  17. Gift experiences
  18. Instead of purchasing gifts for all your children and spouse, consider combining that money to give a family experience that you are already planning or saving up for. Think: An outing or membership to the zoo, science centre or water park, or a year’s subscription to an online streaming site (like Disney+).

  19. Send E-cards
  20. If you like to send out holiday cards, consider sending e-cards this year to cut down costs and be a little more environmentally friendly.

  21. Use Price Tracking Tools
  22. To snag the best deals this holiday season, leverage price tracking tools and browser extensions. These handy digital assistants alert you when prices drop on items you’re eyeing, ensuring you get the best bang for your buck. In a time when every penny counts, this strategy can lead to significant savings on your holiday purchases, letting you celebrate without straining your wallet.

  23. Try Potluck Gatherings
  24. Cut down on the cost and effort of holiday feasts by organizing potluck-style gatherings. Encourage each guest to bring a dish, spreading out the expenses and labour among friends and family. This not only makes your holiday celebrations more affordable but also adds variety and a sense of community to your festive table. Plus, it’s a fun way to enjoy a feast of diverse flavours and family favourites!

  • Bonus tip
  • Start saving for next Christmas in January. The holidays are a lot more manageable if you’ve been putting away money each month instead of trying to come up with it all in November and December.


This is an infographic titled "12 Tips for Christmas Savings". It has a festive theme with snowflakes and Christmas trees in the background, and each tip is presented on a dark green oval with a large red number wearing a Santa hat. The tips are as follows: 1. Play a gift-giving game, 2. Set a spending limit, 3. Make a list, 4. Stick to cash, 5. Give your time, 6. Re-gift, 7. Donate, 8. Get crafty, 9. Gift experiences, 10. Send e-cards, 11. Use price tracking tools, and 12. Try potluck gatherings. At the bottom, there's a URL: moneymenotrs.ca, suggesting this is a resource provided by Money Mentors. The purpose of the infographic is to provide viewers with creative ideas to save money during the Christmas season.


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