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Tag Archive: Christmas on a Budget

7 Ways to Save Money and Stay Organized When Shopping for Christmas Gifts

Guest post by Misty from The Frugal Family

I know, it’s 75 degrees today. The corn stalks are swaying and it’s not even really fall yet! But, if you’re a smart shopper, you’re going to start early!

Take it from me. My husband and I buy gifts for about 35 people and any of those people get multiple gifts from us. Yes, I know, it’s insane. Good thing I know how to shop, huh?

Here are a few things I do each year to get started:

1. Make a complete list of everyone you buy for.

If you don’t make a list, you’re going to end up with several people you forgot on December 23rd and you’re going to have to run out and find something, most likely paying more than if you had strategically planned. Don’t forget Sunday school teachers, classroom teachers, the mail man, or the paper delivery guy. Those are the ones that sneak up on me!

2. On the list of all the people you buy for, plan out gift ideas.

It never fails. My dad and father-in-law are the hardest people to buy for. Every year Andy and I scratch our heads trying to decide what to buy. This year we already have gift ideas on the list next to their names. That way, if we come across something that’s a great deal and it’s on our list, we can scratch it off!

3. Keep your list with you.

Who knows when you might be in the mall and find a clearance section that has items at 75% OFF! “Wait, did I already get him a gift or not? I can’t remember…” This is why you carry your list with you. If you find a great deal, you can just pull it out and you’ll know if you need to purchase the item or not.

I used to be bad about this. I would pick up things throughout the year for my nieces and then it would be time to wrap gifts and they’d have 10 gifts because I forgot all the other little things I’d picked up for them here and there. Keep a list, keep it with you, and keep it up to date.

4. Don’t be afraid to cut back.

This was a huge problem for me. I love giving people gifts. It’s honestly one of my favorite things to do so I hated the thought of not spending as much as I used to on the people that I loved. I had to realize these things:

  • Not everyone expects expensive gifts.
  • When you buy someone an expensive gift they often feel like they have to buy you an expensive gift which they can’t always do. It can make them have to spend more than they needed to.
  • You can still give fantastic gifts by shopping smart.
  • There are many gifts you can give that are free or almost-free! Look for free Photo Gifts, Canvas Prints, Photo t-shirts, calendars, and more. And, you can always give the gift of service. There aren’t many moms that would rather have a candle or body spray over free babysitting for a night.

5. Give gifts of time.

Like I just mentioned above, giving of your time is costs you nothing out of pocket. You can always make a nice gift certificate on the computer and give free babysitting, lawn care, baked goods, house cleaning, and more. The ideas are endless.

6. Start saving now.

If you have craft skills, find some local fall festivals and sell your goods there. You can sell things you make on Etsy or Ebay. You could also give sewing, piano, or music lessons if you’re good at what you do.

Another idea is to take surveys and earn cash or gift certificates. I did this last year (surveys) to make extra Christmas money and ended up with several Amazon Gift Certificates in return which helped to save me money on Christmas gifts! I’ve also sold hair bows and chocolate popcorn at local vendor fairs to make extra cash.

7. Watch the ads.

Last year I was able to score several (seven, if I’m remembering right) Milton Bradley board games for around $1.20 each after coupons and rebates. Keep your eyes open. Deals like these will come and you need to be ready to grab them!

Misty is a wife and stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to her three small children. She loves, loves, loves to save money and get a good deal!  Misty has a great desire to serve God and finds joy in sharing her money-saving tips and the deals she finds on her blog, The Frugal Family.

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Save money and simplify things by setting a limit on Christmas gifts

Ashley emailed in the following tip:

We give each of our children three, and only three, Christmas gifts. Jesus also received three gifts from the wise men (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), so we figure if it was good enough for Him, then it is good enough for our children! We share with our children that they are receiving three gifts, just as Jesus did, and it makes the holiday more meaningful as well.

We also have set up a “genre” for each of the three gifts our children receive. One gift is always something useful like pajamas; one gift is money for their savings; and one gift is something they want or a “fun gift”. By limiting the number of “fun gifts” to just one per child, we are able to say “no” when we see something they would “just love,” but not love enough to be their “fun gift.” -Ashley

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Get a Jump-Start on Holiday Shopping

Guest post by Jessica Miller at The Shoestring Budget

I do not like shopping when the stores are packed. I also don’t like paying twice as much as normal because of the current season. So I started shopping for my Christmas gifts earlier in the year. Like really early in the year.

Thanks to deal-posting sites like and others, I’m able to have good deals delivered directly to my inbox. I can quickly scan the list and if something pops out at me, I take a minute to decide if it would make a good Christmas gift or not, and if so, I buy it!

My husband and I have a tradition of giving a gift to each of our immediate family members on Christmas. Since we don’t have any children yet, we can still afford to do this. But that’s still eight gifts to buy in addition to the ones we give each other.

In order to save as much as possible, and still be able to bless our family members, we set a budget for our Christmas gifts. We have an allotted amount to spend on each person and after we’ve spent that amount, we’re done!

Throughout the year, I keep my eyes open for good deals on things that would make great gifts. Many times stores will run sales on items throughout the year that will also be available at Christmas for more money. By buying these early, I can save money and actually give a bigger gift.

I make a list with each person’s name on it and once I’ve bought something for their gift, I write down the item and the price and how much I have left to spend. This keeps me organized and enables me to stick to the budget we set.

So far I’ve already bought something for both my sister and my sister-in-law that took about half of their allotted amounts, so as soon as I find something for the other half, I can mark two people off the list! The best part is that I can avoid crowded shopping malls and overpriced gifts, not to mention I can experience the joy of shopping for someone else all year long.

Jessica and her husband Curtis have been married for 10 months, and are currently renting a duplex and saving as much money as possible to be able to buy a house and raise a family before long. One of the things she loves to do most is search for the best deals and coupons. Saving money has become a fun thing for her and her husband to do together. Jessica  writes about the deals she finds and tips she’s learned at The Shoestring Budget.

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