How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How we save money during Christmas

Saving money at Christmas.

Save Money During Christmas

Do you find Christmas to be the one big event that is financially stressful?

A lot of people will go out this year and buy lavish presents for their loved ones and put it all on credit. If only those people knew that with a bit of planning, you can have a happy holiday without all of the additional debt.

This is how we save money during the Christmas season:

Create a Christmas calendar

Having a Christmas Calendar helps to make sure that we get everything completed on time and that we stay on budget. Without this calendar every year, I would be lost. I would definitely forget something and then be scrambling to pick up the pieces at the last minute.

Buy gifts throughout the year

This is a big one. I am always looking for Christmas (and birthday) gifts all year round. By doing this, I can buy gifts when they go on sale and then just put them away until the big day. We have a yearly expenses chequing account at our bank and every month we put money into this account for things like Christmas, pet vaccines and other things that happen yearly.

That way when we see something on sale in March, we can get the money from this account to buy the item and then put it away until we need it.

Make homemade gifts

We started doing this 2 years ago and our families still talk about the gifts we made them, so I would say that homemade gifts are a huge hit around here! Not only are they thoughtful, but they are usually pretty inexpensive as well. We normally make baked goods like cookies and squares and then use pretty packaging to wrap them up.

Set a budget

We have a certain amount for Christmas gifts every year and we have to stick to that number. Once we’ve spent all that we budgeted – that’s it! If we want to get something else for someone, we have to get it with other money. That could be from our allowances or by cashing in some Swagbucks for Amazon gift certificates.

No gifts for each other

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that we would only buy each other gifts on our birthdays. If we want to give each other something on our anniversary, Christmas, etc. – that money has to come out of our allowances. I’ve found that this saves us a lot of money every year and it also makes the birthday gifts that much more special.

Use an artificial tree

As much as I love the smell of a real tree, cleaning up those needles all the time would drive me nuts. That, and I would rather spend $200 or so on an artificial tree that I can keep for years than spend $40-$50 on a real tree every single year.

Stock up on baking supplies

I always take advantage of the sales on baking supplies in November and December. I buy as much as I need to last me about a year, since this is when baking supplies are the cheapest. Doing this saves us cash on the things that we use all year round, but only go on sale for such low prices around Christmas time.

How do you save money during the Christmas season?


  1. Barbara

    I keep trying to get a nice fake tree, but my boyfriend insists on buying a real one every year! Last year our tree was $75! I hate cleaning those needles too.

  2. Tiffany

    Me and my husband don’t buy for each other either.Its just easier and A LOT cheaper!

  3. Cassie Howard

    tiffany – agreed, it is so much cheaper!

    barbara – it took awhile for me to convince my hubs to get a fake one too, but once i did there was no turning back!

  4. Ashley

    I definitely agree about shopping throughout the year! I’m always on the lookout for Christmas/Birthday gifts. I also try to have all my shopping done by December 1st so I can avoid the craziness of shopping malls! Lol.

  5. Theresa

    We have had the same tree for a few years now. My husband likes it because he says it brings beck memories of the kids being little(they are still little, just bigger little). We live near a really popular Christmas tree farm, and I know they charge $55 for a tree!! Can’t justify spending $55 for something that gets thrown away. My husband gets an attendance bonus every December that comes in(after BRUTAL taxes)at around $600. That is used for gifts. We buy for the kids and a couple small things for each other. We did the no gifts for each other for about 9 years, and my husband finally confessed that it made him depressed. I am fine with it really because we get what we need and want all year. He works at a car plant here in Ontario that shuts down for 10 days over Christmas. I work shifts then because he is home. That saves money because I do not have to pay someone to watch the kids. We do pretty well, and don’t go into added debt. Which is good, because January to April really stink!!! 🙂

  6. Tiffany

    One thing that we have always joked about which we want to do but can’t because of family but move Xmas a later date, sometime after boxing day LOL

  7. Cassie Howard

    oh yah, moving christmas a bit later would be a great idea! i have always thought about doing that. it’s hard when you have like 5 houses to go to on christmas day, it’s so much easier if you space them out!

  8. How to Shop for FREE at

    I’m so thrilled to say that Swagbucks, survey sites, and some other online money makers will be paying for most of our Christmas expenses this year! I’ve also been very disciplined the past few years about using only one rewards credit card and paying it off in January when the bill comes in. Besides Christmas, we’ve got 2 kids with December birthdays so spending can easily get out of control if we don’t stay focused on the budget. I used to do homemade gifts but can’t seem to find the time or inspiration anymore.

  9. Mrs. Shopper

    I buy gifts throughout the year. Use some of the P & G samples for men for one of my sons and brother-in-law and they love the razors, etc. I go to my local second hand store where they sell lots of second hand Christmas items (profits go to the food bank) and I use some of these items to make Christmas gifts. It’s fun to give gifts and see the smile on people face after they open the gift! I look for turkey and other meal items on sale too! Bulk Barn is a great place to go to find ingredients for cookies, cakes, etc and they usually have $$$- off coupons. Merry Christmas!

  10. Cassie Howard

    i love the bulk barn!!

    and i give away lots of my sample items as gifts as well. package them up all pretty and people love it!

  11. cstoesz

    For the kids we buy “something they want, something they need, something to play, and something to read” and that gives me a good guideline for buying gifts early. My husband and I decided that the kids will buy mom & dad 1 present so we each take the kids one day to let them choose (with guidance). Our other gatherings we have cobvunced to do tickets so I’m not buying for everyone and then I will give my samples away in those gifts. Plus i also find a good sale at bath & body works to stock up on soaps for giving away.

