Christmas on a Budget – Gift Ideas
At our house, a recent layoff at work means only one of us is working (me, on my blogs) – and it’s not the one who makes over $100,000 a year (my husband, who is a geologist)! Financially, Christmas isn’t the best time to be laid off. But it’s kinda fun having my hubby around all day
These gift ideas for Christmas on a budget are for families who can’t afford Christmas the way they used to. You don’t have to be Scrooge to save money.
Earlier today, I saw an advertisement that said, “Don’t make more garbage at Christmas – have more experiences!” I love that idea, and decided not to create a list of inexpensive gifts to buy or make at Christmas. Instead, here are some ideas that are practical, budget-friendly, and, hopefully, inspirational.
Gift Ideas for Christmas on a Budget
Be honest with your loved ones. Last night, one of my close friend asked if Bruce and I would join her and her family for a Christmas dinner at a restaurant. Nope! We could probably afford to spend $60 or more on dinner out, but I really don’t want to. I asked if we could meet them for dessert and coffee at one of our homes after they go out for dinner. We’ll provide the dessert. I didn’t mind being honest about having to stick to a strict budget this Christmas, but many people don’t want to admit that money is tight. Are you ashamed or embarrassed about having to do Christmas on a budget? This may be your first step to freedom and joy this season: swallow your pride, and freely admit that you need to focus on affordable Christmas gift ideas.
Find fun family ways to regift. Usually, I buy gifts for my two closest friends and their children. Last year I splurged and bought them West Edmonton Mall Family Passes for the Waterpark or Galaxyland. This year, we’re doing Christmas on a budget – which means no more family passes that cost over $100 each! Instead, I’m proposing a White Elephant Gift Exchange. All the kids can participate, and it’s a fun, excellent way to declutter, regift, and enjoy the spirit of giving at Christmas.
Get a cashback credit card for Christmas spending. This won’t help you budget for Christmas gifts, but if you’re using credit cards to buy presents, you might as well get money back! Different credit card companies and banks have different types of cashback credit cards, which is a much better alternative to high interest rate store cards. The interest rates are bad (for the consumer) on store credit cards unless you pay off the balance in full every month. Or, consider an interest free credit card for Christmas gifts – but you have to be able to pay off the card right away. This helps you buy Christmas gifts on a budget.
Ask for practical Christmas gifts. Every year, my mother-in-law asks me what I want for Christmas. This year, I’m asking for practical gifts such as coffee, tea, gift cards for Tim Horton’s or Starbucks, and bubble bath. I don’t need more slippers, knick knacks, coffee mugs, or kitchen wares. If “Christmas on a budget” is your theme this year, ask your friends and family for practical gifts that you can actually use all year round.
Are you shopping for gift ideas for a woman? Read What to Buy Your Wife for Christmas – many of the gift ideas are inexpensive and thoughtful.
Give gift cards for everyday items. I could use an Amazon.com Christmas Gift Card this Christmas, so I can buy my textbooks online when my university classes start again. This is one of my favorite gift ideas for Christmas on a budget: give gift cards that your family members can use for stuff they’d be buying anyway (eg, gift cards for gas stations, hair salons, grocery stores, WalMart, etc.).
Consider thrift stores for Christmas gifts on a budget. I’ve found brand new items at thrift stores, such as beautiful vases, pictures, board games, books, DVDs, etc. You might also look for vintage Christmas gifts, such as cool scarves, gloves, records, games or magazines. You have to go to the thrift store regularly, because they’re constantly restocking the shelves. Being creative makes Christmas on a budget more palatable – as long as you don’t look at it as being “cheap.”
Give gifts of service. Here’s a great gift idea for Christmas on a budget, from the Rapid City Journal: Some people truly enjoy Christmas gifts of service – as long as the gifts match your skills and your gift recipient’s wants and needs. For example, painting a room might be a great gift. Offering to wash windows or clean out a garage or closet may be well-appreciated gifts, as long as those are things you’re willing to do. For a gift of service to be most effective, assign a date to accomplish it and be sure you get it done. If you give a gift of service this Christmas and carry it through, you will probably find your family and friends coming up with suggestions for you next year! – From Creativity, planning will stretch holiday budget.
Reconsider buying Christmas gifts for “one and all.” I taught grade 8 and high school for three years, and received many Christmas gifts from my students and their parents. This isn’t necessary, especially if you’re doing Christmas gifts on a budget this year. If you absolutely must buy gifts for your kid’s teacher, read 20 Creative Christmas Gift Ideas for Teachers. But don’t feel obligated to give Christmas gifts to people you don’t count as close friends or family!
Here’s a great tip for Christmas on a budget from My Money.com:
Look back at how much you spent last Christmas. Consider how much you spent over the holidays last year. Do you have any regrets? Did you end up buying gifts at the last minute? Could you have saved money on decorations and other items by planning ahead? Look at your statements and receipts to figure out your average Christmas holiday expenses for the previous years, and work that amount – or less – into this year’s Christmas budget. – From 7 Smart Ways to Budget for Holiday Gifts.
If you have any gift ideas for Christmas on a budget, please let me know below!