How to Buy Christmas Presents on a Budget 

how to buy christmas presents on a budget

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Oh yes, Christmas is getting closer my friends! We are officially less than a month out, and I've got Christmas presents on the brain.  

For many people, Christmas can be a source of financial stress. We all want it to be perfect and to make our families feel loved and celebrated, and sometimes that comes at a cost. 

But, if you're trying to figure out how to buy Christmas presents on a budget, I've got some really great ideas for you. 

Now before we dive in, let me just say that one of the best things you can do to minimize the financial stress around Christmas is to put money into a Christmas fund throughout the year.  

Even $50 per month can add up to a nice Christmas budget if you start in January. I highly recommend doing this because not only does it reduce your stress, but it makes Christmas shopping and hosting parties a lot of fun.  

We keep a savings account in our bank that is dedicated solely to Christmas. It's part of the nine bank accounts we used to keep our financial life running smoothly. 

If you've gotten to this point in the year and haven't started saving yet, don't worry. The tips in this post will help you buy your Christmas presents on a budget, and then you can start saving for next Christmas in January! 

Let's get into it.

​1. Collect Items From Your Buy Nothing Group Throughout the Year 

how to buy christmas presents on a budget

If you're really on a budget, one of the best ways to get extra Christmas presents is to collect things from your local Buy Nothing group. Even better if you start doing this earlier in the year!  

I've seen so many boxes of unused kids toys, bicycles, and other fun things on my local group. If you can start looking a few months ahead, it's very likely that you can score a gift or two for free. 

Another thing you can do is simply ask the group for something that you are looking for. You never know, but someone may have the exact thing you are looking for! 


2. Use Up Any Gift Cards You Have 

This should go without saying, but if you're trying to buy Christmas presents on a budget you should definitely use up any gift cards you have laying around. Those are pretty much free money just waiting to be spent, and it isn't very useful if it stays in your wallet.  

One thing you can do if you have gift cards for places you don't want to shop is to sell them on sites like Gift Card Granny. Typically you can offload them for 80% to 90% of the balance on them, which gives you some cash to go out and buy a gift wherever you want. 


3. Shop Black Friday Sales 

Shopping Black Friday sales is a really great way to get some of your Christmas shopping done on a budget. As we all know, there can be some really incredible Black Friday sales, and this is a good way to save 30% to 50% off of gifts you might otherwise buy in December at full price. 

Personally, I hate physically going out into the crowds on Black Friday, so I stay home and shop online if there's something I need.  

The awesome thing about doing your Black Friday shopping online is that just about every store does a Black Friday sale. It really doesn't matter whether you are shopping for your kids or your husband or yourself, all of the stores you like will most likely have a pretty good Black Friday sale. 

The key here is to make sure you stick to your budget! It's really easy to overspend when something is deeply discounted, so just go into it with an amount in mind that you are willing to spend, and don't go over it.

4. Spend Less on Stocking Stuffers

how to buy christmas presents on a budget

Another simple way to buy your Christmas presents on a budget is to simply spend less on the stocking stuffers.  

In my opinion, stocking stuffers aren't the place for big presents. Since I do the stocking stuffing in my house, I do the shopping for what goes in them as well.  

Some of my favorite things to put in our stockings are: 

  • Fancy soaps 
  • Chocolates 
  • Makeup (for me) 
  • Warm fuzzy socks 
  • Small toys for our toddler 

Since I'm also a bit of a minimalist and don't like clutter around the house, I really try to avoid putting non-consumables in our stockings.  

I love buying things that I know are going to be used up. Whether that's makeup, chocolate, or soap, I know it's something that isn't going to be clogging up the house for the next 3 years. We're going to use it up, and be done with it. 

5. Get Crafty and Make Something the Kids Will Love 

how to buy christmas presents on a budget

My last tip, especially for your kids, is to get crafty. I remember as a little girl my most loved possession was a seashell box my great-grandmother had given me. It was a simple but beautiful little box with a velvet interior and a seashell encrusted outside. 

Pinterest is a rabbit hole for craft ideas for kids, which can be a great way to save some money this Christmas (Just make sure someone peels you away after a couple of hours!) 

What types of crafts you might make will really depend on the age of your kids, but the great thing about kids is that they are easily entertained! 

Maybe you could create some cookie in a jar gifts that then you can then bake together throughout the year. 

Or maybe you could string some jewelry for your daughter, or whip up a batch of elf snot for the boys 😅  

Whatever you decide on, make sure to start a good few weeks before Christmas. You don’t want to be scrambling to finish craft projects on Christmas Eve! 


how to buy christmas presents on a budget

Christmas doesn’t have to cost a ton, and it’s something you can definitely do on a budget. Planning ahead makes all the difference. If you missed budgeting for Christmas this year, make it a hard goal to save a certain number of dollars every month next year so you are completely prepared for Christmas next year!  

Here are a few of my favorite was to buy Christmas presents on a major budget: 

  1. Collect things from your local Buy Nothing group 
  1. Use up any gift cards you already have 
  1. Shop the Black Friday sales 
  1. Spend less on your stocking stuffers 
  1. Make some craft gifts your kids will love 


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