Start a Holiday Savings Tradition with Your Family

by Contributor

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, gifts and extravagant feasts. How can you and your family enjoy the holidays without suffering the inevitable New Year lament? Start a new holiday tradition of saving money. Try the tips below to plan a fun, family-oriented holiday celebration that will not only save you money, but also get the whole family involved.

Do a holiday gift swap with friends: Gather toys and clothes that are in great condition but that your kids have outgrown or stopped using. Make sure to clean and sanitize them then swap them with friends to give to your kids. Many kids, especially little ones, won’t care or even realize the toy isn’t brand new.

Send an e-card: Create a video holiday card. Instead of spending the money on buying and mailing all of those holiday cards, create a fun, short video and upload it to YouTube. Send the link around to your friends. It’s a great use for the video camera you received two holidays ago and your friends and family will be thrilled! Not to mention, it’s a great project for the little ones while they’re home on winter vacation.

Check your shopping list twice:

  • Just because a gift item is on sale doesn’t mean that you’ll save money. Be sure to do price comparisons between brands and stores, and don’t forget to check online.
  • Always be sure to take into account taxes, shipping fees, or baggage fees if booking a plane ticket before making your decision. [See: Save Money on Airline Tickets, and How to Get the Best Deal with Priceline for more money saving travel tips].
  • Most of all, make sure your kids actually want the gift – there’s no use in buying something 25 percent off if they won’t even use it!

By including your children in the decision making this holiday season, you’ll not only save money, but begin teaching them lifelong lessons in financial literacy and responsible decision making. For tips on how to talk to your kids about savings year-round, explore the free online resource for parents called Junior Achievement $ave, USA. The lessons are sponsored by The Allstate Foundation and can serve as a great learning tool for children, teens and parents.

About Junior Achievement® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 137 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million students served by operations in 123 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit

By Dr. John Box, Senior Vice President of Education, JA Worldwide

Published or updated December 12, 2009.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kyle

I like the toy swap idea. There are so many kids on our street and they are all of varying ages. I am pretty sure we could swing this suggestion and get some pretty cool toys for free.

I hadn’t heard of the Junior Achievement site before I will have to check it out.


2 Ryan

I thought the toy swap was a good idea as well. Our daughter isn’t old enough to understand Christmas yet, but this is somehting we will keep in mind for the coming years. 🙂


3 Hank

Shop for holiday gifts and decorations after Christmas….

Growing up, my mother and I used to love collecting Hallmark Christmas ornaments. Instead of paying full price, we had our own Christmas tradition of waking up early and buying them half off on the 26th. It was always a fun time, we saved money, and it is a graet bonding family tradition we still talk about to this day.


4 John Lanza

I think the toy gift swap is such a terrific idea. My wife does this with her moms group and it’s always a big hit. I know that kids will love doing the same because they love getting new stuff. We may even try it this year.



5 Moneyblogger1

Great tips! I always seem to get caught up in the holiday season and go over budget. The only time I don’t is with secret Santa, I do this with my nephews and close friends to help save money. We put a spending limit on the present and then enjoy each other company when every one opens their presents.


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