Saving money is hard, even if it’s not the holidays! However, when the holidays roll around its simple to fall into temptation and want to spend a lot of money. At the same time, finances can seem to be a burden towards the end of the year. There may be instances where you feel like you can’t spend much at all. It all comes down to being realistic with your money but also knowing that it is possible to have a great holiday season if finances are tight. Here are 5 ways to save money during the holiday season: 1.) Create a budgetWhen it comes to saving money, it’s important to plan ahead. Think about your expenses. How much do you plan on spending on gifts? Are you considering taking a fancy holiday trip? No matter what you plan on doing this season, creating a budge of how much you are willing to spend is beneficial to you and your bank account. Think long and hard about whether or not certain purchases are necessary. It all comes down to wants vs. needs. For example, do you need to spend $20 on eggnog and brandy? Can you substitute a $100 Christmas tree for a cheaper one that cost $30 less? Though budgeting isn’t always fun, it’s necessary if you want to save. Also, make sure you double check your budget as you shop so you don’t go overboard.2.) Take advantage of online shoppingThis tip is great for saving money and if you are not interested in leaving the house to do Christmas shopping. Jokes aside, there are many advantages to shopping online. If you are looking for a particular item, odds are you are able to compare prices easier. In some cases, you may not have to pay extra for shipping on certain sites such as Amazon. And because its the holiday season, most sites will offer great discounts and huge sales that may not be offered in stores. Best of all, you can see all the ratings or switch to a different site if the item you are looking for is offered at a lower price. Online shopping is a great way to help you save money.3.) Do priceless holiday activitiesAnother great way to save money is to put aside your checkbook and do activities that are low cost or free! Why go out to eat when you can cook a nice hot meal at home for your family and friends? Caroling, baking, and watching movies are other super cheap activities you and the family can do together over the holidays.4.) Host a PotluckPotlucks are a great alternative for a festive feast on a budget. Rather than you spending a lot of money on food, everyone you invite gets to bring in a dish they made to the event. Potlucks are a lot of fun. More importantly, they are less stressful to host because you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. 5.) DonateHave stuff in your home that you don’t need? Then, donating is a great route if you are looking to save money as you give to someone else. Secret Santa is a famous holiday game most people play with family, friends, and co-workers. Its wonderful time to share stories as you give those you respect something that was once valuable to you. You can also donate to Goodwill, your church, food bank, and other various charities. The holidays don’t have to be a bummer. These tips will allow you to make wise choices when it comes to money this season. Have fun and save big!