Stretching Your Christmas Budget

So we have talked about Setting a Christmas Budget, Staying on your Christmas Budget now it is time for a few ideas on Stretching your Christmas Budget.

We usually keep things pretty simple around here for Christmas. One “big” gift and a couple small gifts for the boys. THE HUSBAND and I take an annual “Stocking Stuffer” buying trip. We chose a store, set a limit, then see what fun things we can find for each other in an hour with out letting the other see. Then we buy small gifts for our extended family and we are done.

These are a few of the things I am doing to stretch our Christmas budget. As always I would love to hear your ideas.

1. Shop early– I know it is a little late for this tip but it may help you out for next year. Several of you commented on what great deals you get right after Christmas.  You can find great deals on toys, clothing and wrapping paper.
If you shop early it is helpful to dedicate on storage space to gifts and keep a list there of everything you have. That way, when Christmas comes around you will know what you have without having to drag it all out of your closet.

2. Use Deal Site Deals- There are so many deal sites available now! They can help you save a lot of money on your Christmas budget. You could give family members a night out or a day at the spa for half price. If you have out of town relatives you can search there city’s deals. I bought the Body Shop Groupon and both of my sisters will be getting some awesome Body Shop products for Christmas.
There are a few other deal sites I have used and trust- Living Social, Half off Depot, Plum District, and FlutterToday.  If you have any other favorites let me know.

3. Make creative and frugal gift baskets.

4. Give homemade gift certificates.We did this last year for my brother and sister-in-law. We used a deal site to buy them a gift card for dinner at at restaurant we knew they liked and also gave them a homemade gift certificate for a night of babysitting. (We would have babysat anyway but it was fun to include that in their date night gift.)

You could make these for anything or anyone- baby sitting, cleaning, car wash etc. You could make them for your children- watch their favorite movie, stay up 30 late, pick dinner one night. You could help your children make them for your spouse. The possibilities are endless. You can find several templates online, my favorites I found at Real Simple.

4.Comparison Shop Online

5.Keep an eye out of online freebies. As we get closer to the holidays you will see several freebies pop up. There are usually several photo card and photo book deals that are free or close to and make great gifts.

6.Consider making your own gifts or baking your own gifts. This is a goal of mine. I do not have a crafty bone in my body but I dream of making cute homemade gifts for my kids (and nieces and nephews). I am making some plans now to help that happen next year.

7. Sign up for Swagbucks. This is another tip that would be good to start now but probably not super helpful until next year. That being said, it is not unlikely that using Swagbucks to search online everyday for the next year will earn you a couple hundred dollars in Amazon (or other gift cards) to use for Christmas presents next year. This alone has really changed my Christmas budget.

What about you? I am excited to hear all of your great ideas and tips for stretching your Christmas budget.


  1. This year we made and canned homemade salsa (so very easy the key is fresh lime juice) and will make gifts baskets inc Mexican soup mix my daughter was selling with her church choir group. I mean I had to but the stuff anyway right? Have been collecting the baskets at thrift stores since Sept, will spray paint white (lightly so they look old- which they are!) and add red bows (Dollar Tree ribbon) and a tag made from last year’s Christmas cards. Ta da! Homemade gift basket.

  2. What a great idea! Would you ever consider sharing the salsa recipe? THE HUSBAND loves salsa.

  3. What You Need
    3 tomatoes (1 lb.), chopped (I roated mine first) 1/4 cup  finely chopped red onions 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1   jalapeño pepper, finely chopped 1/4 cup KRAFT Italian Dressing
    Make It
    COMBINE ingredients.
    Tip to Chop Tomatoes
    Cut tomato into wedges, then cut each wedge into small pieces. Make AheadSalsa can be prepared ahead of time. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


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