How to Save on Halloween & Other Holidays

This month has been busy to say the least. From Light the Night Atlanta to a Halloween Engagement party I haven’t had much time to sit down and type. Nevertheless, I felt like I should sit down and write this one out.

Starting in October, life gets more expensive, at least for me. You have Halloween, Christmas (or what you celebrate), Thanksgiving, New Years, and my family has a few birthdays too. How do you save during holidays like these? Foremost, by consuming less. There are a few other ways though, and those will be the topics of discussion for this post. 


Why are holidays so expensive?

MadCat in disguise
These are the wings off a Toothless Build-A-Bear

As someone who works in marketing, the answer is corporations. While I’ve been lucky enough to work in companies that only sell to those who need it, most companies just want you to buy more so that they make more, especially during the holidays.

You will see sales, ads, reasons to get more, and even giveaways to encourage buying more while you’re there. Just remember what the holiday is about. If its about buying more should you celebrate it? If its about something else, do you need those extra things?

An Overview of Holidays:

* These are the holidays in my area. Written is what the “average” person does that day. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on the holidays of your area. 

New Year’s: The family gets together for a big dinner.
Super Bowl Sunday: Everyone sits at a TV and watches. Lots of snacks and beer.
St. Patrick’s Day: Lots of drinking. Maybe travel to a big city.
Easter: Pictures, Easter egg hunting, dinner, church
Mother’s Day: Mom gets a card, maybe a present or some flowers.
Father’s Day: Dad gets a card and present.
Independence Day: Fourth of July. Fireworks. Food. Festivals
Halloween: Candy, haunted houses, costumes, parties
Thanksgiving: Food and family
Christmas: Gifts, traveling, food, photos with Santa

DSC_0159
Don’t forget about the birthdays and other smaller holidays and events!

What does all the mean? You spend quite a bit of money throughout the year on gifts, food, and traveling. Is that bad? Not by any means, but there are ways to save while still having as good time.


Pointers on Saving During Holidays

  • Look at each holiday and the goal of celebration.
    • Is the goal time with family, with mom, or with dad?
    • Maybe the goal is to buy people things, or maybe it’s to celebrate a religious occasion.
    • Maybe it’s just to celebrate being alive another year.
  • Determine if those goals are worth celebrating.
    • Do you need to celebrate a drinking day?
    • Is trading gifts every year worth it?
  • After deciding to celebrate, determine what is necessary.
    • Does each person need a $50 gift to celebrate the birth of Jesus?
    • Will a hand-written note suffice for Mother’s Day?
    • Can I spend free time at the lake with leftovers or do I need to go out to eat for July 4th?
  • Lastly, talk to those around you involved.
    • What does your mother think about a less-traditional Mother’s Day?
    • Will your family do a white elephant Christmas instead of getting everyone a gift?

Other Tips:

  • Christmas: Get one gift per couple for Christmas.
  • Christmas: Spend less than $10 on any gift for a friend and $20 or less for family.
  • St. Patrick’s Day: Don’t go to the bar on St. Patrick’s Day, have a simple party at home with friends.
  • Valentine’s Day: Write your S/O a handwritten letter and cook a homemade dinner by the time they get home with stuff already in your fridge.
  • July Fourth: Go hiking and have a picnic of leftovers while watching a free town fireworks display.
  • Easter: Re-use eggs and baskets each year (tell the kids the Easter Bunny loves recycling)
  • Thanksgiving: Host a potluck thanksgiving, saves money for everyone!
  • Halloween: Make a costume from the clothing you own.
  • Halloween: Don’t give out candy (kids will still get tons, trust me).

What does OML do?

20170812_170240
This hike could have been on July 4th, June 12th, or even March 8th. Free time outside is better than spending money on something that will not last.

We don’t celebrate anything but Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we have decided that personal phone calls, hand written notes, and help around the house will mean more in the long run than a book or a tool that they might never use again. On the rest of the Holidays we do nothing out of the ordinary. We hike, spend time together, and take the dog on walks. There’s no telling how much this has saved us over the last year or so alone.


Overall, when it comes to saving on holidays, it’s easier than finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In fact, it just takes thinking and determination. (Thought that rainbow featured image was pointless?)

Think about what your spending and why.

Does it add lasting value to your life or the life of others?

Decide if all the spending is what makes the holiday important.

Cut out all the rest.


How do you save during the holidays?
What did you cut out after realizing it was unnecessary?
What traditional holidays do you skip?

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