Holiday Savings Tips

Real Simple has 25 tips to help save money during the holidays, and we like a few of them. Our favorites:

Calculate the extras. When you’re figuring your gift costs, don’t forget to include taxes, gift wrapping, and shipping charges in the amount you’ve set aside. Less than 21 percent of consumers include those expenses when planning their holiday shopping, according to Visa USA research. Adding $15, plus state and local tax, to the cost of each item will help you stay within your budget.


Think flat.
For last-minute gifts, buy books, DVDs, CDs, gift cards, gloves, and scarves — anything that fits in a U.S. Postal Service flat-rate envelope. Sending them by two-day Priority Mail, which can technically be used until midnight on December 22 (though most post offices close at 5 p.m.), costs $3.85; next-day-delivery Express Mail, which can technically be used until midnight, December 23, costs $13.65.

One tip we don’t like: We’re not big fans of buying stock certificates for kids. Yes, the paper may say Atari, but really. No kid wants that. Just get the kid a jump rope or a baseball or something if you’re cheap. Fight childhood obesity.—MEGHANN MARCO

25 Ways to Save During the Holidays [Real Simple]


Edit Your Comment

  1. georget99 says:

    Priority Mail is not guaranteed 2 day delivery. Something sent out on December 22 would probably arrive some time between December 27th and 29th.

    The flat rate envelope is now $4.05. There are also 2 flat rate boxes which are $8.10 to any destination up to 70 pounds.

  2. homerjay says:

    And with only 4 days left, the timing of this post is perfect! :)

  3. flyover says:

    I’m making a mix CD for each of my gift recipients (in addition to other gifts).

    Personal, cheap, homemade, and flat.

  4. sassenach says:


  5. LocalYokel says:

    “We’re not big fans of buying stock certificates for kids”

    Or if you are going to get them bond certificates, make sure that they mature at an appropriate time.

    My wife got bond certificates from grand parents every year that she could use “for college”. Well, she graduated last week from a four year college. The bond certificates won’t mature for another five years.

    And I’m sure that a $20 toy would have been enjoyed much more than the $30 she’ll get when she’s 27 and has a career.

  6. frugalguy says:

    saving money for me… shopping online… if I can find what I want.. no tax .. free shipping.. lowest price… I’ve won…. I RSS the major deal sites with feedreader and watch the deals roll across as I work on other stuff. Make sure you RSS from slickdeals, crazytowndeals, and bensbargains they all find good stuff there… also use