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Surviving Christmas on a Limited Budget

By Edited Mar 6, 2016 2 3

Christmas Gifts

Christmas may be one of the most-anticipated holidays when we're talking about children, but for adults, it is the opposite. This is because of the fact that the season not only brings a lot of stress but also comes with the temptation to spend more, which ultimately leads to empty pockets.

The thing is you don’t really have to spend a lot during the holidays. By remembering a few simple things, you will be able to learn how to survive Christmas on a budget.

The Shopping List

Preparing a shopping list is the first thing that should be done if you want to survive Christmas on a Budget. Make sure to do this at least three or four months before the holidays, ensuring that your shopping will go a lot easier and hassle-free. In addition, having a list on hand will eliminate impulse shopping.

There are some who only give presents to close friends and family members but there are those who generous enough that they include colleagues, teachers of their kids, high school/college friends, neighbors and more in their Christmas shopping list. Know your priorities and remember that there’s nothing wrong with not giving gifts on Christmas. People who hate you for not giving gifts, despite your admittedly limited budget, are the type of people who don't really deserve to be part of your Christmas list anyway.

The Budget

Perhaps the easiest way to determine your Christmas budget is knowing how much you want to spend on shopping, then divide it by the number of people on your list. This is especially great if you plan to buy the same items for every individual on your list. However, this method may not be appropriate if you want to buy special gifts for your close family and friends.

Another way to determine your budget for shopping is categorizing – this is putting people on your list into different categories such as close friends, acquaintances, family and colleagues. After categorizing, you can now easily establish your budget for each category. Say, fifty percent of your budget goes to the family and close friends categories, twenty-five percent on colleagues and fifteen percent on the acquaintance category. The remaining ten percent will be for charity or for other people you don’t know. This could mean additional work but this method can help you stick to your budget.

Inexpensive Gift Items


Finding good quality items without breaking the bank may require a lot of effort and patience. However, if you are shopping on a budget, it is something that should be practiced. Some nice but inexpensive gift items include journals, coffee mugs, wrist watch, handkerchief, jewelry box, ornaments for the kitchen/garden. They may be common but with a little effort, you’ll find ones that look luxurious. Remember,  inexpensive items don’t necessarily mean poor quality.

Wrapping Papers, Boxes, Cards and Tags

Believe it or not, boxes, gift wrappers, tags and cards can add a huge amount on your Christmas budget. Keep in mind that the price tags of these Christmas items are higher during the holidays so it is best to purchase them during the first months of the year (January or February).

You can purchase large rolls of gift wrappers that can be used for everyone. What you can do is to choose a simple yet festive design that can be used for all your friends and relatives. For children, find another type of wrapper that would be perfect for both girls and boys, something with cartoon-like or toy designs.

If you are into arts and crafts, creating your own Christmas wrapping paper can help you reduce your total Christmas shopping cost. All you have to do is to purchase a cheap brown paper and transform it into an artistic gift paper – draw on it, paint on it – pour your artistic heart on it.

You can also save money with DIY cards, box and tags. There are a lot of websites that provide step-by-step instructions on how to make cute Christmas boxes, tags, cards and wrappers so make sure to do your research for creative ideas.

DIY Christmas Gifts

Do you know how to survive Christmas shopping on a budget? Create your own gifts! Aside from saving a lot, it can also add some personal touch on the presents (which will definitely touch the hearts of the receivers) and at the same time, making personalized gifts can improve your creativity and skill.

If you are into painting, create some art pieces (don’t have to be huge) – could be a size of a bookmark. If you’re into sewing/embroidery, you can make cute little bags with the receiver’s initials on them. Other DIY projects that you can give as Christmas gifts include bed sheets, cards, wallet, canvas bags, photo frame, personalized shirts and more.

Got the talent? Use it! Christmas should not always equate with shopping and spending a lot of money. Be creative and surely, your family and friends will appreciate your gifts because of the time and effort you put on them.

Additional Tips:

  • Do your Christmas shopping during clearance sales and yard sales.
  • Make sure that you have the receipts when shopping especially for expensive gift items because you’ll never know when they need to be returned.
  • Buy something that the person really wants, not something that you want.
  • If you just don’t know what to buy for certain people, give gift certificates. This eliminates the hassle of shopping for something you have no idea about.
  • Online shopping is definitely the way to go especially if you don’t have the time to go from one shopping center to another. Most of the time, retailers offer great discounts online. You can find tons of websites where you can find cheap items as well as those hard-to-find gifts for your loved ones.

Remember that Christmas should not be just about gifts and material things. Giving gifts during Christmas season is a great way to show that you care and to share your blessings so make sure to enjoy Christmas on a budget because there’s no need to stress your pocket during the holidays.



Dec 14, 2013 3:46am
You have some great tips here and the budget part is a good idea. I have told everyone no presents this year unless its something home made. And have stressed when I give those that they are not presents, but just a friendly gift that I have made to keep me busy and active. rated up
Dec 14, 2013 10:26am
Very helpful tips. Christmas can be a stressful time for those who are on limited budgets.
Dec 15, 2013 10:28pm
Thanks Shar-On and WriterJoanne! :)
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