Tips on Affording the Holidays + $300 GC Giveaway

Black Friday has officially kicked off the start of the holiday season and we are all feeling our wallets getting a little lighter. So how do you afford everything. Gifts for grandma, the kids and everyone else in between. With all the expense, many people (myself included) are struggling to figure out how to make it work. These tips can help you save money and budget for the holidays.

{Saving a Little Really Adds Up}

I try to find small ways to save a little bit of money up for the holidays throughout the year. Back in June I opened an Even Up savings account with my bank. This account rounds my purchases up to the nearest dollar amount when I make a purchase with my debit card and puts those cents into a separate savings account. I have not touched it since then and have an extra $250 for Christmas shopping. Finding small ways to save can really add up.

{Shop the Deals}

Black Friday isn’t the only day of the year you can save money. There are deals all throughout the holiday season, you just have to be willing to keep your eyes open and do some research. Research sales fliers and online deals and discounts to get the best price. You can easily save 40-50 percent on purchases with a little vigilance. 

{Take Out a Cash Advance}

If all else fails and you just need a small advance on money that you know is coming in, a cash advance could save the holiday! H&R Block’s Emerald Advance credit line can give you up to $1,000 in cash for what you need now. You don’t need to be a previous customer of H&R Block to enter, you just need a valid photo ID and your most recent paycheck stub, not even a W-2! You can check out more on the Emerald Advance credit line at the link above.

{Win It}

H&R Block knows how hard it is to afford the holidays. They are giving one Life With 4 Boys reader $300 to help with your shopping this year. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below and the giveaway is open to US residents 18+ only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize was provided by H&R Block and may be shipped to the winner by H&R Block, but H&R Block is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of H&R Block. Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the US only. Winner to be chosen at random. 


  1. I write up a list with a budget before I start shopping and I stick to it. I also look for bigger priced items online and in newspaper adds to see where I can get the best price.
    Thanks so much.

  2. Have a list and set a budget! Find everything I can online on sale and skip wasting gas and time driving.

  3. Make the holidays about enjoying life and family and friends instead of who can purchase the most expensive gift. Make pacts with family and friends to search for unique and interesting items that aren't pricey but fit perfectly for the giftee.

  4. I definitely shop the deals around the holidays. I love using Amazon Prime to get fast shipping, plus Amazon has great deals all the time!

  5. Definitely shop around and find the best sales. Don't just settle on one store. Use coupons whenever possible, and also take advantage of rebates.

  6. Shopping WITHOUT the kids is a sure way to spend less! Of course that means shopping after they go to bed when I am exhausted!

  7. I save money on Christmas gifts by shopping sales year around. For the remaining things on my list, I compare prices online and use promo codes when possible.

  8. I like to give gift cards because you can set a limit and stick to it. Our local supermarket also has gas rewards that I can get by buying my gift cards there. Check around for rewards deals in your area.

  9. I have a budget and watch the sales and shop Black Friday. I will also buy presents any time of the year if I find a good deal on something.

  10. I don't go overboard on the Christmas shopping and I make a budget and compare prices. I also figure out what I'm going to buy for everyone beforehand, it helps.

  11. I start scouring the internet, papers, stores, and everything else to see deals or sales. We also have a small group of people that email or text others when they see a good sale at a store. If you are patient the item you want will be on sale, probably multiple times, before Christmas arrives.

  12. My best tip on saving money during the holidays is to really watch the sales, use online coupon sites and free shipping offers.

    april yedinak

  13. My family and I never use credit cards. We save up throughout the year and do overtime. I also watch for sweepstakes throughout the year from my favorite bloggers. When I win something I tuck it away for Christmas.

  14. I make jams (blackberry, strawberry, apricot…) during the summer in small decorative jars, then bake lemon bread (I've got a lemon tree) and put it all together in a pretty basket. For adults, I add a pretty bottle of blackberry liquour (home made also).

    sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

  15. My best tip is to purchase things throughout the year and use coupons as often as possible (d schmidt rafflecopter)

  16. Track prices on the Internet and compare them between stores. Also look at store circulars for coupons.

    Name on rafflecopter: Mary Happymommy

  17. I use the envelope system. I put cash into envelopes and mark the recipient’s name on each one. When I’m shopping, I only use what’s in the envelope and then put the receipt in the same envelope when I’ve made my purchases. This way I don’t go over my budget and I can keep track of the receipts in case there’s something that needs to be returned.

