Bright wrapped presents

Christmas on a Budget

Have Yourself a (Frugal) Little Christmas

7 Ways to Celebrate the Season without Killing Your Budget

It goes without saying that 2021 has been financially tough for many of us, my family included.
I read a statistic that said this October saw inflation in America at a 30-year high. Ouch.
Our budgets and wallets are feeling the pain. And maybe tightening your belt has got you wondering how you can have a great Christmas on a budget. Here are 7 ways to enjoy this holiday season to the fullest, without adding extra financial anxiety to your life.

7 Ideas for a Frugal Christmas:

Santa Clause hand writing a Nice List for Christmas

Make a gift list and pair it down.

The first step in deciding how much you can and want to spend on gifts is to make a list of everyone you’re planning to buy for. Do you really have to buy a gift for your estranged neighbor’s cousin? Of course I’m being silly, but if you’re on a budget, it may be worth it to decide to cut a few people from your list.

Think “bulk” gifts.

Find a gourmet cookie mix that you know everyone at the office would love? Or a great, scented holiday candle? Consider buying multiples of a special item and distribute it to a number of people on your list. How does this save money? Well, it definitely keeps you from decision fatigue and saves on gas going from store to store. Plus, you’ll get through your list a lot faster!

Gingerbread Men cookies

Homemade from the heart.

Think about an item you could make and gift to your loved ones. Don’t tell me you’re not crafty. We live in the age of Pinterest. All it takes is a quick search and you can find easy, peasy crafts that will both delight and save you money.

Ocean themed Christmas Tree
This is the first year since 2016 we’ve put the “Florida Tree” up, even though we no longer live in Florida. It’s so pretty and I’m really enjoying it!

Decorate to the max- from what you already have.

My sassy 4 year old is all about that Christmas swag this year. In fact, this year is the earliest we’ve ever decorated for Christmas, well before Thanksgiving. Then she took one look around and told her daddy, “we don’t have enough decorations!” So up went a third three that we haven’t pulled out in five years. Dust off those decorations- especially the ones you haven’t used in years. You can turn a humble home into a decked out abode just by using the decorations you already have.

Gift exchange with kids.

Do you have to buy for a lot of kids in your family? (Cousins, nieces and nephews, etc.) Why not organize a gift exchange among the kids so you only have to buy for some, not all? Here’s how it works: Have each kid make a list of items he or she would like (you can help the youngest kiddos write ✍️ their lists). Then do a quick, “secret” gift exchange and let each kid shop for their secret Santa gift using the list they drew. If a kid draws a sibling, just put it back and draw again.

Ten and Twenty dollar bills

Brilliant idea here- only pay in cash.

You know what’s a real bummer? Paying for Christmas…in February, March, and April. Unfortunately that’s a way of life for many of us who whip out our credit cards in December, only to have major buyer’s remorse come the new year when the bill becomes due. If you want to have a frugal little Christmas, vow to only purchase presents with cash (or your handy debit card, which is basically the same thing).

Boy decorating Christmas Cookies

Focus on memory making/ experiences this season.

Currently, I’m in the car with my family of five, headed to see a Christmas light display at a park in our city. I’ve learned over the years that my kids tend to hang onto to the memories of experiences over the toys they’ve received. What experiences can you give to your family this year over buying them a bunch more “things”?  The memories you make from living life to the fullest will last long after any toys you buy your kids.

Even if you’re cutting costs this year, you can make it a spectacular Christmas just by making the most of what you already have.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful and frugal little Christmas!