How to Have a Frugal Christmas

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Can you have a great Christmas even when you are on a tight budget?

Yes absolutely you can.

Do you have a budget? How is it looking? Are you a little worried and in denial that Christmas is fast approaching and you have no idea how you are going to get through it without having any money to spare?

You are not alone.

Magical Frugal Christmas

Having a Christmas when you have no money is no fun at all, let me tell you it really is quite stressful and sad as you constantly stress about money what you can afford and going further and further in to debt.

Related: 11 things I stopped buying to save money

I am here to help you plan a wonderful Christmas even a frugal one on a budget.

Over the last 5 years I have had my family come and stay for 2 weeks as they live internationally and I just love having them stay, BUT it sure takes it toll on the bank account. I hate having to be worried about money and having palpitations when I go to the grocery store and spend another few hundred dollars each time. I seem to spend loads of time back and forth at the store as you don’t realize how much everyone eats over the festive season.

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Then gifts well that is a whole other expense, ho hum and I got to a point where I didn’t even enjoy myself as I kept worrying about money. That is not a way to be over Christmas.

So a couple of years ago I decided enough is enough get this budget thing in order, plan for Christmas and enjoy myself.

How to plan a Frugal Christmas

Ways to Cut Christmas Spending

If money is tight and Christmas is fast approaching and you really need to cut back on your holiday spending? Take a minute to read through the following suggestions. Saving money at Christmas time is probably easier than you think!

Plan to set a budget

Piggy bank with Christmas Hat and  calculator next to it and some presents

It’s important to set a budget for yourself before you start buying gifts. It’s easy to spend too much when you’re not keeping track of your purchases.

Getting a good spreadsheet for a budget can be frustrating but you might be able to find some online or how about just getting a journal and writing it all done.

You will be surprised what pen and paper does to your brain when you can actually see it written down your realize how much you are spending. Where you are wasting money and where you can do better.

More importantly, it can be financially dangerous for people who find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck.

That being said, set a monetary limit for yourself and stick to it. This will help to ensure that you don’t go overboard while shopping and also ease the financial stress that Christmas tends to bring with it.

Try To have a Potluck Christmas Dinner

Try hosting a potluck dinner this year by simply asking your guests to bring the dish of their choice. Since the host is typically expected to provide the main course, think about requesting side dishes and desserts.

Leave the choice of what to bring to the people attending. Part of the fun of a potluck is the variety of dishes. This not only relieves much of the stress of planning dinner for a group of people, it typically saves you a ton of money without sacrificing the quality or quantity of your holiday meal.  

Or what we are think of doing this year is buy an already packed Christmas dinner. Which has all the ingredients in it, recipes and all you have to do is pay for it in advance it arrives a few days before Christmas and you have everything you need, so no running off to the grocery store for a tub of cream or some extra vegetables and coming home with $50 extra of food just in case

Frugal Gift Ideas for family

Now let us talk about inexpensive Christmas gifts for the people in your life. Frugals will be happy to know that there are plenty of options available, like:

Frugal Christmas Gifts Idea #01: One of the best ways to save money on gifts is to give a gift card. You can get them from your favorite store, or even use an online service like Gyft or Plastic Jungle that lets you buy discounted cards for places like Target and Walmart. Just be sure to put it in a card that is festive.

Frugal Christmas Gifts Idea #02: You can also make a homemade gift basket with things like popcorn, hot cocoa, cookies, or fudge. Get creative and use materials you already have in your house to save money on the purchase of items.

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids –A great idea for kids is to make your own snow globe!

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas for Pets – If you have pets, they will love some new toys or treats. You may also want to give them something that shows how much you care about their health such as dental chews, healthy treats, or a new leash.

Frugal Christmas Ideas for Adults – Frugals will love these ideas too! You can buy them something they need to make their life easier like an umbrella, gloves, or snow boots. Or you can give things that are needed around the house such as toilet paper and tissues.

Baked Goods and Do-It-Yourself Gifts

DIY or “do-it-yourself” gifts are a very heartfelt and widely popular way to express how you feel about the important people in your life. You’ll find a huge variety of easy ideas for DIY projects, as well as tutorials on how to make them, on popular websites like Pinterest and Facebook.

Baking treats for the people on your gift list is also a greatly appreciated, age-old tradition. You can keep it simple and make a communal plate of treats for your co-workers, or personalize things by whipping up some of each individual’s favorite sweets. In most cases, buying the materials and/or ingredients needed for DIY gifts and baked goods will cost significantly less because you have to create the product, rather than buy one that’s already made.

You can also make gifts which are easy and awesome or buy cheap gifts that look expensive

Mom and daughter making Christmas cookies

Kids Frugal Christmas ideas

We cannot help but think kids are going to be a little disappointed if they do not find something wrapped up under the tree. Here are some simple, cost-effective kids frugal Christmas ideas:

Dress your kids in funny holiday outfits (pajamas and Santa hats) so they feel like part of the celebration

Spend time with kids and grandparents on non-gift-related activities such as going to see a Christmas movie, making holiday cookies, or gourmet popcorn.

Create your own gifts by taking pictures of kids’ drawings and decorating them like book covers then compiling their favorite photos from the year into photo books for mom and dad or grandparents

For kids, make a playlist of their favorite holiday songs and sing together

Look for deals on toys at the end of the year; it is likely that they will be reduced due to low demand. Things like board games and LEGO sets are particularly good candidates.

Kid’s frugal Christmas ideas that they can make themselves can help kids not feel left out and get them excited about the holiday.

Organize a Secret Santa Christmas

Secret Santa is a fun tradition for many people during the holidays. It is most commonly implemented among friends and co-workers, as a means to save a substantial chunk of gift-giving change.

This stops people spending too much on a person and then the other person doesn’t spend as much and it becomes a little uncomfortable. I love this idea for adults then we can spend money on the kids as it really is the time of year for them, I believe. It’s often a home run for families with children who have grown up and understand the importance of limiting spending during this time of year.

Because Secret Santa involves drawing a random name from a collection of participants, you’re limited to buying just one gift for the person whose name you drew, rather than a gift for everyone in your circle.

Shop All Year Round

For many people, shopping for Christmas gifts all year round is arguably the best way to cut costs on holiday spending. This reduces much of the frustration of holiday shopping, and also saves you from buying gifts at inflated (pre-holiday) prices. Year-round shopping allows you to take advantage of amazing sales you can generally find throughout the year. You have to be very organized to do this but once you see the savings you get then it sure is worth being so organized.

These are just a few ways which are easy to cut your Christmas spending without feeling like Scrooge. Remember, it’s not the amount of money you spend, it’s the thought that counts! SO please don’t go into debt to impress, Christmas is about Family and Friends so create memories that will last a life time and bring you joy.

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