Contrary to popular belief, there’s no reason to break the bank in order to have a merry Christmas! We’ve compiled our favourite tips to help you to celebrate Christmas on a budget. Whether you’re a college student or just an average person who doesn’t have extra hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on the holidays, we’ve got you covered.
While these tips are focused on Christmas, many of them can be applied to other holidays this season (or year-round)!
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Make a list
And check it twice! By keeping track of the people you’re getting gifts for and what you’ve gotten so far, you’ll not only be organised, but you’ll have a much easier time of staying on track financially.
Check out our holiday bullet journal spreads for some list inspiration!
Make a budget
Actually make a paper and pen(cil) (or digital, if that’s your thing!) budget! Keep track of what you’ve spent and how much you’ve allotted and do your best to stay within those limits.
Consider Secret Santa
I’ve found this one works wonders for students, especially! Rather than buying gifts for everyone in your friend group or family, consider Secret Santa to ensure everyone gets a gift and no one goes broke in the process.
Elfster is a great resource for setting up an exchange!
Utilise the dollar store
Dollar Tree is one of my favourite places, and for good reason! Whether you’re picking up decorations, grabbing a pack of cards (yes, I still like to send paper cards–though digital cards will be even more budget-friendly!), stocking up on stocking stuffers, or even getting some small gifts, the dollar store can truly be a lifesaver (not to mention a budget saver)!
If you plan ahead, sites like AliExpress can be an excellent resource for low-cost pieces, too!
I’m not saying you have to beat someone up over a $4 DVD on Black Friday, but some of the deals are absolutely incredible. The same goes for Cyber Monday and the entire “shopping season” at large. Try to make purchases (especially any larger ones) with one of these deals to make the most of it.
Make the most of cash back
If you have a credit card that offers cash back, take advantage of those extra bits of change! But, don’t go overboard with the credit card–know yourself and pay it off to avoid nasty interest fees. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but Debitize allows you to pull money directly from a checking account (like if you used a debit card to pay) while using your credit card, in order to make the most of perks like cash back.
Consider needs vs. wants
If you know your loved one really needs something, it might make a good gift! I’ve seen a lot of tips across the internet that especially recommend this one for Black Friday shopping–if you know your household needs towels and there’s a great deal on a set of nice ones, it could be a smart buy!
Remember that you can show love without extravagant gifts
Do you know your love language? Ever since I first learnt about these, I’ve given the concept a lot of thought. I definitely find myself trying to show love through gifts. Just remember that your loved ones will know you love them, even without the latest Xbox.
From gifts and cards to decorations, there’s endless opportunity to get crafty over the holidays. Plus, you get a fun activity out of the deal, too! Pinterest and YouTube are great resources for some DIY ideas (I love Hermione Chantal‘s Christmas playlist!).
Remember your year-round savings tips
There’s no need to throw caution to the wind just because it’s the holiday season (despite how it may seem in all of those adverts). If you normally use Honey or eBates* before ordering something online, don’t forget to while shopping this Christmas!
Check out our favourite tips to save money to add some new ideas to your arsenal.
Make your meals as frugal as possible
Whether you’re having the whole family over or bringing a dish to a potluck-style celebration, make yourself a budget-friendly dinner! Compare sales and prices from different stores, buy generic when possible, and make sure to include lots of veggies and other money-saving ingredients to get the most out of your meal for less money.
I love to pick up items throughout the year to spread out the expense of gift-giving and shop sales as they come. If this isn’t an option, you can even save ideas (I have an Amazon list and a Pinterest board) of gifts you’d like to give to save time when it comes to gift ideas later on–and give yourself that extra time to compare prices!