Christmas is just the most wonderful time of the year. I love the rich traditions, food, time with family, the candlelight church service on Christmas Eve… and yes, the shopping and giving of gifts. <3 Whether it’s a good or bad thing, many of us spend more time thinking about and shopping for gifts than anything else during the holiday season!

Even with COVID-19 bah humbugging the mood, shoppers are expected to spend $1,387. For some, that’s enough to blow our budgets if we aren’t careful.


Here are some tips for those who are trying to curb their spending this holiday shopping season:

  • Save ahead of time… and only spend what you saved!
  • Don’t shop with your credit card
  • Shop early
  • Consider a new family gift exchange system

Let’s break these down!


1) Save ahead of time… and only spend what you saved!

Save yourself the pain. Don’t start holiday shopping blind. Set yourself a budget for how much you are willing and able to spend. Let’s say it’s $1,000. Save that money ahead of time and set it aside for shopping later! Trust me, when you know you have the money already set aside and planned for, it makes shopping so much more fun!

Consider opening a separate savings account just for gift giving. Transfer $100/mo into that account. If you don’t quite meet your savings goal, then only allow yourself to spend what you did save. I have tips on using savings accounts HERE.

2) Don’t shop with your credit card

Personally, I enjoy shopping with a credit card because I earn rewards. Not only that, but I diligently check my statements. By reviewing my past month’s purchases, I remind myself and keep myself accountable for my purchases.

However, some experts suggest that we spend less money when we use cash as no one likes to see the cash in their wallets dwindle. Also, if you leave your credit card at home, you are forced to only spend whatever cash you brought.

Consider which option is best for you! Just ensure you don’t forget to pay your credit card bill…

3) Shop early

Say it’s December 23rd. The family’s Christmas party is tomorrow. You are in desperation mode. You start grabbing items off the shelf without too much consideration of the cost because you need to buy something.

Don’t let this be you this year!

Shopping early allows you to keep your eyes out for great deals and can lower your stress level! It also gives you plenty of time to find the perfect gift!

Gift giving has not always been my forte, but I am trying to adopt this principle: keep your eye out for gifts throughout the year. When you hear a friend talk about something they like or wish they had, write it down so you don’t forget!

Also, not all gifts must be new. Finding retro gifts from someone’s past can be so meaningful whether it’s old books, antique toys, or a unique piece for their collection. There is a huge community of sellers who compile unique finds ready for your easy online purchase.

4) Consider a new family gift exchange system

My husband comes from a big family. There are 6 “kids” and 2 more married in (a new sibling is soon to join us – congrats again on your engagement Rob and Connie!). Not to mention the 5 sweet nieces and nephews. It’s a lot of people to shop for.

So, we are experimenting with a gift exchange system where each person is only expected to give gifts to 2 other siblings. We used to set up a random name draw. So far, it seems to be working pretty well!

Not only should this make holiday shopping a little more affordable, it should give us all more time to focus on finding more useful or meaningful gifts.


While gift giving is a lovely tradition that can be very meaningful, it is NOT the most important part about the holidays. Enjoy the shopping, the smile when someone opens your gifts, and even the pleasure of receiving gifts yourself. But root yourself in the knowledge that Christmas is more so an important time to celebrate the Savior, cherish friends and family, and focus on bringing light and joy to the world. And you don’t need money to do any of those things. 😊

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!