5 Money Expert Tips for the Holidays to Save on Gifting and Travel

How do you prepare financially for the holidays? Follow this savvy advice for less stress (and more savings).

Many people go all out on gifts, travel, and gatherings during the holidays. While the idea of an indulgent holiday season is exciting, the budgeting and logistics aspect is more overwhelming. We tapped a few money experts to find out how they get into the holiday spirit without getting into financial trouble. Read what these three pros do to save on stress and learn their money-saving tips for the holidays.

01 of 05

Give Experiences, Not Gifts

Family Preparing a Meal Together Around the Table, Child Wearing a Santa Hat
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"Our house is just way too cluttered...This year, I'm asking for gifts to help streamline my life, like a monthly recipe subscription, for example.  It's not going to add clutter, but it's going to be fun and enjoyable for my family to all cook together. I'm also planning on getting gifts like that for my kids: What are meaningful subscriptions (like a zoo pass) that aren't going to add to our house clutter but still make them happy?" —Kimberly Palmer, credit card and personal finance expert at NerdWallet

"We actually don't do physical gift exchanges, even with my kids. So we've always focused on experiences—what I call presence with a C over presents with a T." —Heather Greenwood Davis, travel journalist and founder of international, family travel blog globetrottingmama.com

02 of 05

Don't Wait for Deals

Group of Four Children Opening Christmas Gifts With Confetti Popping Out
Getty Images / Frank and Helena

"...[I] usually tell parents that they're going to find better deals in December or mid-December on some of those toys, especially as retailers start marking down prices to clear the inventory before it becomes irrelevant. [Some years], those rules go out the window. You want to start shopping early and especially for those specific toys (like Lego, Hatchimals, and LOL Dolls) that your kids have on their wishlist. One easy way I get discounts is just to ask. Ask the sales rep or the person in the online chat box if they have coupons—it's worked many times for me." —Andrea Woroch, consumer spending expert

03 of 05

Think Internationally

gift box isolated on pink and red background with a white airplane next to it
Getty Images

"We're seeing some great rates for international travel during the holidays...and there are a few things I think people can do to make sure that they're getting a deal. First is to use an incognito browser (this lets you shop without those internet tracker cookies). So if you shop sort of undercover for your flights, you're often going to find some of those deals. Also, avoid booking towards the end of the week. Thursday or Friday will not be as good as booking, say, on a Tuesday or a Wednesday." —Heather Greenwood Davis, travel journalist and founder of international, family travel blog globetrottingmama.com

04 of 05

Buy Refurbished Electronics

iPad with wrapped presents.

"Consider the refurbished options—especially when it comes to electronics—even those small kitchen appliances or tools, or electronic toys. [When] my family was spread out all over the country...I wanted to get everyone an Echo Show so we could video call each other. But it was sold out everywhere. When I looked on Amazon, I saw that there were some refurbished options still available, so I grabbed those. My family got the Echo Shows ahead of Christmas, and it was about 20 percent cheaper than buying new. Just make sure that when you are shopping for refurbished that you look to see what the warranty is. And buy from a reputable retailer like Best Buy, Amazon, or Walmart." —Andrea Woroch, consumer spending expert

05 of 05

Avoid the Post Office and Use Curbside

Person shopping on laptop paying with credit card
Getty Images.

"For a lot of items, if you're shopping online, you don't always know if it's in stock or not. It might say in stock, but not really be in stock. And so online, you run that risk of there being big shipping delays. And then when you're shopping in person, if you go to a particular store, they might not have the item in stock either. So my trick when I'm trying to find something that's hard to get is to buy it online and do curbside pickup. It's kind of the best of both worlds because you're not paying shipping costs and you're not worried about shipping delays, but you're also reserving that item so you know it will be there when you go to get it." —Kimberly Palmer, credit card and personal finance expert at NerdWallet

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