24 Money-Saving Hacks For The Holidays

So you don’t have to cry in January when all the bills come.

1. Repurpose used potato chip bags as gift wrap.

It sounds weird, but they make attractive wrap once turned inside out, washed, and dried.

They make great gift bags as well, if you want to put even less effort into wrapping.

2. Get to know your Christmas trees.

Balsam and Douglas firs are the most affordable, while Nordman and Turkish firs break the bank. Pro tip: Get the Douglas. It smells like Christmas.

3. Put off buying a tree as long as possible.

Prices tumble the closer it gets to Christmas, especially if you’re willing to haggle.

4. Book your flight either before the first week in November or Dec. 4–10.

Robert Pearce / Flickr: 45535660@N00

According to Travelocity, these are when prices are lowest. Of course, waiting until December is risky because most flights will be full.

5. Download the ShopSavvy app.

Simply scan a potential gift’s barcode with your phone and the app will tell you if you can find the gift for less elsewhere. Get it here.

6. If you find an item for less, show the store manager.

Bata Films / Shady Milkman Productions

Even if it’s a price you found on your smartphone, they might be willing to price match.

7. Get reduced-price gift cards.

Visit Gift Card Granny to find gift cards at up to 35% less than their value.

8. Send holiday postcards instead of cards.

Postage on a postcard is 33 cents versus 46 cents for a card, and you’ll also save money by not buying envelopes.

9. Or better yet send holiday eCards.

It’s almost 2014! ECards are OK! Find The Office eCards here.

10. When signing up for things, put down your birthday as being in December so you get free stuff around that time.

NBC

Places like Sephora give you free things on your birthday, and they make great stocking stuffers. Other companies might give you a special discount.

[source: Reddit]

11. Shop for off-season items.

Outdoor grills and air conditioning units, for example, are often heavily discounted during the holidays.

12. Take advantage of groceries sales right after Thanksgiving.

Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

You’ll be making a lot of similar dishes like turkey and pumpkin-based desserts, so may as well get that stuff on sale if you’ve got room in the freezer.

13. Buy your Christmas decorations and wrapping paper the week AFTER Christmas, when they’re on sale.

Christmas decorations don’t really go out of style. Just buy them after Christmas and save them for the next year.

Pro tip: Get solar-powered Christmas lights if you’re decorating outdoors. You’ll save on electricity bills.

14. Seek out free entertainment.

OK, so you won’t be able to see The Beatles, but there’s tons of free entertainment to be found around the holidays.

15. Give the gift of service.

Are you an awesome photographer? If so, gift your weird uncle a free photo session with his doll collection. And one gift any parent could use is an overnight babysitter. Basically, if you have a skill, it can be a gift.

16. Get the Honey browser plugin.

Honey makes sure you get the best possible deal when shopping online by adding coupon codes from around the Internet at the time of checkout. Sweet!

17. Ship gifts using flat-rate boxes.

“If it fits, it ships for one low price” is the slogan for the Postal Service’s flat-rate boxes, which allow you to ship up to 70 pounds anywhere in the United States.

18. Snag-free shipping.

Check out FreeShipping.org, which has the lowdown on free shipping deals, or wait until Free Shipping Day on Dec. 18 to shop.

19. Call long-distance relatives using Google Voice.

Make a yearly long-distance call to Aunt Ethel to discuss her medical ailments? Try Google Voice — it’s free even to Ethel’s landline. Get started here.

20. Make your Christmas party a potluck.

People always offer to bring something, so let them.

21. Buy some presents after the holidays.

If you’re not going to see a family member or friend until after the big day, take advantage of post-holiday sales.

22. Sublet your home or apartment.

If you’re going away for the holidays you may be able to sublet your place. Check out Airbnb, a worldwide network that makes hosting your home safe and easy.

23. Arrange with your family not to exchange gifts, especially if everyone has kids.

Shutterstock

Limit the gift giving for just the kids since they’re the ones who get really excited about presents. You could also do a Secret Santa for the adults, so each person only has to buy one present.

24. Join Amazon Prime for a free 30-day trial in December.

This will give you free two-day shipping for any of Amazon’s “Prime eligible” bounty, and if you cancel before the 30 days are up it’s totally free. Of course, if you keep Prime it’s an awesome service that only costs $79 per year. Sign up here.

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