  12. Melissa

    We actually found the opposite true for Christmas trees, we always got the $25 trees from Lowe’s because at that price, it would take us 8 years to break even if we bought a $200 fake tree. Plus Lowe’s gives you a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of $100 when you buy during a certain time in December (I think it’s the second week) which then in turn goes to any minor home renos we need done in the new year.. this year it’s a new toilet, woo!

    The tree can then be chopped up for firewood, mulch or compost after the holidays. 🙂

    As for presents, everyone has mostly received home made gifts from us for the past few years, cookies and candy and the like. I also run an Etsy shop so I make a lot of our gifts, but it’s mostly like jewelry and scrap booking stuff so it doesn’t always appeal to the men-types. So this year we’re trying something new, everyone in the family tosses their name into a hat and we each draw one name, then buy for just that person. Not sure about a budget yet, but $100 seems like a nice round number, and spending only $100 this Christmas makes me a happy panda. 🙂

    Of course we don’t have kids yet so it might not work for every family.

  13. Kris

    I did the 52 week money challenge this year. Obviously I’ll be Christmas shopping before the 52 weeks are up, but it’s still a really nice amount that was painless to save up. This year, I won’t be starting the first week of January so that I have the full amount saved by this time next year.
    I also buy things throughout the year when I find great deals.
    And I’ll be shopping the Samko & Miko Toy Sale in Ottawa this week.
    For the friends that we normally buy for, this year we’re doing Plan Canada charity gifts in their name: just $17 buys baby chicks!

    • Catherine

      Where and when is the toy sale in Ottawa?My brother has 3 kids under 9 this would really help them out!!

  14. amy

    I make most of our gifts. Some years its been family calenders. They are take a lot work gathering pictures of family members (lots of funny older pictures have surfaced) and adding in new birthdays and anniversaries and then customizing them to each family. It is well worth it.

    This year I started Amy’s Artistic Stitching page on facebook. That means everyone is getting handmade stitched gifts.

    I also am the family gluten free baker. Lots of cookies and goodies to go around to four households. Plus I make bean soup mix for all.

  15. Louise

    ikea usually has real trees for 20$, as does home depot – I would be depressed if we got a fake tree. I don’t mind having a smaller tree as long as it is real. We do pjs for the family on Christmas eve, old navy often has a great sales on pjs for the whole family in early december. We have been slowly building up our decorations and other holiday entertaining suff by buying a few things each year after they go on clerance. I also started a tradition of making cloth gift bags about 10 years ago, after a few years we have enough shapes & sizes to have all the gifts wrapped in sustainable wrapping that costs next to nothing (buy holiday fabric on sale for next year). We have not bought wrapping paper, ribbon, or bows for years. I also make gift tags from the fronts of last year’s cards (if there is no writing on that back). It seems like a small thing but wrapping can be expensive & ours looks so impressive, even after years. My husband and I usually pick something we need and buy it (on sale) then wrap it up.

  16. greeneyesgreen

    I do shop for Christmas gifts early starting in January but there are always things to purchase in December……we have a budget every year but there are times when we do over by a little…..I cut gift tags from Christmas cards, family have asked where I get such beautiful tags and when I tell them, they are amazed!!!!

  17. Nancy Uren

    We have a family of three living together, so our budget is very tight. I am a widow at 59:( My daughter 33, & brother 69, ( both have disabilities) live with me. We use The Dave Ramsey envelope method & love it. But, we never started a Christmas one, which makes it hard. First, we have a hugh tree my daughter had in college & is beautiful. We add lots of lights!!!! Gifts are things we need & can’t usually afford…bed pillows, a new can opener, pots & pans, towels ect. We just signed 2nd yr. lease on aptmnt., so my daughter & I have not yet “themed or finished ” our roms. My brothers is all baseball & we hope to get him a lamp this year:) Add in bunches of toiletries to last few months, socks ect. For others…usually baked goods..Grandma gets a inspirational prayer book (she loves), her puppies get treats.. Simple , easy , thoughtful. Friends, they get prayers. ( most important gifts) The real reason of the season SHOULD BE PRIORITY!!!! Oh, & we own no credit cards!!!! Cash or nothing~~~

  18. EllenMarie

    I have 5 children from 10 yo to adult ones who are married- and a nephew who is like my son, so I call him my 6th kid! So I have to be more creative.

    I buy throughout the year esp after holidays like Christmas, Valentines(lots of red stuff and heart things and love things- bought beautiful mirrored candle holders in red glass and mirrored silver glass for 3.00!),Mother’s day and Easter( whole art sets for .99, nice baskets for kid’s gifts and morning after breakfast baskets with mugs for .10 ea or spa baskets with holiday scent shampoos, lotions for .10!).Target used to have the best clearances- not as much anymore but still ok.

    Then I also use my credit card rewards to fund my Christmas. I use cc to pay for all my expenses and groceries- I am disciplined to pay it off in full every month so I don’t pay any interest or fees. Then I cash in those points to get the majority of my gifts- usually I get gift cards to give or pay for items like Foot Locker shoes for my son(like gifts I can do double duty like but school shoes that he needs and wants).

    I can also ” buy” on amazon with those points. I try to do my gifts as free as possible!

  19. Reesa Mac

    I love swag bucks, I use it to fund a lot of my Christmas purchases online. I also use my points rewards towards gift and buy everything on sale. Shopping early is the key to saving.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*