Host a potluck: Dining out is usually among my clients' biggest expenses, especially around the holidays. Everyone wants to get together for some sort of holiday celebration. But when you dine out, you end up paying for your meal, drinks, tax and a tip—and that can really add up.
Instead, take the initiative and plan holiday potluck dinners for family and friends. Choose a theme and have everyone bring a homemade dish. This is a great alternative. Not only does it help everyone save money, it's also a great way to enjoy each other's company in a comfortable, intimate setting.
Play 'Secret Santa': Buying gifts for everyone on your list can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. This year, opt for a "Secret Santa" gift exchange and have your entire family participate. Decide on a budget for presents—e.g., no more than $25 per gift—and then have every person pick just one name out of a bowl. Then, on the day of the exchange, you all reveal whose Secret Santa you were and have fun exchanging gifts with one another. This saves a lot of money; instead of buying for every family member, you only buy for one.
(Read more: Happy holidays ... now, start tax planning)