How to Save Money on Gifts this Holiday Season

By Lauren Mathews

How to Save Money on Gifts this Holiday Season


Are you feeling the pinch of holiday expenses this year? You’re not alone. According to a study by Jungle Scout, 84% say inflation and economic uncertainty will affect their budget for holiday gifts. 

As shoppers look to stretch their wallets and reduce waste, many are turning to pre-loved apparel and gear. The same study found that 25% of respondents planned to gift pre-worn items to help combat the impact of inflation. 

Here are six ways to save money on gifts this year—and how buying pre-loved contributes to a more sustainable and budget-friendly holiday season.

1. Create a budget and stick to it

It’s easy to overspend during the holidays. While gift-giving can be rewarding, holiday promotions often encourage impulse purchases. A well-formed budget helps you plan ahead and prevents overspending on presents. 

Before heading to the mall, use a budgeting tool to determine your spending limit. How much can you afford to buy?

Next, look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate non-essential expenditures during the holiday season. Make room for holiday purchases by eating out less, cutting back on morning coffee runs, or pausing subscriptions—such as your monthly beauty subscription box. 

Use cash to stay on track. You can also set limits on your credit card to ensure you remain within your holiday budget. 

2. Shop pre-loved for fashion, apparel, and gear

While the recommerce industry is not new, branded resale is booming. Over the last few years, brands across categories have established their own resale channels—allowing customers to buy and sell pre-loved items directly on a brand’s website. Companies like Allbirds, Arc’Teryx, and Patagonia all operate branded resale channels. 

There are many benefits to purchasing pre-loved apparel and gear directly from a brand. Let’s take a look at a few. 

Makes your holiday season more eco-friendly

With pre-loved clothing and gear, you can reduce waste during the holidays. According to, Americans will spend almost $8.3 billion on unwanted gifts. Approximately 8% of those items will be thrown away.  

When you shop pre-loved, you can be more intentional about the type of gifts you buy and help products last longer.

Expands your holiday budget

Pre-loved gifts also allow you to stretch your budget, especially when purchasing luxury items. According to a report by CouponFollow, shoppers who buy pre-loved goods save approximately $1,760 a year. 

By shopping pre-worn items, you may be able to purchase brands that were previously outside your budget. 

Reduces the risk of counterfeit or defective products

Branded resale also reduces the risk of buying counterfeit goods. In 2020, Incopro found that 26% of shoppers had accidentally purchased a fake item within the previous year. 

You will know the items are authentic when you purchase them from a brand’s resale channel. And retailers often offer guarantees and warranties for additional piece of mind. 

3. Reduce spending on holiday wrapping 

Gift wrapping is another opportunity to save money and reduce waste. A study by Avocado Green Mattress found that people produce approximately 43% more waste during the holiday season. The majority of the excess waste comes from wrapping paper, gift bags, and tissue paper.

To wrap your gifts, you can use leftover fabrics, scraps, ribbons, reusable bags, newspapers, and twine. Using recycled materials is not only more sustainable, but it also makes your wrapping stand out.

4. Organize a White Elephant gift exchange

Instead of buying gifts for every person on your list, consider organizing a White Elephant gift exchange. Besides saving money, White Elephant is a fun way to connect with loved ones.

When planning a White Elephant gift exchange, you should provide guidelines around the types of gifts and set a spending limit. Make sure everyone is familiar with the rules before the party starts.

5. Give homemade gifts

Homemade gifts are a sustainable, cost-effective, and—most importantly—thoughtful approach to gift-giving. 

Some ideas for homemade gifts include:

  • Baked goods
  • Body scrubs
  • Soaps
  • Candles
  • An apron with children’s handprints or pawprints from pets
  • Scrapbooks or memory boards of a special event
  • A coupon book such as an evening of babysitting, a weekend of petsitting, or help with home improvement projects (e.g., gardening or painting)

6. Start shopping early

Finally, get started as early as possible. Shopping early enables you to research and compare prices and take advantage of holiday promotions. 

Consider setting up a separate email address and subscribing to email updates from your favorite brands. Then, you can set up filters to forward relevant promotions to your primary email account. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid impulse purchases. 

Additional time also helps you save on shipping costs. You won’t need to select expedited or priority shipping to rush your gifts. Or you can avoid shipping fees altogether by taking advantage of in-store pick-up options. 

Pre-loved holiday shopping with Trove

Trove is an all-in-one platform for branded resale. Trove partners with the world’s most renowned brands—including REI, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and Lululemon—to expand the lifecycle of apparel and gear without growing emissions. 
Read our blog to learn more about how Trove is transforming the resale industry and enabling resale as a channel.