How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How I saved 80% on Christmas gifts this year

Saving on quality Christmas gifts is a fun challenge for me every fall. And teaching others how to find similar deals is an even greater thrill. Here is the story of how I saved on Christmas gifts for 2014, with suggestions for anyone still shopping.

How I saved 80% on Christmas gifts this year

Save on Christmas Gifts

Be toy savvy

I found this awesome marble run at Mastermind and hoped to find it second hand. I wasn’t too confident that would be possible since it is a fairly new item. A general search on Kijiji for “marble run” revealed this exact one. It cleaned up perfectly and was just missing a few marbles.

Retail: Scholar’s Choice $44.99 + tax = $50.83

Paid: $10 on Kijiji

Tip: For missing instructions, look for online diagrams, printable instructions, or Youtube examples. Companies like K’nex also mail you out replacement booklets for a small fee.

q ba collage

Watch for Groupons

I wanted to buy a drill set for my mechanical 3-year-old, but couldn’t find a second-hand one. Did I give up and pay full retail price? Of course, I did…..don’t. I bought a few Scholar’s Choice Groupons for $15 to purchase $30 items. It was a bit of a splurge, but I know he will love it.

Retail: $34.99 + tax =$39.54

Paid: $15 for Groupon + $4.99 (amount over $30) + tax = $23.89

drill toy

Think outside the {toy} box

Non-toy items make great gifts too. For a quiet toddler play area, I found a small scale table and chairs. Bought this like-new option on Kijiji, ready for a big bow.

Retail $26.99 + tax = 30.50
Kijiji $10

ikea table

Shop brands you love

Radio Flyer makes quality products that are built-to-last. When I found this scooter online, I knew it would go quickly. The seller offered it to me for $10 because I was also buying another item from him. Gave it a quick wipe down, and it’s ready to go under the tree.

Retail:$48 + tax = $54.24
Kijiji: $10

Tip: Don’t always look for specific items on sites like Kijiji. Search your local area under the Toys and Games category. Scan for brands you love, like Radio Flyer, and ponder those items.

radio flyer scooter

Find wishlist items

But how do you save money on a specific item your child has requested? One of my boys adores Catch Phrase and puts it on his wishlist. I watched flyers and found it on sale at Toys R Us for $19.97. A few days later, my Hasbro cereal box coupon arrived in the mail. Combine the two deals? You know I did.

Hasbro collage

Retail $24.97 on sale $19.97
Paid: $0
Savings: 100%

Sidebar: I bought Rice Krispies – not Corn Pops…just saying.

Read reviews

I was hoping for a “new” (to us) building set for my little builder. I searched Kijiji until I found a great one made by Fisher-Price. It received solid online reviews so I snatched it up. I contacted Fisher-Price and they offered to send me a new instruction book – now that is customer service.

Retail: Estimate $29.99 + tax = $33.89
Paid: $10

trio blocks

Tip: If a building set is missing pieces, try contacting the company. Many companies will send free (or cheap) replacement parts even if you explain you are not the original owner.

Ask about promotions

Is it possible to get major reductions on clothing that will live up to a fashion-conscious teenager’s standards? Why yes it is. I regularly shop for the Aeropostale clearance rack and find amazing deals. This Christmas, I found many shirts that were reduced to $5.95 each. The store manager offered me a $5 coupon and said it could be used multiple times.

Retail: $19.20 x 5 + tax = $108.48
Paid: ($5.95-$5 coupon)= 95 cents x 5 + tax = $5.40

Tip: Ask salespeople about extra promotions. This $5 gift card was not advertised at all so I could have easily missed it.

Final tally

These items cost me $69.29. Without a deal finding, I could have spent $340.04, which is a savings of 80%. Merry Christmas to me.

great deal

Christmas shopping does not have to be expensive if you shop wisely and do research. Challenge yourself to find the best gifts for the best price. And use these tips to save significant money on gifts all year round.

What is your favorite way to save on Christmas gifts?


  1. carol

    I loved this blog! These are the most creative ways to save money at Christmas I have ever seen. Inspiring!

  2. Susan

    Bah ha ha! Love the line:

    Sidebar: I bought Rice Krispies – not Corn Pops…just saying.

    I was honestly thinking “Does anyone eat Corn Pops anymore?”

  3. Karen G

    Susan – I know, right? Just couldn’t find a pic of Rice Krispies with the Hasbro coupon 🙂

  4. Cynthia

    That’s amazing Cassie! Merry Christmas indeed! 🙂

  5. Jan

    Confused after reading the reply from Karen G. Who wrote this article Cassie or Karen G?

  6. Karen G

    I see why you are confused! We are working on updating the website so there is a spot to show who the author was each time. This one was by me (karen g). I write posts that come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Karen G

    Everyone: Glad you enjoyed these ideas! I know that 80% is a pretty lofty goal, but I was excited that it worked out this year. I see it as a challenge – the perfect gift for the perfect price….:) Merry Christmas

  8. Niki

    If only my kids didn’t LOVE Frozen… Everything was new for them. But I did use Facebook buy/sell groups to sell some toys, clothes etc we don’t use or need anymore and the funds from that were used to purchase Christmas gifts

  9. Karen Gauvreau

    Niki: That’s a great way to reduce the Christmas shopping bill too – raise the funds in advance. Good for you for fitting that in.

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