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Christmas is a joyful and spirited time of year, centered around Jesus’ birth, gift giving, and a bright season spent with family and friends. But for many, this Yule Tide season brings anxiety as the Christmas budget dwindles and the fear of a no fun Christmas becomes overwhelming. What if I told you it’s possible to do Christmas on a budget and still have the BEST holiday season ever? In today’s post, I’m going to give you the steps to achieve just that.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 1 – Set a Budget
-If you have a budget set, you won’t have to fear checking your bank account or savings to find how bad the damage has been done. You’ll KNOW how much is going to be spent. Once the budget has been spent, that’s that. There are plenty of festive Christmas activities and memories to be made the FREE way. Keep reading to discover how to do Christmas on a budget.
Tip: Remember, Christmas DOES NOT have to be all about money.
BONUS! Print my free Christmas Budget Planner here!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 2 – Start Buying Gifts Now (Even For Next Year)
It’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas. Prices get insanely inflated right around the weeks leading up to Christmas, so start your Christmas shopping as early as possible. While you’re buying Christmas gifts this year, if you see great deals, invest in what you don’t buy this season for next season. See my 30 gifts under $30 post for gift inspiration and FREE shipping with Amazon prime!
Tip: An even better time to buy gifts for next Christmas? RIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS. Stock up on gifts, Christmas decor, and all the discounted items and save money for Christmas next year.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 3 – Use Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial For Free Shipping On Christmas Gifts
Amazon Prime comes in handy all throughout the year, but the free shipping is especially appreciated during the holiday season. Use my link here to get a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime and receive free shipping on ALL orders. And don’t forget to check out 30 gifts under $30. ALL gifts are on Amazon and qualify for free shopping.
Tip: Cancel your Amazon Prime Account before the free trial ends (after you’ve ordered your Christmas gifts) to avoid paying the one time per year payment for Prime (if you don’t use Amazon enough to get your money’s worth).
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 4 – Shop Secondhand for Decor
I’ve bought loads of perfect condition Christmas decor at the Dollar Tree, garage sales, Value Village and Goodwill, to name a few. It saves money and helps you to stay under your Christmas budget.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 5 – Get In The Spirit By Serving Others
Instead of having the focus be “me me me” this Christmas, help your family focus on the gift of giving to others. Do a family activity together like serving at a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve or writing letters to soldiers who are serving overseas and won’t be home for the holidays.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 6 – Use Rakuten To Earn Cashback
I use Rakuten every time I shop online to earn cash back on purchases I’d already be making anyways. I’ve earned $29.24 in the past month JUST from birthday and Christmas shopping for others. Who wouldn’t want to earn money back each time you shop?! Rakuten gives cash back for stores such as Old Navy, Groupon, Sephora, Ebay, Macy’s, Overstock.com, and many more. Use my link to sign up for Rakuten here and receive a $30 bonus!
Tip: I downloaded the easy to use Rakuten button to my browser so whenever I hop onto a website that Rakuten gives cash back for, it automatically pops up and tells me I’ll get % of cash back for that store. It’s extremely helpful so I never miss an opportunity for cash back. Get the button here! (It’s completely free).
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 7 – Have a Potluck Style Christmas Dinner
What can be more expensive than serving a Christmas dinner for your extended family of 25? Instead of taking the sole responsibility, suggest doing a Christmas dinner but make it potluck style. Create a signup to send to family members for the snacks, main course, sides, and dessert.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 8 – Shop Discount Stores/Companies For Deals
Shop discount websites and secondhand clothing stores such as Groopdealz, Groupon, Poshmark, Thredup, and Amazon Outlet – Clearance, Markdowns and Overstock Deals to save money this Christmas season and stock up for next season.
Tip: Use my code “MEREDITHANNE26” to get $5 off your Poshmark order, my treat!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 9 – Sell Items For Extra Money
Add a little padding to your Christmas budget by selling clothing, last years toys that are no longer used by your kiddos, or anything that hasn’t been used for a year or more in your house. Ebay and Craiglist are great resources for selling anything and everything, and I’ve used Poshmark this year to sell $300+ worth of my clothing I no longer wear. It’s free to sign up, and completely free to ship your clothing to buyers. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 10 – Buy Discount Gift Cards
Cardpool is a gift card exchange company that sells gift cards to your favorite stores for up to 35% off and provides a way for you to sell your unwanted gift cards for up to 92% of their original value.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 11 – Fill Your Spouse’s or Kids Stockings with Big Fillers Such As Socks, Scarves, Etc.