  18. Buy things ahead of time when on sale and save them for the holidays!

    Jennifer Marie

    lilnursejen at yahoo dot com

  19. shop the sales papers and comparison shop online. I don't buy anything big without searching online for the best price. A lot of stores are matching prices so don't forget that too. Thank you!
    crystalfaulkner2000 at yahoo dot com

  20. I set a dollar limit for each person before beginning shopping, make a list for each person, and then make sure I stick to it.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  21. Pare down your must give list. Your extended family would probably appreciate it too. I'm only buying what I can pay cash for.

  22. I put a little money away each month so that when the holidays arrive I don't have to pull money from what's currently coming in. It makes a huge difference!

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  23. We just do not even attempt to buy presents for "one and all". We have begun to do ONLY the children. LOL Who have too much anyhow! But it is fun to get them something to open. The wee ones who believe in Santa are the most fun to gift.

  24. A great way to say is by doing surveys on the internet ahead of time! Most pay in Amazon or Visa Gift Certificates/Cards and you can easily shop for grandchildren with these!

  25. I keep my eyes peeled at my local thrift stores, alot of times they get discontinued items from stores, and I have saved alot of money buying new products from my favorite thrift stores! I shop them for gifts the whole year through.

  26. Check clearance shelves and racks…and you could teach your family that 1 gift is really all that is necessary..if that…the adults no longer exchange gifts…we all just do 1 gift for the kids in each family…like board games or family passes to fun things in the area to do

  27. I make some of my gifts – like necklaces, scarves hats and mittens.
    Get my supplies on sale through out the year.
    Thank you.

  28. I always watch prices through the year and combine online discounts and coupons, and I also use ebates for cash back.

  29. My best tip is to actually make a budget per person (spend $30 on Uncle Mike, etc.) and stick to it. It works for me every year!

  30. My best tip is to price compare. I often use Google Shopping and Nextag to compare prices in different retailers


  31. Make a list and so lots of price comparison. Also, start buying gifts way before the holidays. When you shop at the last minute you tend to pick up overpriced things.

  32. My tip for saving money is look for presents ahead of time and buy them when they are on sale if it will be lower than the xmas sales that they have. My other tip is to buy things in bulk when they are on sale or if you have a coupon for them.

  33. On saving money and affording the holiday…I just remember the reason for the season and know that it is not about gifts, excess and hoopla. I'm taking a stand against the whole commercialization aspect of the month.

    *Wendy T on Rafflecopter

  34. I try to buy christmas things in the sales after christmas, ready for next year

    sweepymummy at yahoo dot com

  35. My bank has a handy feature, they pull a specific amount from my checking account each month and put it in my savings account. It's great!

  36. My best tip is to make a list and shop for specific items, AND to find freebies! There are lots of them online, and if an item is full size, it makes a great stocking stuffer!

  37. I did surverys throughout the year and entered giveaways with Amazon codes so by the time Christmas came around I was able to get presents for my kids for free. Otherwise our budget is very tight and I wouldn't have been able to afford presents.

  38. I coupon throughout the year and also have a christmas savings club set up that I put money into throughout the year.

  39. My tip is to stick to your budget and look around for the best deals. Last year we spent less than we planned but got all we wanted and more because we shopped around!

  40. Compare prices online before you even go to the store, and know your store's ad matching policy and coupon policy. Many stores will at least ad match during the holidays so you don't have to go to multiple stores.

  41. I usually use coupons, follow sales and put aside some money from my paycheck every month!


  42. Do your shopping all year long. I look through all clearance racks I come across. You never know what you might find. Thanks for the chance.

    sweetascandy579 at yahoo dot com

  43. If you can, wait to do your Christmas shopping until after Christmas (when everything is discounted) or give gift cards so that money goes further

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