If you have no money for Christmas then it can feel like the worst thing in the whole world.
Because of the hype that Christmas gets from September onwards you can end up worried about affording Christmas for months.
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?
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:
- 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.
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
HOW TO HAVE A NO SPEND CHRISTMAS
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:
Find free Christmas printables on Pinterest to print out and decorate your walls
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
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
Find free things to do
Watch free Christmas movies
Listen to Christmas songs
Sing some Christmas carols
Have a family board game night
Look up free Christmas events in your locality
Walk your neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights
Talk about your favorite memories of Christmas past
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
Make up gifts in a jar like some of the ones in these posts:
Bake cookies and gift wrap them – you can freeze these up to 3 months ahead so no need to be rushing around in December
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.