As the holiday season approaches, so too comes the many extra holiday expenses that can bust your budget.  From gifts to feasts, from shipping to travel expenses, the costs can quickly add up.  It’s not too late to pad your pocket for your upcoming expenses.

Put Your Savings to Work

If you have savings socked away as cash, now is a great time to pull it out.  The relatively low return on a savings account doesn’t do much to bulk up your holiday budget over the short term.  Luckily, ‘tis the season for great deals that involve using your money now so you can have more money later.

If you are looking to build up your savings during the holidays, you can make a short-term investment. You could try a high-yield pledge checking account. Or you could look into different types of short-term online investing, like peer-to-peer loans. If you are new to investing, here is a good guide to investing for newbies.

You can also bulk up your holiday budget by taking advantage of local opportunities.  Have you ever seen a bulk sale where you can stock up on this or that and get a gift card?  Have you ever seen those quirky sales where you buy a gift card to give away and get a smaller gift card for yourself?  Chain retailers do this occasionally, but you’ll see these deals more frequently in convenience stores and restaurants.  They offer you great ways to boost your purchasing power.  You can use the gift cards to buy gifts, to pay regular expenses, or give them as gifts.

Save with Credit Cards

If your credit is in good standing — especially if you’ve worked hard to repair your credit in the last 12 months — then it might be the perfect time to save on your credit bills by switching to a new card.  You may be able to transfer current debt to a new card at a significantly lower interest rate and increase your purchasing power at the same time.

If one of your cards offers reward points, you can use your card for regular purchases, build up your reward points, and pay your bill off each month.  This will boost your purchasing power by raising your credit limit, improving your credit rating, and providing you with rewards points you can use for holiday expenses. Here is a list of the best rewards credit cards for holiday shopping.

Finally, you can sign up for the credit cards offered by your favorite online retailers.  If you have good credit, you can get a card with a reasonable interest rate and take advantage of membership bonuses, like free shipping.  If you have the cash for gifts, you can even pay off the card from your holiday savings account and close the account when you’re done with your shopping without a significant impact to your credit rating.

Save on Your Mortgage

This holiday season may be the perfect time to refinance your mortgage.  As the economy and our financial institutions recover from a devastating downturn, more funding is being made available to credit-worthy homeowners.  The mortgage industry usually slacks off during the holiday season, because so many shoppers choose to break their budgets instead of finding viable ways to save.  Many mortgage companies would be happy to land a new customer with decent credit.  Lower interest rates, lower payments and less insurance coverage are a few of the ways you can bulk up your holiday budget by saving on your mortgage.  The best part of it, though, is that the savings will last you well into the New Year!

If a straight refinance isn’t the right choice for you, you may want to consider adding a second mortgage to your home.  By consolidating current debts into a second mortgage, you combine your debts into a single, low payment with a lower interest rate.  This will help you free up more cash for the holidays, while improving your credit situation in the process.

Not sure if you should refinance? Use this mortgage calculator to see if it’s a good idea.

Dropping change into a jar or going without may not be the best ways to create lasting savings for your family.  Savvy use of financial instruments can provide you with the savings you need to throw a great holiday bash for your family, while creating lasting savings that will improve your family’s financial situation.  Happy shopping!