What to do when you Just can’t afford Christmas

If you have no money for Christmas then it can feel like the worst thing in the whole world.

It’s not!

Because of the hype that Christmas gets from September onwards you can end up worried about affording Christmas for months.

Not good.

Sure you can’t afford Christmas in the sense that the retailers would have you believe but you don’t need a lot of money for Christmas.

And you can survive Christmas with no money if you have to.

You certainly don’t want to be taking on debt in order to pay for this one day celebration.

Though in reality it often works out to be a 10 day celebration doesn’t it?

homemade pinecone people with felt feet and hats

What to do when you have No Money for Christmas

So many people make Christmas into a huge deal.

They spend thousands on their kids, on food and on decorating their house in the latest Christmas trend.

Ignore them, they’ve probably taken out a bunch of debt to afford all of that.

You’re being sensible, you know you have no money for Christmas so you are starting from that point.

Firstly, look again at your budget and see if there is any wriggle room in there to free up a little money.

If you do have some wriggle room then I’ve got lots of advice about how you can afford Christmas on a tight budget in these posts:

How To Do Christmas Cheap: Without Feeling Like Scrooge

How To Save For Christmas? 6 Easy Steps To Debt Free Festivities

Can you:

  • Cut back on your grocery bill
  • Eat cheaper foods, the list in this post will help
  • Drop any subscriptions you still have
  • Take a rain check on some of your usual budget items like clothes, eating out or travel costs
  • Make extra money?

If there is time between now and Christmas then look to see if you can earn some extra money.

Maybe you can take on a couple of shifts at your local store. Dog walk for neighbors. Sell some of your unused stuff on Ebay or Craigslist.

The Best Work From Home Jobs When You Need Flexibility

41 Awesome Hobbies That Can Make You Money Right Now

mock up images of smart savers festive money binder

You literally have no money for Christmas

Here’s the stark reality, you have no money for Christmas and nothing is going to change between now and the big day itself.

Don’t be thinking you need to cancel Christmas though.

Oh no, you might not have money but there is still so much you can do to create a magical time for your family.

The right mindset

To create a magical time even though you are too poor for Christmas you need ot have the right mindset.

A mindset of can do, not poor me.

Take your focus off what everyone else is doing and buying (they’re probably racking up some debt so really don’t be jealous).

Look at what you CAN do, not what you can’t

smiling child in Santa outfit


Decorate for free

Branches, boughs of pine, ivy and berries, pinecones and dried citrus slices are all extremely decorative at this time of year.

Create interesting centerpieces with pinecones and ivy strands.

Re-purpose existing items from other rooms.

Grab fairy lights from a child’s bedroom.

Move candles from the bathroom into your living room

Cut intricate snowflake patterns to adorn your windows

Make your own tree ornaments from anything! I’ve had old CDs, sticky notes and salt dough ornaments. This post will inspire you:

21 Creative Christmas Tree Ornaments

Find free Christmas printables on Pinterest to print out and decorate your walls

Free and Fun Christmas Printables

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

pinterest image for no money for Christmas

Create fun food memories without the cost

Save up your reward points between now and Christmas and use them to buy your Christmas dinner

Have a pudding as a starter

Insist on everyone drinking out of wine glasses (or plastic) even the kids

Decorate the table with a tablecloth (I’ve used a white bed sheet in the past)

Insist everyone tuck their napkins into their collars, even the adults, and pretend you are in an exclusive restaurant

Present meals in different ways. Serve all your food as separate tapas

Have a picnic in the house

christmas decorated fireplace to signify no money for Christmas

Find free things to do

Watch free Christmas movies

Listen to Christmas songs

Sing some Christmas carols

Have a family board game night

Play charades

Look up free Christmas events in your locality

Walk your neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights

Talk about your favorite memories of Christmas past

tray of reindeer shaped cookies

No money for Christmas gifts

Giving gifts without spending any money at all takes creative thinking.

Firstly you need to think hard about who you are going to give gifts for.

Given you have no money for Christmas, it makes sense for this to be the year you have those conversations with family members about not exchanging presents.

You’re all adults and they will understand when you explain how this year there cannot be any gifts.

Don’t let them brush off your discussion with one of those throw away comments:

“Oh we don’t need to spend much on each other, it’s the thought that counts”, or

“I’ve already bought yours so it would be nice to get something”.

Be honest with them, and if you have to be, be brutally honest.

Tell them that you have no money and you are NOT going to go into debt just to buy gifts that are not essential.

Don’t shy away from your truth.

mock up images of smart savers festive money binder

Talk to your children

Children understand more than you think.

Be honest with them about your financial situation.

Tell them there is no money for Christmas this year.

If your finances are going to change for the better in a few months then you can delay gifts until then.

Ask them what they would like that doesn’t cost money.

Kids are very creative, let them help you make a no spend Christmas special.

3 homemade brown cookie ornaments with white icing laid on a wooden background to signify no money for Christmas

No spend Christmas gifts

Gift your skills.

You don’t have to be an expert to offer up your skills as a gift.

We all have skills and experiences that can help people and be a wonderful gift.

As much because its about giving the gift of your time as much as your experience. How about:

  • Babysitting
  • Cooking a meal
  • Providing a home beauty treatment
  • Mowing their lawn
  • Fixing some home maintenance

You can extend these gifts to children as well.

A week without chores will go down a treat as would having a batch of their favorite cookies made exclusively for them.

An afternoon trip out somewhere free means quality time they will enjoy.

Make homemade gifts, ideally with things you already have.

This post has 20+ ideas for gifts using recycled items.

Make up gifts in a jar like some of the ones in these posts:

20 Gifts In A Mason Jar

10 Unique Gift in a Jar Ideas

Bake cookies and gift wrap them – you can freeze these up to 3 months ahead so no need to be rushing around in December

26 Freezable Christmas Cookie Recipes

65 Best Delicious Holiday Cookie Recipes

brown paper wrapped xmas gifts

How to survive Christmas with no money

You can make Christmas special without spending any money at all.

You need a positive mindset, a can do attitude and time to be creative.

Don’t wait to get your no spend Christmas started.

You CAN survive Christmas with no money and the time to start is now.

Prove to yourself that there are preparations you can make that are free and start ticking them off your to do list.

You might have no money for Christmas but that doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled, far from it.

How Do people afford Christmas on a tight budget?

You can afford Christmas on NO budget if you follow all the tips in this post.

Christmas doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

A tight budget just means you need to be more creative and more careful with the money you have.

What if you can’t afford Christmas presents?

You might not be able to afford to buy Christmas presents, but you can afford to give them.

Gift your time, your experience and give with love.

pinterest image for no money for Christmas
mock up images of smart savers festive money binder

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