How to “Find” Holiday Money

It’s already the end of November and for many, myself included, that means holiday shopping. From holiday gifts to decorations to food for the family table, all the festivities can really add up. The good news is that even retailers have not been immune to the downslide of the economy and are now working hard to lure in consumer cash with great sales. The reality is, though, that no matter how great those sales are, they still come with a price tag. If you’re like me, you’re already finding yourself strapped to make the day-to-day ends meet. The idea of affording the kind of holiday you want may leave you feeling a bit helpless. Rather than list different ways to make the holiday great without spending a great deal or providing ideas for less expensive gift giving (all topics to be covered in upcoming articles, for sure), I’ll focus entirely on where and how you can “find” money to help with those holiday expenses.

Do good for yourself, your home and your wallet

Why wait for next year to do Spring cleaning? Clear out books you’ve already enjoyed, CDs you never listen to anymore and movies you’ve already watched and sell them either to a reseller, on Craig’s List or on eBay. You’ll feel good about cleaning the house, your home will immediately feel more spacious and you’ll end up with a bit of extra cash in your pocket.

Keep your receipts, watch the ads and take advantage of price adjustment policies

Gone is Black Friday. This year, with the economic decline taking a toll everywhere, retailers may as well have invented “Black November and December.” It seems each week bigger and better deals are being offered on a wide variety of great items. If you’re worried about picking something up now for fear it will be offered for a cheaper price later, don’t be. Most retailers have existing price adjustment policies. Simply keep your receipt and you can snag a great item now and guarantee the smallest price, even later on.

Consider buying gifts in bulk to free up money for other holiday expenses

It’s no secret that buying in bulk can save money. The same principal can be applied to gift-giving as well. Think “divide and conquer.” Visit a warehouse store, purchase multiple gifts at one time in one package and simply divide them and repackage. Warehouse stores have gone to great lengths to meet the special needs of frugal-minded gift-givers. From multi-packs of gift cards to bags of gourmet coffee to wonderful bath and beauty products, when you purchase in quantity you needn’t skimp on quality to save money.

Go green to find more green

Rather than spending money to pay for wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, save the cash to spend elsewhere and instead opt for recycled packaging or skip it entirely. Beautify a brown lunch bag with rubber stamps an a bit of glitter. For small packages, use the aluminum foil you already have in your drawer. Create pretty pom-poms out of yarn and use them to trim packages. It may be what’s inside that counts, but “going green” when it comes to gift wrap doesn’t mean they can’t be just as fun and festive looking, too.

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

2 Responses to “How to “Find” Holiday Money”

  1. SavingEverything |  Nov 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    “How to Find Holiday Money”? Just walk around the parking lot of the malls and stores this holiday season. You can probably find some neat gadgets, junk, pens, and maybe a penny or dime.

  2. aurther11 |  Nov 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    The piggy bank might be a bit depleted but you still want a holiday. And, judging by the results of recent surveys, you will probably find a way to take one. Australians continue to prioritise travel, with research showing the economic downturn has had limited impact on travel plans (see panel, right).

    One way of finding the money for a holiday in tough times is to look for ways to spread the cost of your trip.
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    Instead of forking out hundreds or thousands of dollars in one hit, you can often break it up into chunks over several months, or more.

    Adventure travel operator Kumuka Worldwide has recognised an opportunity, with a new payment plan allowing travellers to pay for their trips in monthly instalments. There are no financial penalties for paying this way, making it a useful way to spread the cost (the final balance must be paid 60 days prior to departure).