Most people associate the holiday season with joy and happiness, but if you’re struggling with your finances you might feel something more like stress and worry!
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate the Christmas season without spending all of your cash, or going deeper into debt, you can do it!
Here are 20 ways to celebrate a frugal, but festive, Christmas this year!
Make sure you grab this free printable checklist and coupons for a fun DIY gift.
20 Tips for a Festive & Frugal Christmas
Create a realistic budget and stick to it!
This might seem like an obvious one, but creating a budget is the first step to prevent overspending and stay frugal during the holidays.
Start Planning Early!
When you start your holiday shopping plans early, it will be easier to find the best deals, and you won’t feel rushed into so many impulse buys as the big day approaches.
Don’t go overboard on gifts
It’s easy to slip into the overindulgence of the season, especially if you have young kids! It’s so fun to see their faces when they have an insane amount of packages under the tree. Check out this post on how to handle Santa on a budget.
Start buying as early as possible
Be on the lookout all year long for deals and steals, and you’ll be surprised at how much you already have done when it’s time for Christmas.
Go Thrift Shopping for Gifts
We find quite a few amazing gifts on Facebook marketplace, that are in perfect condition! This is great because it’s like recycling, you’re helping other families declutter their homes, getting a discount, and adding funds to other families’ bank accounts! It’s great for everyone!
Give Homemade Baked Goods for Gifts
Baking for your family and friends can be just as fun as giving expensive gifts! There are so many easy ideas for how to gift food which you can see here (along with some cute free printable gift tags).
Gift your skills or time
The gift of service is a good one to give! If you love babysitting you could offer to watch your nieces and nephews while their parents run errands or grab some much needed R&R. Offer to grocery shop or clean for an elderly family member, or create meal plans or workout plans for a friend if personal training is a skill you have! Anything can go here.
Organize a gift exchange
If you have a large family or group of friends, there’s no need to go into debt buying every single person a pricey gift! Organize a gift exchange, draw names, or play the “white elephant” game instead.
Plan meals and snacks in advance
Planning your holiday menu early can help you stay on budget, take advantage of sales, and stock up on bulk items.
Make homemade gifts and gift tags
DIY Christmas gifts are just as special, and can be just as unique and fun as store bought goodies. Check out some of these ideas and start making!
- Homemade gift ideas your friends and family will love
- DIY Food gifts + free printable gift tags
- Homemade gift ideas for grandkids
Reuse Christmas Gift Bags
Are you even adulting if you don’t have a plastic bin full of gift bags in your house? Reusing gift bags for Christmas, birthdays, and any occasion is a great way to reduce, reuse, and save cash! Don’t have a bag? I always check Dollar Tree for cheap gift wrapping tools!
DIY Your Christmas Decorations
Instead of shelling out the big bucks for expensive holiday decor at the store, you can often create your own for much less! Check out some of these ideas to save money while “decking the halls”.
- Decorate Outdoors for Christmas on a budget
- DIY Christmas Gnome Ideas
- Coffee Table Christmas DIY Ideas
Use Cash, not cards
When you use cash, there’s an emotion that happens when you actually feel the money leave your hand, as opposed to swiping a card. This can help you spend less, and stay on budget! Check out my post on the cash envelope system to learn more.
Have a neighborhood cookie swap
Cookies are a fun and cheap gift idea to give to your neighbors and friends! Plus, it’s a great way to get together without throwing an expensive party.
Check out some of our favorite cookie recipes:
Get a smaller tree
A smaller tree is much cheaper, and of course then you need less ornaments and decor! This is a great way to save money, and the tree will be just as beautiful. We used to get a real tree each year, but I personally think the investment in a one time artificial tree works better for our budget.
Use pinecones, holly leaves, and fir tree branches to decorate
Sometimes using what you can find in nature is the cutest and most frugal way to get the decorating done!
Give a heartfelt hand me down gift
Try giving a family heirloom or heartfelt hand me down as a gift instead of busting the budget on more “stuff”.
Create a bucket list of frugal family activities
There are so many Christmas activities in and around town that you can do for little or no money. Create a list of fun family activities like looking at lights, scavenger hunts, a movie marathon, and more!
Give homemade jellies, jams, or pickles
Just like gifting treats like cookies and cakes, giving homemade food from your garden can also make a meaningful gift.
Discover the true meaning of Christmas
Take time each evening to connect as a family and read the bible, open an advent calendar, or talk about what Christmas really means to you.