Broke at Christmas? 14 Ways To Do Christmas on a Budget

Broke at Christmas Solutions – Feeling overwhelmed with how EXPENSIVE Christmas is and have no idea HOW to afford it this year? These 14 tips and tricks will help you pull off Christmas on a tight budget WITHOUT losing your mind or feeling cheap!

Broke At Christmas - How To Pull Off Christmas With Little Money - Christmas on a BUDGET!  Too Broke For Christmas? Here's what to do for Christmas when you're broke - even free money for Christmas. Wondering how do people afford Christmas on a tight budget? Here's 14 ways they do it - and you can too!

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Too Broke For Christmas?

Here Are 14 REALISTIC Ways To Save Money During The Holidays Without Feeling Like a Total Cheapskate

Ah, the Holidays – nothing can put a huge dent in your pocketbook and destroy your household budget more than Christmas.

It can be SO overwhelming, right?


Money and the Holidays can cause SO much stress, overwhelm… and yes, can also cause many people to feel depressed because they don’t feel as if they can BUY the things they think they need to buy for others.

How To Do Christmas CHEAP When You're Broke and on a VERY Tight Budget (without feeling like a cheapskate!)

Let’s look at 14 easy ways you can save money during the Holidays and still have an amazing Christmas (and NOT be in debt – or deeper in debt – AFTER Christmas)

How To Do Christmas on a Budget

Christmas on a Budget - Tips for Christmas Budgeting When You're Too Broke For the Christmas Holidays

When it comes to how to do Christmas cheap because you’re on a tight budget, you will read LOTS of tips and tricks that are all so… well, NOT realistic.

As an example, I know many people who are good at buying Christmas gifts throughout the year.

Yeah… I’m NOT one of those people.

I know this is supposed to be a SMART way to save money on Christmas shopping because you spread the expense over the entire year, but that just does NOT work for me.

Heck, my kids don’t even KNOW what they really want for Christmas until like 2 DAYS before Christmas so how in the WORLD am I supposed to buy their gifts throughout the year?

Instead, I came up with these 14 REALISTIC Holiday time savings tips to save money because, in the REAL world, most of us really want to know how to pull off Christmas will little money to do Christmas on a low budget.

Let’s be totally real here for a moment, the IDEA of a “no spend Christmas” sounds great in theory, but it’s NOT realistic.

Here are 14 ways to do Christmas on a budget for a low-budget Christmas that does NOT feel cheap AND does NOT leave you broke AFTER Christmas.

broke at Christmas - how to do Christmas on a budget for a low budget Christmas - 14 Ways To Save Money During The Holidays

1. Free Money For Christmas

There are 2 simple ways to get free money for Christmas when you find yourself broke at Christmas every, single year – or just THIS year. One way gets you immediate cash to spend – the other takes time.

  1. Sell your Clutter For Cash
  2. Save a Little Bit All Year Long

Obviously, selling stuff can get you an immediate influx of extra cash for Christmas when you need it fast – and saving a little bit all year long takes… well, all year.

If you’re in a pinch right now, sell some of your unused stuff, but the best advice is to prevent that yearly money pinch by being proactive.

So many readers ask me how to START saving for Christmas – and to me, that is the exact right question to ask!

When you save a little all year long, you won’t feel such a pinch when the Holidays roll around… even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there is still a simple way to save a little each week that will add up to a nice nest egg for a stress-free Christmas.

Here’s some great ideas and savings charts to help you save money for Christmas or for ANY savings needs:

Now, if your chance for saving money for Christmas weekly is over because you need to save money NOW, keep reading to learn clever tips and tricks to give YOURSELF the best Christmas gift of all – a DEBT FREE Christmas!

2. Don’t WASTE Money

There are so many things we THINK we NEED to buy for Christmas when, in fact, those things are just total wastes of money.

To save money during the Holidays, do NOT buy things like:

— Christmas Cards

— Over-Priced and Over-Hyped Toys

— Fancy Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags,

— etc

Shoot, just buying Christmas cards and postage stamps can put you in the Christmas Budget Poorhouse before you even start Holiday shopping!

☑  note: If you have kids to buy for, I KNOW that those over-hyped toys are most likely THE toys they want from Santa this year.

