Ah the holidays! They are one of my most favorite times of year. I love the decorations, food, movies, traditions and gift giving! Growing up my mom and I would plan out how we’d decorate the house each year. We’d spend time getting inspiration, making decorations and putting everything together. I also loovveeddd gift gifting! I really loved hand making gifts and picking out special items for those I loved. As much as I’ve always loved the holidays, I know they can be very busy and an expensive time of year. Over the years I’ve learned money saving tips that are useful for the holidays. With a love for gift giving, having worked in retail and having been a college student, I’ve picked up a lot of frugal holiday shopping tips!

Gift Giving:

Gift giving is one of my most favorite parts of the holidays! It’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid. I’ve always put a lot of thought in to gift giving and it’s something that’s fun for me. I haven’t always had the budget to spend a lot on gifts which has made me get creative with my gift giving. These are tips that you can use for gift giving during the holiday season.


Holiday Shopping:

Purchase Gifts Year-Round:

This is one of my best tips which involves some advance thought and planning. I will periodically come across gifts throughout the year and will purchase things during a sale or when I find a good deal.

Not only does this give me time to find gifts at a better price point, but it also spreads out my spending throughout the year as opposed to all at once. It’s better on your wallet and it helps eliminate that rush during the holidays to shop for everyone on your list!

Plan Your Shopping in Advance:

The closer you wait to the holidays, the more products you’ll find marked down along with good deals. When I used to work retail, I’d oftentimes save my shopping for the weeks leading up to the holidays. I knew my family’s style, interests and clothing sizes very well. So I’d purposely wait closer to the holidays as I’d find the new items that came out around Thanksgiving were on sale with an additional percentage off in the weeks leading up to the holidays. So I got an even better discount in comparison to what I would have spent during Black Friday.

This tip is doable if you have the flexibility and time. You run the risk of the items selling out before you can purchase them, but if you’re good about regularly checking out those items online, then you’ll be able to get greater discounts.

Tip: Keep items in a list of bookmarks to access them quick and easily. Also, sign up for emails from the stores you’re shopping at so you’re alerted when there’s a sale.

Navigating Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

Plan, plan, plan! Go in to these sales with a game plan. Nowadays the sales during Cyber Monday are just as good as the deals on Black Friday. A lot of the same sales carryover from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. With both days being just as big of shopping events, most deals from Black Friday can still be found on Cyber Monday and you’ll even find some new items for the Cyber Monday sale.

If you do some online or in-store shopping on Black Friday, I’d definitely purchase it and not bank on finding a better deal. Most stores will match a price change within a week or two. So if you happen to shop a few times within a couple of weeks and find an item additionally marked down, it’s worth a shot seeing if a store can give you a credit or partial refund.

Don’t go crazy just because there’s tons of sales out there. Stick to your list, don’t be tempted to overbuy because of the deals and know you will definitely find more deals leading up to the holidays. I used to work retail and we often ran sales that were comparable to our Black Friday deals leading up to the holidays. We didn’t have the same discount but we’d offer discounts at the same percentage from Black Friday on specific products and product categories. So don’t worry, Black Friday will not be the only time to shop.

Buy Vintage Gifts:

I’ve bought beautiful vintage gifts online for a fraction of the cost of a brand new item. I personally love vintage pieces as they’re unique and likely no one else will have them. They can be especially special for the right individuals. Buying vintage is not only good for the environment, but it can be good for your wallet.

Where to buy:

  • Vintage Stores
  • Etsy
  • Amazon

Handmade Presents:

I’ve always felt that handmade gifts are extra special. They come from the heart and they’re truly one-of-a-kind. As a kid I made a lot of handmade gifts, even as I’ve gotten older I’ve really enjoyed making homemade gifts. Making gifts can be very affordable and a very fun activity.

Make Homemade Gifts:

There are all kinds of homemade gifts you can make. They can range from simple to elaborate. I’ve made things such as knitted scarves, body products, homemade tea lights, jewelry and more over the years. These are a few gift ideas to get you started:

* Embroidered Tie

* Handmade stationary

Batch Create Gifts:

Save money and time by making the same select gifts for everyone. To make them unique you can personalize them for each individual which will make them even more special. This will save time as you can spend a weekend making your special gifts. It’ll be easier and cheaper since you’ll be using the same materials and you won’t need to learn a new process for creating each item. You may even be able to batch process some of the gifts.

Make Your Own Gift Wrap:

Gift wrap can be costly. I loveeee a beautifully wrapped gift, but let’s be real, the wrapping lasts for about two seconds before the recipient tears it off.

This year, opt for making your own gift wrap with supplies you have around your house. Not only is it fun, but it’s even more thoughtful as you can get creative and customize the wrapping according to those you’re gifting to.

I personally love a more natural and organic gift wrap. In the past my family has used brown craft paper which is pretty cheap. You could even use brown grocery bags and turn them inside out. If you’re concerned about the lines, you could use an iron on the lowest setting and lightly smooth out the lines. Make sure you continuously lift the iron up off the paper to allow it to cool between each pressing. These are some other ideas for gift wrap and items to use for decoration:

Gift wrap paper:

  • Craft paper
  • Newspaper
  • Brown grocery bag
  • Magazine pages
  • Tissue paper
  • Saved gift boxes

Gift wrap toppers:

  • Twine
  • Saved ribbons and bows
  • Handmade bow from paper
  • Natural materials such as greenery
  • Glitter
  • Paint
  • Washi tape
  • Sharpies
  • Photographs


Some might find this tacky, but if it’s an item you’ve held on to for a while, have never used and have no intention of using, I think it’s no problem gifting the item to someone who would truly appreciate it. As long as you know the person who gifted you the item isn’t keeping tabs on it and there’s no connection between the person who gave you the item and the person you’re gifting it to, I don’t think there should be an issue.

I oftentimes hold on to things for sentimental value. However, if it’s an item that you think someone else would love that isn’t quite your taste, I think it’s the perfect way to find a new home for it.

Skip Out on Holiday Parties:

Perhaps you find that a lot of your money is spent on attending or hosting holiday parties. I find nothing wrong with this if it’s something you truly enjoy. After all, spending time with others is what the holidays are all about. If you find yourself reluctantly accepting invites out of obligation, stop that habit and learn to say no! It’s okay to say no, you don’t need to accept every single invite that comes your way.

Have an optional work party or an a friend of a friend‘s annual party you’re not too keen on attending? Skip out on them! If you’re out, you’re likely going to spend money on drinks, food and maybe even a gift for the host. Don’t feel guilty saying no to holiday get togethers. You only have so much time and money during the holidays, so choose to spend both on the things that truly matter.

Quick Recap:

  • Purchase gifts year-round.
  • Plan your shopping in advance.
  • Prepare a list before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Buy vintage gifts.
  • Make homemade gifts.
    • Batch create gifts.
  • Make your own gift wrap.
  • Re-gift.
  • Skip out on holiday parties.

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