8 tips to help you save on holiday shopping

woman putting money in piggy bank
OCCU  -  11.17.2023

The holiday season is upon us. From gift-giving to holiday décor, winter comes with extra costs that aren’t included in your monthly budget. With these eight simple tips, you can tackle holiday costs and enjoy a fabulous season without breaking the bank.  

1. Start saving up  

One of the easiest ways to start saving for the holiday season is by setting aside your extra change. With the Change Jar feature on your OCCU checking account, all your purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the change is put into your savings account automatically. With virtually no effort on your part, your savings will add up quickly! And while it may be too late to get started this holiday season, you can make a resolution to prioritize saving. Don’t have an OCCU savings account? Open an Ignite Savings account today and start earning more in the new year.  

2. Make a list and check it twice  

Before you start shopping, jot down every person you’ll be buying a gift for this season, and how much you intend to spend on each gift. Making a list will help you build a realistic budget and prevent overbuying.  

3. Build a holiday budget  

Once you have your list of gift recipients, build a budget to determine how much you can spend on each person and stay within your means. And don’t forget the expenses that aren’t gift-related. Will you be travelling? How many giant inflatables do you want to add to your front yard menagerie this year? Are you the type to recycle gift bags, or do you buy new ones every year? Our holiday budget calculator will help you stay on track for all your seasonal spending.  

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4. Make sure the price is right  

Instead of buying gifts on the spot, shop around. Compare prices online as well as in-store before making the purchase. You may be able to find a similar gift for less by skipping brand names. Take advantage of sales when you can, shop local when you can and don’t give in to impulse purchases.  

5. Put your personality into it  

DIY gifts and décor give a personal touch to the holidays — and are typically less expensive. Try looking online for DIY tutorials for things like homemade frames, wreaths or baked goods to give as gifts.  

6. Redeem your reward points  

If you’re an OCCU credit card holder, you can earn points redeemable for merchandise, travel, gift cards or statement credit. Check the balance of any reward cards you may have and consider cashing them in to use for gifts or to supplement your holiday budget.    

7. Throw a gift exchange  

If your budget doesn’t allow for giving gifts to all your friends and family, try a gift exchange. Put all the names of your family members in a hat and have each person draw one name.  Or, if you’re feeling dangerous, plan a white elephant (aka a Yankee swap) and let your friends and family battle it out over the most coveted gifts. Either way, everyone will only have to buy one gift and you can spread the spirit of savings around.  

8. Give into regifting (we won’t tell)  

Think about things you bought but haven’t yet used. Whether you’ve been holding onto a painting you bought on a whim or an unopened kitchen appliance, unused items may be better off as gifts.