51 Tips to Have a Frugal Christmas Without Going Broke

November 4, 2016

51 Tips to Have a Frugal Christmas Without Going Broke

This post may contain affiliate links.

Does the idea of a frugal Christmas conjure up visions of sitting by a barren tree with nothing to enjoy but your own company?

Or do you think having a cost-conscious Christmas is simply impossible because the holidays automatically mean throwing caution to the wind, dropping a lot of dough, and not worrying about how much you’ve spent until January?

Attempting to have a budget-friendly and frugal Christmas does not have to mean your holidays are bare, and having an enjoyable holiday season doesn’t mean you go have to broke.

If we’re mindful, we can have a frugal Christmas that’s enjoyable and full of everything the season is about.

Here are 51 tips to help you have a frugal Christmas.

  1. Put a limit on your total spending for the season and commit to sticking to it.
  2. Make a list of all anticipated spending and assign a dollar amount to each item.
  3. Save up your Christmas or holiday money in a savings account.
  4. Commit to a cash-only Christmas.
  5. Be open with friends and family about your decision to have a frugal Christmas.
  6. Be prepared to say “no” when needed.
  7. Manage your kids’ expectations by sharing what your budget is.
  8. Adopt a “shop for the kids only” rule with extended family.
  9. Give cookies or other baked goods and food items as presents.
  10. Provide a service or use a talent/skill/hobby as gifts.
  11. DIY your gifts. Try your hand at these gifts and tips. Additional DIY gift ideas can be found here.
  12. Do DIY Christmas decorations.
  13. Go faux with your Christmas Tree this year.
  14. Purchase holiday clothing at a consignment shop or thrift store, or try these inexpensive options.
  15. Have your kids use some of their own money for presents.
  16. Use Black Friday deal sites like Brad’s Deals, TheBlackFriday.com, and BFAds.net.
  17. Remember, not everything on sale on Black Friday is a true deal.
  18. Hang with family and forget Black Friday.
  19. Skip the gifts altogether this year *gasp* and consider doing a special meal or activity.
  20. Volunteer or give of your time as a gift.
  21. Do a themed gift swap with friends or family: books, kitchen items, winter items, etc.
  22. Set and agree to a dollar limit on all your gift exchanges.
  23. Have the kids participate in a Secret Santa exchange instead of buying gifts for everyone.
  24. Give from the heart and start a tradition of giving “Love Gifts.”
  25. Make and give your own coupons, redeemable for things like a night of babysitting, sleeping in, dinner, etc.

Related Reading
250+ Frugal Gift Ideas For Everyone on Your List
Surviving the Holidays Without Derailing Your Debt-Free Plan
3 Steps to Planning Your Christmas Spending
21 Affordable Holiday Fashion Finds


  1. Use the 4 Gift Rule for kids.
  2. Do your shopping with discounted gifts cards bought at a warehouse club.
  3. Find online and store discounts by using RetailMeNot, Coupon Cabin, and Coupon Sherpa.
  4. Use coupons when shopping for your holiday meal.
  5. Keep your non-holiday meals throughout the season low-cost by meal planning.
  6. Take advantage of your supermarket’s gift card promotions.
  7. Use cash-back and reward apps like SavingStarIbotta, Checkout 51, and Shopkick.
  8. Do a White Elephant or Yankee Swap with friends or extended family.
  9. Hold onto your receipts and check prices to take advantage of price adjustments.
  10. Reserve some of your clothes shopping for after Christmas when clothing is deeply discounted.
  11. Comparison shop before purchasing, and take advantage of price-matching policies or lowest price guarantees.
  12. Give gifts that meet a need.
  13. Ask for gifts that you need and that you would buy anyway.
  14. Sign up for stores’ email lists to get a discount.
  15. Download store apps for further discounts.
  16. Take advantage of free shipping promos.
  17. Consider buying used where you can.
  18. Use flash sale sites like One Kings Lane , Fab.com, and Zulily.
  19. Start off your online shopping on cash-back sites like Ebates and Swagbucks.
  20. Follow coupon sites like Living Rich with Coupons, Money Saving Mom, and Krazy Coupon Lady to find deals throughout the season.
  21. Browse Amazon’s Today’s Deals, Black Friday Deals, and Outlet Deals.
  22. Sign up for Amazon Prime’s free 30-day trial.
  23. Set aside money for unplanned miscellaneous expenses.
  24. Delay some gift requests for an upcoming birthday or another special occasion.
  25. Buy next year’s gift wrap during this year’s clearance sales.
  26. Remember what the holiday season is all about!

The last tip is the most important one! Remembering “the reason for the season” is the key to keeping it frugal. Getting and receiving stuff is fun, but it’s not what the holidays are all about—and at the end of the day it is just that—stuff.

Chances are you don’t remember all the “stuff” you received last year. Make this year’s holidays memorable by focusing on spending time with your friends and family, not scrambling to buy them more things.

If you’d like to receive frugal tips for saving money throughout the year, sign up for the weekly Hope+Cents newsletter and grab your free download of 51 Ways You Can Save Money Everyday.

What tips do you have for keeping the holidays frugal?