Simple ways to save during the holidays

You don't need anyone to tell you that the holidays are a costly time of year. It turns out they're costly in more ways than one. If you're enjoying the holidays with some shopping and gift wrapping and perhaps a fresh Christmas tree, you’re also be contributing to the 25 percent increase in waste production this country experiences from Thanksgiving to New Year's ( That represents approximately 25 tons of extra waste. If plan to do lots of shopping and spending this year, you’ll probably need some tips on how to save money and the environment! Below are five ways you can save some green by going green this holiday season.

Save your newspaper and weekly mailings. Using your newspaper as gift wrap is one of the many ways to reuse the paper in your newspaper. You won’t have to purchase any additional wrapping paper, and you’re recycling.

Use reusable bags when shopping. You can only imagine how many shopping bags and pieces of tissue paper end up in landfills and rivers every year. Some areas have even developed laws that require stores to charge you for paper or plastic bags, and some stores give you a small refund if you use reusable bags. This year, choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags to save money and the environment.

Send e-cards. In addition to shopping bags, greeting cards also contribute a lot to landfills during the holidays. Online services allow you to save money on postage and reduce paper waste at the same time. 

Unplug your holiday lights during the day. Unplugging your lights can decrease your electric bill and energy usage. Plus, you’ll increase the life of your light bulbs so you will have to buy lights less frequently, contributing less waste and more to your wallet.

And last, but definitely not least- Regift! Regifting is a great way to save money and the environment during the holidays. Just make sure you use proper regifting etiquette

Do you have more ideas on how to save during the holidays? Please share in the comments section.

This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted in December 2010.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.