The more full the stockings are with large inexpensive items, the less you have to fill it with other items. Dollar Tree or other cheap stores like it are great for buying useful fillers for stockings. I visit Dollar Tree frequently and promise you there are plenty of great bargain deals to be found for girls, boys, men, and women.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 12 – Purchase Wrapping Items At Your Local Dollar Store
At Dollar Tree, gift wrapping items are a total steal. I purchase beautiful, large size gift bags, gift boxes, tubes of wrapping paper, rolls of ribbon, and tissue paper for a fraction of the cost I’d spend at other stores.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 13 – Make Fun DIY or Dollar Store Gifts To Give
Christmas gifts don’t have to cost a fortune. There are thousands of DIY gift ideas on Pinterest that your family and friends will love.
Tip: View my Homemade Gifts Pinterest board here to view DIY christmas gift ideas to try.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 14 – Use Ibotta To Earn Money Back
I use Ibotta every time I shop at stores such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, and 271 more stores. All I have to do after I shop is scan my receipt or take a photo of the receipt and I get instant cash back for my purchases. Sign up with my code here to get a $10 welcome bonus.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 15 – Print Free Coupons On Mypoints
Mypoints is a website that earns you points towards gift cards by watching videos, completing surveys, printing coupons, discovering deals, and more. I signed up for Mypoints and in just 2 weeks I earned my first $10 gift card to Amazon, spending only 10 minutes or less each day on the website. Pretty easy money!
Tip: Use Mypoints coupons (they’re free) to earn points towards gift cards AND to save money on groceries for your Christmas dinner, gifts for your family and friends, and holiday decor.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 16 – Read Christmas Books By The Fireplace
This is a favorite childhood memory of mine and a great tradition to start with your family. Every year, my mom would get out our 100+ book collection of Christmas favorites and we would read a few each night. Search for Christmas books from your local library for free, or from garage sales for a heavily discounted price. I’ll link a few of my favorite Christmas books below that are available on Amazon.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 17 – Complete Online Surveys for Free Giftcards
As mentioned above, Mypoints is a survey website that I use myself and believe is worth my time in earning me gift cards. Swagbucks is another survey website that has worked well in earning me gift cards for taking surveys, watching videos, even surfing the internet.
Tip: Read this article to learn how to get the most bang for your buck (or time) using Swagbacks.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 18 – Send Your Christmas Card Via Email
Save money on printer, paper costs, and postage by designing a beautiful e-Christmas card using Canva for free. Simply design, save, and send!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 19 – Focus on Activities Rather Than Gifts
A few suggestions include Christmas caroling, visiting a living nativity, or going to a community Christmas art fair. At the art fair, you could give each child 5$ to pick out a gift that goes under the tree for Christmas morning. You could also write letters to soldiers, to children in hospitals who can’t be home for Christmas, or to the patients at a nursing home. Then, deliver letters as a family and watch the kids focus turn from themselves to others this Christmas season. On your way home, do a night drive to look at all the christmas lights, complete with hot cocoa and the ultimate Christmas playlist (made my yours truly 😉 ).
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 20 – Complete Mystery Shops for Money
Bestmark: Who doesn’t love shopping, and EARNING MONEY while doing it?! BestMark is a fantastic company that pays you to be a secret shopper. Each week, I receive an email for shops I’m able to complete at automotive companies, computer/technology companies, retail stores, and more. You are reimbursed for what you purchase AND get payed anywhere from $10-$40+ dollars per shop.
Tip: Combine your Christmas shopping with BestMark mystery shops and kill two birds with one stone!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 21 – Create and Decorate the House Together with DIY decorations
Decorating the house in Christmas Decor doesn’t have to be spendy! Check out my Frugal Christmas Pinterest board for Christmas decor ideas on a budget, homemade gift ideas, frugal Christmas tips, and more!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 22 – Suggest a One Family per Family Gift Exchange With Your Relatives
Each year, my relatives draw a name out of all the families in my extended family. The name we draw is the family we buy a Christmas gift for. This saves you from having to buy a gift for every family in your extended family, and no family is left out.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 23 – Watch Christmas Movies With Popcorn, Hot Chocolate, and Blankets
Pop in a few Christmas DVD’s you already own or watch the Christmas specials running on T.V. throughout the month of December. My personal favorites are the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel and ABC family. Pop a bag of popcorn, grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up in a few blankets, and it’s movie time!
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 24 – Bake Cookies and Deliver Them
Bake a batch of Christmas cookies and bag them in cute holiday baggies with ribbon to make the perfect frugal gift for friends or neighbors.
How To Do Christmas Cheap: Tip 25 – Go To A Christmas Eve Church Service To Prepare Yours and Your Children’s Hearts for the True Meaning Of the Season
When we are less focused on gifts, Santa Claus, and Frosty the Snowman, and more focused on the true meaning of Christmas, all the money, gifts, and material aspects of Christmas seem to matter a whole lot less. Jesus is the reason for the season!
What do YOU do to save money each Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!
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