These great ideas will save money on Christmas gifts, yet still allow you to give gifts that will be loved!
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I still remember the quandary that my husband and I felt that first Christmas holiday shortly after we got married 9 years ago. We were torn between giving nice, expensive gifts that we really couldn’t afford or smaller, less flashy gifts that fit our meager budget.
We really wanted to be able to be generous and bless those we were giving gifts to! At the same time, we were trying to get on our feet financially and so it didn’t seem very smart to spend a lot of money either.
I don’t remember how we remedied giving gifts on our shoestring budget that first year. But, I do know that over the years we’ve gradually come up with ways to give gifts that are meaningful and also easy on our pocketbook. An added bonus is that by keeping things simple, we’ve found it easier to stay focused on what we consider to be the real meaning of Christmas- Christ’s birth and loving each other.
How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
Set a Budget
Decide ahead of time how much you are able to spend on each person and then stick to it.
The goal here is to stay under your total set budget. So, if you are able to find a great gift for one person that is $5 less than what you had budgeted, go ahead and have fun spending that extra money on another gift for someone else!
Related: Check out these 40 Frugal Gifts for Men that are $30 or Less and these 40 Frugal Gifts for Women that are $30 or Less.
Shop Year Round
This is one of my favorite ways to save. By shopping year-round for Christmas gifts, you have more opportunities to get great bargains.
Watch for deals online, check clearance racks, flip through sales flyers and anytime you see an item for a great price ask yourself if it would work as a Christmas gift for someone on your list. You’ll be surprised how many incredible bargains you can score!
Here are some of my favorite place to find gifts online for good prices:
- Groopdealz – deals on household, clothing and home decor
- Cents of Style – deals on clothing
- DaySpring – huge selection of quality, Christian themed products. Watch their sales and clearance for some great buys!
Both my family and my husband’s family have been doing this for the last number of years, and we love it. It allows us to have the fun of giving to each other without totally breaking the bank.
And since my husband is the 2nd oldest of 10 children and I’m the youngest of 5, if we didn’t do it this way, there would be a lot of gifts to buy.
Do a Kid’s Only Exchange
This year my family decided to just exchange Christmas gifts between all the grandkids. Money is tight for several of us, a number of us adults felt like we don’t really need anything anyway, and different of us have a lot going on right now, so it was a way to reduce stress too.
I don’t know that I’d want to limit gift-giving to the kids only every year, but I’m very okay with scaling things back a bit sometimes!
Need some fun, inexpensive gift ideas for kids? Here are 50 kid’s gifts that are all $10 or less!
Give Family Gifts
Family gifts are another fun idea. Basically instead of each person exchanging gifts, each family exchanges gifts and gives something that the whole family can enjoy.
A few ideas would be a food-related gift, a game the whole family might enjoy or an experience gift. I love this because it helps keep things simple, while still enjoying the spirit of giving.
Limit the Number of Gifts
While we haven’t ever done this, I know some families that set a limit on how many gifts each person gets. For instance, they might do one practical gift, one clothing gift and one toy/fun gift. I think this is a great option if your family is prone to giving lots of gifts!
Buy with Discounted Gift Cards
Did you know that you can buy gift cards online for less than their actual value? It’s true! And we like to use those savings to our advantage!
If we know that we are going to be purchasing a gift for someone at a specific store, we’ll buy a discounted gift card first and then use it to pay for the gift. Snag the gift item during a sale and use the gift card as payment and you’ll save even more!
Here are two of our favorite sources for discounted gift cards:
- Raise.com (save $5 off your first order when you create an account with this link!)
- Gift Card Granny
Make Your Gifts
Obviously, making your own gifts isn’t always a money saver, but generally, it will be. And the thing that I love about homemade gifts is that they tend to be cherished more because they feel extra personal.
Use your talents and the things you enjoy doing to create unique handmade gifts. Do you love to bake? Give homemade bread, cookies or muffins. Enjoy crafting? Make some fun items such as sweater pillows, homemade soap or wall decor.
A fan of knitting? Give some handmade mittens, scarves or socks. Good at changing oil? Give a free oil change or two. Be creative and think outside the box, and you’ll almost always come up with a winning idea!
Need more ideas? Check these out: 20 Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas, 20 Inexpensive Homemade Gifts for Kids, and 15 Fun Inexpensive Teacher Gifts.
Give the Gift of Time
Some of the best gifts don’t cost a thing and often they are more meaningful than huge, expensive gifts too!
Make coupons for things like breakfast in bed, a 20 minute back rub, a homemade meal, an evening of babysitting, an afternoon of helping with anything the person wants, one time mowing the yard, etc.
One year my sweet sister-in-law gave me five gift-of-time coupons like this and I think it was the best gift I ever received! As a busy mom, being able to redeem those coupons to give me a lift whenever I needed it was such a blessing.
