How to Save Money During the Holidays: The Procrastinator's Edition
For many of us, November and December kick off a season of celebrating, family, feasting, and yes…spending. The holidays are a chance to make memories, but this can also be a time of financial stress—especially if you wait until the last minute to make plans. And let’s be honest: with high interest rates and student loan payments resuming, many of us are justified in our resistance to spend. We don't want you accruing any holiday debt, so let's jump into a few tips on how to save money during the holidays!
Comparison Shop: Last minute flights or hotel plans? Compare discount sites (like Hopper and Kayak) against airline and hotel sites which may offer promotional discounts if you book direct. You can also compare the cost of one-way tickets, which can be cheaper than round-trip fare. 😉
Flexible Dates & Times: Flying a day earlier or later can significantly reduce the cost of your tickets. Likewise, pay attention to departure times. Early morning or red-eye takeoffs (versus afternoon flights) can trim as much as $100-$200 per ticket.
Alternate Airports: When searching for holiday flights, be sure to include other airports within your filter parameters. Sometimes flying into or out of a smaller airport (even on one leg of the trip) can reduce your total checkout cost.
Bundle Deals: Do you need a rental car or hotel in addition to your flight? Many travel sites offer discounted rates if you book everything together—this one-stop-shop approach also saves you planning time.
Reward Points: If you have accumulated frequent flyer miles or credit card reward points, now is the time to cash in on them. They can trim your travel expenses or even cover the cost of a flight. Btw, did you know you can earn American Airlines AAdvantage Points® with a CashBack Checking Account?1
DIY Gifts: Thoughtful gifts don’t require a ton of cash or expert crafting. You can still embrace the Christmas gift-giving philosophy with a video tribute, photo book or curated snack basket for the sweet tooth, coffee lover or home baker in your life.
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.
Opt for an Outing: Gifts aren’t the only way to connect during the holidays. Boost your financial health and suggest a group experience you can enjoy together. Whether it’s a holiday performance or a festive exhibit, experiences are so often what make a season memorable.
Secret Santa: Instead of buying gifts for every one of your family members and friends, throw names in a hat and draw a single person to buy for. This is great for families with grown kids who might not need a tree full of presents.
💡 Take our holiday savings advice: a calculator can help you figure out where to put your paychecks!
The 50/30/20 rule recommends you to put 50% of your monthly income toward your needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings.
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 entrée, complete the meal with less costly side dishes like roasted vegetables or rolls.
Potluck Dinners: Make your savings account happy by hosting 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 trying to save money 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. In lieu of a lavish meal, donate or volunteer at your local food bank and encourage others to join you.
And, as you shop, remember a few tricks for saving money at the grocery store.
Extra Holiday Help ❤️❄️
Does holiday spending have you feeling stressed? We've got you.
1. Call in for some 1-on-1, free and confidential assistance. Our partner GreenPath can help you pay down debt, create a sustainable budget, and connect you to free financial courses.
This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only.
1 Terms and conditions apply, click here for details. CashBack Checking does not carry a monthly fee if member is enrolled in eStatements. For members who prefer paper statements, a $2 monthly fee will be assessed to their account, except for those members over the age of 65 or 17 years of age and younger. Minimum balance requirements. In order to earn the disclosed APY, you must maintain a balance at least equal to $5,000.00 in your account each day. If interest is accrued, payment will be reflected in member’s monthly statements.