Christmas is supposed to be a time of family, relaxation, fun, and festivities, yet I would bet that most people feel completely overwhelmed by Christmas because of the stress of buying gifts and spending money. We want to save money on Christmas gifts, so we don’t spend more than we can afford.
When it comes to gift giving as consumers we spend more and more every year.
In 2022, 35% of Americans were in debt after the holidays with an average debt of $1549. This is the highest debt amount in 8 years. (LendingTree Holiday Debt Survey)
It goes to say that this is not a situation any of us want to be in when starting the new year.
So, today we’re going to run through 14 ways to save money on Christmas gifts so you can enjoy yourself more this year.
How To Save On Christmas Gifts
As the Christmas season approaches, many of us are looking for ways to save money on gifts while still showing our loved ones how much we care – without breaking the bank.
This year, I am finding some amazing ways to save money on Christmas shopping. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Plan Early
By planning your Christmas shopping early you can take advantage of deals when you see them.
To start planning, make a list of everyone you plan on buying for and include gift ideas for each person.
Then keep the list handy on your phone so you have it wherever you go.
Best times to buy in advance:
- Right after Christmas for the following year
- Black Friday
- Cyber Money
2. Set A Budget
The best way to save money on Christmas shopping is to only purchase items that you can comfortably afford. Afterall, it doesn’t feel very festive to be in debt after the holidays.
Keep track of your spending so that you can stick to a budget while still buying special presents for your family and friends.
I recommend: Writing a list of everyone you need to buy for and putting a budget beside each person’s name. If the total amount ends up being too high, either reduce each person’s budget or remove them from the list. (You can always aim for a cheap or free DIY gift instead) Download this free printable Christmas Gift List to start.
3. DIY Gifts
Making your own gifts is perfect to not only save money but also show someone how much you care.
I LOVE receiving good DIY gifts at Christmas time. Here are some of the favorites that I’ve both made and received…
- Homemade candles (soy or beeswax)
- Mason jar cookie mix
- Spiced nuts
- Homemade granola
- Christmas tree ornaments
- Homemade cranberry sauce
- Essential oil room sprays
- Framed picture
- Peppermint bark
- Dried herbs from your garden (in a mason jar)
4. Dollar Store Shopping
Dollar stores have come a LONG way in recent years. There are so many nice things you can pick up and the quality is pretty decent.
When shopping at a dollar store I recommend making a themed gift basket. Here are some examples:
- Cozy basket – Cute mug, tea, chocolate and fuzzy socks
- Self-care basket – Candle, bath bombs, body cream, face mask
- All things sweet basket – candy, chocolate, cookies, treats
- Bakers basket – choc chips, flour, bowl, whisk, measuring spoons and cups
5. Only buy for the kids
Adults don’t need Christmas gifts – well kids don’t either, but it’s completely fine to tell the adults in your life that you are only buying for kids this year.
Instead of exchanging gifts. Just get together like normal and enjoy each other’s company – without the stress of spending extra money.
6. Plan a Gift Giving Game
Tell your extended family you don’t want to give individual gifts this year (other than the kids) – however, you can play a gift-giving game instead.
There are my two favorites:
- Set a budget that everyone agrees to
- Put everyone’s name in a hat and each person pulls out the name of the person they are buying for. There are also online Secret Santa tools you can use to select names, like Elfster
- Everyone gets together like usual and the gift exchange begins – don’t forget to keep it a secret!
- People can guess who gave them the gift
- Set a gift budget everyone agrees to
- Purchase a gift that fits within that budget
- Wrap your gift and bring it to the gift exchange
- When everyone is together, put numbers in a hat (one number for each person) and each person chooses a number to determine what order they will go in
- The first person opens a wrapped gift, and the turn ends
- On subsequent turns, each person has the choice to either unwrap a new present or to steal another’s.
- When a gift is stolen, that person can either choose another wrapped gift to open or steal from another player
This is a really fun game – especially when the 8-year-old ends up with a bottle of whisky!
Note: If you are playing with kids just make sure there are a couple of kids’ gifts included in the mix so they can steal what they want.
7. Shop At A Thrift Store
There can be a lot of great finds at second-hand shops and my first big tip is to visit a thrift store in an expensive neighborhood. This is where a lot of amazing deals can be found!
Some examples of wonderful gifts from thrift stores include:
- Vintage cookbooks
Tip: If you purchase anything that is a fabric make sure to wash it before gifting.
8. Don’t Go Overboard
The more you buy someone doesn’t equal how much you care for that person. So just buy one gift and make it meaningful.
If you’re used to buying more gifts, say with your spouse, then let them know upfront that you’re just doing one gift this year, so they can do the same for you.
Another good way to not spend too much is to only buy what’s on your gift list – and stick to that budget!
9. Use Gift Cards
Before you make a purchase, check for any gift cards that might be tucked away in your wallet. This is particularly useful if you were given one as a present.
You can either re-gift the actual gift card or use it to purchase a gift.
10. Gift Your Time
Make your own coupons that your friend or loved one can redeem for your time.
Make sure to think about what would be most valuable to the recipient when thinking of the coupon ideas.
This can include things like:
- Foot massage
- Breakfast in bed
- Garden/yard clean-up
- Home cooked dinner
- Run a bubble bath
Regifting might seem taboo, but I think it’s completely okay as long as it’s something you know someone will like or appreciate more than you. Just make sure you haven’t used the item.
If I ever receive a gift I know I won’t use I set it aside with other gifts or things that I know others will like. Think of it as creating your own little gifting cupboard or drawer that you can shop in.
12. Use Loyalty Points
We collect loyalty points at so many stores, so why not use these points to save money on Christmas gifts?!
Here are some common places you collect points that you can use as a gift:
- Credit card points
- Movie theater chain
- Grocery store
- Department stores
- Hardware stores
13. Don’t Buy Christmas Cards – Print Your Own
Have you noticed how expensive greeting cards are these days? It’s actually ridiculous!
So, print free holiday cards at home instead.
Just search online for ‘free printable Christmas cards’ and you’ll come across an amazing Christmas card post like this.
There are so many unique designs to choose from and perfect if you have a printer at home.
14. Use Coupon Codes
Wherever you shop, look for coupon codes before you checkout. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find something you can use whether it’s 10% or more off, or free shipping. Every little bit counts so take the extra minute to look.
You can also use an app like honey, that will automatically search for promo codes for you (when you’re at checkout).
How do you like to save money on Christmas gifts?
We’d love to add any additional tips you have to our list – share in the comments below!
Website Owner / Content Creator
I’ve always been frugal by nature. It’s helped me travel around the world, buy a home in an expensive city, and focus on the things that matter in life more than money.
Follow along as I share my top frugal living and money-making strategies.