This might sound super cheap at first, but hear me out. The last several years both my family and my husband’s family agreed that it’s okay to buy used items to give as gifts.
This allows us the freedom to shop at yard sales, thrift stores and Craigslist, saving even more money. It is especially easy to find great toys inexpensively this way. Give them a good bath and they are good to go!
Save Extra When Shopping Online
If we end up buying gifts online, we always shop through Rakuten because it allows us to earn a percentage back for our online purchases- up to 40% actually! The great thing is, you can also use coupon codes on your purchases too, to get maximum savings.
It’s definitely an easy way to save a little bit more money on any gifts that we purchase online!
Want to give Rakuten a try? Sign up here and enjoy a $25 welcome bonus!.
Looking for cheap fun gift ideas? Check these out!
- 50 Awesome Cheap Gifts for Kids that Cost $10 or Less
- 50 More Awesome Cheap Gifts for Kids that Cost $10 or Less
- 40 Frugal Non Toy Gifts for Kids that Cost $35 or Less
- 40 Frugal Gifts for Men that Cost $30 or Less
- 40 Frugal Gifts for Women that Cost $30 or Less
- 15 Inexpensive Fun Teacher Gift Ideas
- 20 Inexpensive Homemade Gifts for Kids
- 20 Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas
- Gift Ideas for Families
- Gift Ideas for College Students
- The Best Gifts for Knitters
- Gifts for the Crafty Girl
- Gifts for Pregnant Women
Christmas is a big thing for us and I’m one of those people that thinks about it, plans for it, etc. all year. Not too much so Jan-June, but even then it’s always in the back of my mind! I totally agree with all points listed above! Money is tight for us right now due to my job being cut back and depending on how things go that will definitely have an impact on Christmas this year.
I’m a crafter so I will be focusing on that big time, starting early! There is really a lot that can be done with simple skills, tracing, cutting, a couple of embroidery stitches, etc. But I hope to improve my skill set too. I’ve made a lot of toys for our son over the years using very simple methods and they’ve always been well received.
I like to pick up baskets for $0.25 or so at garage sales and use them for gift baskets at Christmas time. I’ll buy the paper Easter grass filler after Easter is over (I usually just buy green) and use that for basket filler. Then I can fill with home baked goods and jars of things I’ve preserved, like jams, pie fillings, etc. I’ll make a pretty paper tag, tie on with some ribbon and the final product looks really nice for minimal $. This past year I did a breakfast theme and added things like bananas and a few oranges at the last minute before gifting for an extra “punch”!
Another big way I save on Christmas and holidays in general is to always shop the days AFTER the holiday is over. Rock bottom deals are always to be had. Next year’s Christmas cards are a big one. I also look for marked down gift sets or misc. items that can be saved for the following year or used for upcoming birthdays. One year I found a really nice pair of binoculars on an end-cap at Target for $6!!!
Gift wrapping supplies are one of things I usually pick up after Christmas and I look for things that will work for weddings, baby gifts, and birthdays instead of just Christmas.
I could write a book on the ways to save $ on gift wrap supplies! lol
Swagbucks is a great tool that I’ve gotten away from in the past year or so and I’ll be looking into it again.
I LOVE all your ideas, Jaime! So much inspiration and creativity. As for the book, I was thinking maybe I should just have you do a blog post here for me. 😉
About Swagbucks….they have changed a lot in the last year and I’ve found that it’s much harder to earn easily there. I still do it some, but depending on your priorities, you may find that it’s not worth it for you.
This year, I have had to be extremely frugal and creative with Christmas presents. and birthday gifts. I basically shopped for 7 people and only spent $40. How? First, I started early. I began planning after Christmas last year. I gained free gift cards on Swagbucks. I also found a barter website called Listia where you can get other people’s items for free by earning points. Earned points can be done with surveys, watching videos or you can buy them. Then trade in the points for what people are looking to sell. It’s like Craigslist and Ebay combined, really. Lastly, I used earned rewards from my credit card/airline miles. All in all, I have gotten all of the following for $40 total: $25 Toys R Us card, $25 Game Stop card, $25 Starbucks card, 12 comic books, downloadable games, $100 walmart card, $100 target card, four $50 amazon cards, $45 for amazon, $100 best buy card, a gold /diamond necklace from FTD, $25 barnes and noble card and more. I did use some cards to buy physical items since I found some cool gifts but you get the idea.
All of our relatives live far away so I have to send the gifts. I try to choose things that don’t need a box to save on postage, so gift cards are perfect.
That is awesome! You have gotten frugal shopping totally figured out, I think. Wow! We’ve done some similar things for Christmas gifts too and it’s amazing how all those “little” perks and rewards programs add up.