Here’s a tip for Santa – you can save money on the hottest toys here.

Just keep an eye on that page and you should be able to find a good deal or two.

3. Make a Budget Plan

Even Santa makes a list… and checks it TWICE.

I think the man is on to something… haha!

Budgeting for the Holidays should always, ALWAYS start with this or else you’re gonna find yourself in a MESS shortly AFTER Christmas:


 Christmas Budget PlannerShow Me This Christmas Budgeting EnvelopesShow Me This


Start your entire Holiday shopping with a clear amount you have able to spend and then an exact list of who you need to buy gifts for Christmas this year.

Then, set a dollar amount you are going to spend for each person on your list – and STICK TO IT.

☑  Need help making your lists and planning your Holidays?

Get these free printable Holiday Organizers

4. Use Credit Cards The SMART Way

I know, I know…. everything you read or hear says to never EVER use credit cards to pay for Christmas.

I am NOT one of those people.

Now, please hear me…

I do NOT think people should use credit cards if they don’t have money for Christmas or to spend MORE on Christmas than they budget for…


Using a credit card the SMART way can actually help you SAVE on your Christmas shopping AND help you budget WHAT you are spending your holiday budget on.

As an example:

I have this Amazon Prime credit card – and I LOVE it.

You can get a $200 Amazon Gift Card instantly after the fast online approval process – offer ends 11/28

amazon credit card $200 gift card offer

I use it for everything and anything I purchase for the Holidays no matter where I’m shopping.

By using that one specific card for everything, I not only can visually SEE exactly how much I’m spending, but I also get CASH BACK for all those purchases (which can be used for MORE Amazon purchases).

That, to me, is a SUPER smart way to use credit cards for Holiday shopping.

Oh, and there’s no annual fee, either – yay!

Some Amazon Credit Cards give you cash credit to pay your bill – that’s like FREE MONEY!

If the holidays have you in a budget crunch, that kind of free money REALLY helps.

☑  Bonus Tip: When you have a credit card like this, SAVE those bonus points and cash back all year long and your Christmas could be free, or darn close to it, next year!

As a side note: Last year, I bought an Amazon Prime membership for my older kids and boy oh boy, were they SO SOOOOOOO happy to get it!

The teenage kids got a subscription to Amazon Music and they have loved it all year long – and it was a really CHEAP gift too!

5. Know Where The Deals Are

The Holidays are famous for making you THINK stores are having BIG DEALS on the things you want and need to buy for Christmas, but they’re not always truly GOOD deals that save you money.

Do your research and then take advantage of deals on special pages like this Amazon Outlet page.

6. Know WHEN The Deals Are

Aside from knowing WHERE the best deals can be found for your Christmas gift shopping, it’s also smart to know WHEN the best deals can be found.

Every store, online and offline, are constantly having sales on their BEST Holiday deals – and that all starts bombarding us right about Halloween (ugh!)

Always Remember: the closer we get to Christmas, the BETTER the deals

Right NOW though – Amazon has some crazy good deals UNDER $25 here – totally worth taking a look.

I’m not one to promote procrastination, but when it comes to saving money on Christmas gifts, procrastinating and waiting can be the best use of your Holiday budget.

Especially for “big ticket” gifts – like electronics… things that cost over $100.

You normally can find the best deals on those big ticket Christmas gifts the week right before Christmas.

7. Shop Online

I’m one of those weird people who actually like getting out into the hustle and bustle of Holiday shopping in my local stores.


Yes, I only do it ONCE a Holiday season – and then I’m good haha!

Not only do the crowds tend to drive me nuts, but I also SPEND MORE when I physically GO shopping in stores.

I come home with the darndest impulse buys!

I have found that doing my Holiday shopping online SAVES me money (and my sanity lol!)

Yes, I save on gas… and yes, I save on time.

But I also save MONEY because I can carefully research for the best deals while sitting here drinking coffee in my pajamas.

8. Don’t BUY It – MAKE It

It is so tempting to BUY family, friends, co-workers, neighbors etc small token gifts for the Holidays that quickly add up to a very expensive chunk out of your Holiday budget.

Instead of BUYING them all a little something, why not MAKE them something.

