15 Really Simple Strategies for Saving Money During the Holidays

saving money during the holidays

Are you looking for the best ways of saving money during the holidays? Holiday gifts for clients, employee bonuses, tips for service providers, holiday parties — that’s all extra spending. On top of that, if you are in retail or manufacturing, you may have needed to stock up on inventory and extra materials to meet customer demands. You also may be making capital purchases in order to maximize deductions in this tax year.

Some businesses, though, see year-end spending as an investment in their businesses. In fact, 40 percent of small business owners are planning for an uptick in business performance this holiday season compared to last year according to a recent survey by Ink from Chase.

But you don’t have to spend insane amounts of money in order to reap the benefits of the holiday season. Here are 15 simple tips you can use to save money on holiday business expenses.

1. Set an Early Budget for Business Gifts — and Stick With It

saving money during the holidays

Gifts are a controllable expense. Start by setting your overall budget for customer gifts and cash tips for service providers. Overspending often results from not setting a budget and instead leaving the amounts open-ended.

Some recipients even have limits to the value of gifts they can accept, so do some research. Remember that business gifts are often about the gesture more than how much you spend.

2. Shop Early to Save Money

Be sure to plan out business gifts early enough so that you can shop creatively and take advantage of sales. Nothing kills a budget faster than last-minute desperation spending and rush shipping charges.

Also, spread out your expenses as much as possible by buying some gifts early and some later.

3. Use a Business Credit Card

saving money during the holidays

When you need to make extra purchases, why not use those purchases to earn rewards? A business credit card such as Ink from Chase allows you to accumulate points that you can then use to reinvest in your business.

In fact, Ink offers increased points for some of the things that businesses purchase the most. The card offers five times the rewards on mobile phone, internet and cable service, and office supplies. It also offers two points per dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants and hotels, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Best part of all, since Ink offers flexible rewards you can use these points for travel, gift cards or cash back, to name a few.

4. Use Credit Card Points to Purchase Business Gifts

In addition, your business credit card could help you cover the cost of some of holiday gifts. If you’ve used your business credit card to make purchases throughout the rest of the year, you should already have some points that are ready to be redeemed. The holiday season can be the perfect time to do just that.

Gift cards are common holiday gifts, so consider using your points to purchase these for giving to employees or service providers as gifts. This can help you offset some of the added cost of the season and redeem some of the points you’ve accumulated during the year.

5. Look for Bulk Discounts

Whether ordering gifts, inventory or extra supplies, you can often find discounts when buying in bulk. Particularly during the holidays, you often have to buy more of everything. So shop around to see which providers offer bulk discounts for the items you need most.

6. Consider Sending e-Cards

In addition to gifts, you likely have a holiday card list for clients and customers. Mailing these cards can be another added expense of the season, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of sending traditional cards, which require money and postage, consider sending e-cards instead.

Particularly if you do most of your business online, sending e-cards can be just as effective and far less costly. Just be sure that your message is appropriate and you still send gifts to the necessary people.

7. Think Ahead to Next Year

Directly after the holidays, many retailers offer huge discounts on holiday items. This means that you can get a head start on buying things like cards, decorations and entertainment supplies for the following season. You can save money overall using this method. And if your business usually experiences a bump in sales over the holidays, this can be a very cost-effective way to use those extra profits.

8. Leverage Holiday Promotions for Essentials

During the holidays, many suppliers and vendors offer promotions or special deals. Keep an eye out for these, and stock up on essentials for your business. It could be anything from office supplies to packaging materials. Capitalizing on these promotions can lead to significant savings.

9. Reuse and Recycle Decorations

saving money during the holidays

Instead of purchasing new decorations every year, consider reusing the previous year’s decorations or sourcing gently-used items. This not only saves money but is also environmentally friendly.

10. Opt for DIY

saving money during the holidays

For holiday parties or decorations, consider doing it yourself. DIY projects can be more cost-effective than buying ready-made items. Plus, they add a personal touch that can resonate more with clients and employees.

11. Collaborate with Neighboring Businesses

Collaborate with nearby businesses to share the costs of holiday decorations or promotional events. This promotes community spirit and can also lead to shared customers during the festive se

12. Limit Holiday Bonuses

While it’s generous to give bonuses, consider offering other non-monetary rewards to employees. These could be extra vacation days, vouchers for experiences, or other thoughtful gestures that may cost less but hold significant value.

13. Implement a Gift Exchange System

saving money during the holidays

Instead of purchasing individual gifts for every employee, consider implementing a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange. This allows everyone to receive a gift while keeping individual costs down.

14. Review Last Year’s Expenses

Take time to go over your expenses from the previous year’s holiday season. By identifying where the most money was spent, you can pinpoint areas for potential savings this year.

Here are some tips:

  • Analyze Major Expenditures: Start by looking at the most significant costs from the previous year. Were there any one-time big-ticket items or unexpected expenses?
  • Categorize Expenses: Break down your expenses into categories such as gifts, food, travel, and decorations. This will help you see where the bulk of your money went.
  • Spot Patterns: Did you find yourself making multiple trips to the store for forgotten items? Or maybe splurging on last-minute gifts? Recognizing these patterns can help you plan better this year.
  • Evaluate Necessities vs. Luxuries: Determine which expenses were essential and which were extra treats. Knowing this can help you prioritize your spending.

15. Minimize Holiday Overhead with Remote Work

Given the increasing shift towards remote work, consider whether your business can operate effectively with more employees working from home during the festive season. This could result in reduced overhead costs related to utilities, office supplies, and potential holiday-related office maintenance.

Save Money During the Holidays Checklist

Money Saving StrategyDone?
Set an Early Budget for Business Gifts — and Stick With It
Shop Early to Save Money
Use a Business Credit Card
Use Credit Card Points to Purchase Business Gifts
Look for Bulk Discounts
Consider Sending e-Cards
Think Ahead to Next Year
Leverage Holiday Promotions for Essentials
Reuse and Recycle Decorations
Opt for DIY
Collaborate with Neighboring Businesses
Limit Holiday Bonuses
Implement a Gift Exchange System
Review Last Year’s Expenses
Minimize Holiday Overhead with Remote Work


Money Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.