Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year when it comes to money and finances. There always seems to be so many things that you need to buy. Whether it be gifts and presents for friends and loved ones, food for holiday celebrations, Christmas decorations, and even providing donations - the holidays tend to stretch your wallet thin. So how can you feel better about your spending when all the dust has settled and the last piece of fruitcake has been polished off?

There are plenty of smart ways to save money this Christmas as long as you think creatively and are flexible. Check out a few money saving tips listed below that will be sure to put a little green back in your wallet this holiday season.

1. Use Swag Bucks

Do you do a lot of web surfing for finding the best deals on electronics and toys during the holidays? If so, try using Swag Bucks as your search engine option. You can earn bonus points just for searching internet. An account is free to open and points can be redeemed for gift cards to places like, Starbucks, and Barnes and Noble. It does take some time to build up the points, but every little bit counts. Make a plan to use Swag Bucks as your search engine choice and build up points that can be used to purchase holiday gifts next year!

You can also earn points making online purchases through their shopping portal from hundreds of retailers including stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Say you have a large ticket item purchase you are making from one of these stores that cost $500. Purchasing this item through Swag Bucks can earn you 100 points which can then be redeemed for about $10 in gift cards. Not a bad deal just from using this FREE service!

2. Credit Card Rewards

Do you have any cash back credit cards in your wallet? If you do, then you may want to consider using them on your holiday purchases. In some cases, you may be able to get over 5% back through your credit card just from purchasing your holiday gifts. Be sure to check your cards for the best available cash back rewards.

If you plan to use an existing cash back credit card or are considering opening up a new account, always remember to pay off your balance in full each month. If you make purchases using a card and don't pay the entire bill off the next month, there is no value in using the card. If you have had trouble in the past with credit card debt, then it may be a better idea to avoid this additional savings!

3. Holiday Gift Cards

Do you purchase holiday gift cards for friends, family, and co-workers on your shopping list? Gift cards are a popular choice for those looking for an easy and quick idea. If you want to earn some money back, pay attention for gift card offers that give you an additional incentive back. For example, a restaurant chain may give you an additional FREE $5 gift card for purchasing one for $25. It is hard to ignore a 20% return on your investment!

If you plan on taking advantage of these offers, just be sure you read the fine print and details. Many of these special deals come with some strings attached, such as when you can redeem the bonus gift card. If you keep up with the details of the offer and know you can use the card, then taking advantage of these opportunities is a perfect way to save a little money.

Try sweetening your savings by using one of those cash back credit cards we talked about earlier. It is all about maximizing your savings, within reason of course!

4. Coupon Codes

If you buy anything online, always be sure to check if there are any current coupon codes that can be used to knock down your price. Most of the time there is a code out there that you can use to get free shipping or a certain percentage knocked off your price. If you don't know where to look, start by running an online search using Google or even better - Swag Bucks! While you may not always be able to find a valid code, it never hurts to spend a few minutes looking.

When in doubt, a popular online website that you can look at is RetailMeNot, which claims to have coupon codes for over 40,000 online retailers. Spending a few minutes looking for a valid code for your purchase can be a great way to put a little green back in your pocket.

5. Store Credit Cards

Most large stores tend to offer their own credit cards. The majority of these cards come with some nice discounts for new users to sign up. For example, you may find that you can save an additional 10% or 20% on your purchase just from opening up a credit card. These types of deals typically are not worth it on smaller purchases. However, the savings you can get on larger purchases of hundreds or thousands of dollars may make it a very attractive deal.

It is very important to keep in mind your credit when thinking about opening up one of these cards. If you have poor credit or a bad history of credit card debt, then it may be a good idea to stay away from these offers. Always think about the long term consequences of taking out another card versus your current savings. If you don't mind having another card and it doesn't impact your credit, then consider this as an option to save some money this holiday season.

Final Thoughts

While some of the tips identified earlier may not fit into your buying patterns, there are probably a few that you can use. Try combining one or more of these ideas with some of your own to maximize your savings. For example, use your cash back rewards credit card when making a purchase through your Swag Bucks account. You can earn Swag Bucks on top of the credit card rewards you are earning. Then try and find a coupon code to lower your total payments!Saving money on holiday gift purchases takes a little patience and creativity. Think outside the box and take advantage of the best deals possible. You will be happy that you did come January when you are stuck paying off that debt from the holidays!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!