Here’s my personal list of the handmade Christmas gifts I’m making this year:

Food is always a favorite at the Holidays – especially sweets.

I make a few batches of these no-bake freezer friendly Christmas cookies and then put them in cute Dollar Store cookie tins to give as gifts.

I’ll admit that the first year I gave my cookies tins as gifts instead of buying gifts, I felt a little like a cheapskate.

But wow, it sure felt good when I realized they all LOVED my homemade gifts AND they look forward to that little tin from me every year since.

Here’s where I found my no bake recipes:

9. Large Family Gift Alternatives

We have a LARGE family and every, single year I would get SO overwhelmed wondering how in the world I could ever afford buying each of them a Christmas gift AND still have money to buy gifts for my own husband and kids… ugh!

I simple HAD to figure out HOW to cut down on Christmas presents I had to buy each year – so here’s what I did and it’s helped SO much.

I finally got over my pride and got the nerve to talk to my family about this.

Guess what?

They ALSO felt very overwhelmed and over-extended by trying to buy something for EVERYONE also.

So now, we do a “Secret Santa” and draw names out of a hat at our Thanksgiving family gathering.

We still buy for the little kids, but the ADULTS draw names.

And in this family, you are an “adult” when you graduate High School.

In my husband’s family, we do a Dirty Santa or a White Elephant where each adult brings one gift (wrapped) that is under $25 and then we play the Dirty Santa game.

Not only does this save us all a LOT of money over the Holidays, it’s also SO much fun – and we’re all doing what the Holidays are really about – spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.

Our family had a lot of young adults last year, so I made a household supplies gift basket like this:

dirt santa / white elephant gift idea - gift basket made with household cleaning supplies, toilet paper and more from my Dollar Tree store

It was pretty cheap to make too since I got everything from the Dollar Store.

10. Skip The Guilt

The biggest budget DESTROYER over the Holidays for ME has been my own internal, irrational GUILT that I didn’t buy someone “enough” or spend “enough” etc.


Whatever it is, it IS enough.

Guilt spending is probably the number 1 reason people find they are deep in debt AFTER Christmas is over.

Don’t do it.

11. Kids First

Start your holiday shopping with the MOST important names on your shopping list.

For parents, those most important names on the list are YOUR KIDS.

Our job is to make their Christmas as magical as we can without over-extending ourselves and THEN we buy for others if we have money left.

12. Make It a Group Effort

Another HUGE expense during the Holidays is FOOD.

If you are the one that normally prepares the Holiday meal AND pays for all the food, consider making this year’s Christmas get-together a group effort.

Yep, make it a PotLuck family dinner.

That means, EVERYONE brings something whether it’s a side dish or drinks or an appetizer or an easy Christmas dessert, everyone brings and BUYS a part of the whole meal.

Yes, this means you will spend more time trying to organize the meal to delegate who brings what, BUT you will SAVE a TON of money by doing this.

13. Use Coupons

Wondering how to save money on gifts in a super simple way?

Here’s a one word answer:


Coupons can save you a TON of money during the Holidays. Not just traditional grocery store coupons, but online shopping coupons.

There are coupons for just about everything… Toys, Electronics, Purses, Clothes, Baby Stuff, Tools, Furniture, Home Decor… everything and ANYthing.

I’ve found so many great deals on this Amazon coupon page!

Use those kinds of deals!

14. Think OUTSIDE The Box

The final tip for saving money during the Holidays is to think outside the “box”.

Think BEYOND traditional gift boxes with bows and ribbons.

Think beyond how much MONEY you have to spend and think instead of how much TIME you have to GIVE.

As an example, my mother-in-law already has EVERYTHING she could ever want or need…

And, if she does rarely think of something she wants or needs, she just gets it on her own.

That make BUYING Christmas gifts for her extra difficult.

For one, she already has everything and secondly, I don’t want to just BUY her something that she really doesn’t want or need that will just clutter up her home.

Instead, she and I DO something together as our Christmas gift to each other.

Many times, that thing we do is FREE.

But the TIME we give each other is a treasure to both of us.

Gifts don’t have to come in boxes to be thoughtful and meaningful.

Your TIME is probably the most valuable thing you can give another.

Happy Holidays!

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