How To Buy Xmas Gifts – When You’re On a Tight Budget

I wrote recently about how to save for Christmas and how to plan for it all year round by having a monthly savings plan for your present buying.

Xmas gifts are of course only half the story when it comes to spending your Christmas money.

Christmas sees you spending much more on food, alcohol (perhaps), activities and Xmas decorations.

Budgeting for these items is essential and having those Christmas savings tucked away will help enormously when you start spending.

But, there is more that you can do to spread the cost of Christmas and indeed help you spend less.

Related posts:

How to have an amazing Christmas on a budget

The Perfectly Simple 12 Week Christmas Savings Plan

How To Buy Xmas Gifts When You’re On A Tight Budget

Buy Xmas Gifts In The After Christmas Sales

In many countries the new year sales start on Christmas Day itself.

I cannot bring myself to start sales shopping then and indeed am not convinced many of the sale items are a good deal anyway.

But if you know a year in advance (I know that could be a big ask) some of the gifts you want to buy then the sales are the place to get more for your money and reduce your overall spend.

My favorite sale is the Boots 70% off sale. It’s on my calendar every year and I am there waiting for the doors to open at 8am.

I have my list of people to buy for and my Boots loyalty card with extra point deals to maximize my reductions.

Related posts:

How To Do Christmas Cheap: Without Feeling Like Scrooge

What To Do When You Just Can’t Afford Christmas

use Store Bonus Cards

Many grocery stores operate saving bonus cards.

You can top these up throughout the year and on a certain date be rewarded with bonus money based on how much you have saved.

The Asda Walmart bonus card gives you an extra £6 if you have saved £144 on that card.

If you know you’ll spend that money in the store anyway then the bonus you receive is free money.

I use my Asda Walmart bonus card to pay for small Xmas gifts and my Christmas food shopping in December.

Related post: How To Start Saving Money: 7 Tricks You Can Easily Do

young girl in santa outfit standing on tip toes dressing the Christmas tree with presents around her

bag Credit Card Cash Back

You can earn cash back with some credit cards and over the year this can build up very nicely. My credit card gives me 1% cash back on my shopping and I can usually earn £80 over the year.

I save this cash back and use it for my shopping in December, making a big dent in the cost.

Save For Christmas Every Day

I have my separate savings account set up and my Christmas savings are transferred into it every month.

But I also save loose change every day in my piggy bank (actually this year it’s just an old biscuit tin). Every £1 coin I receive I save.

As I pay by card a fair amount this doesn’t add up to thousands over the year so I don’t miss the money I do save.

I can usually save £200 this way.

Related posts:

10 of the Best 52 Week Money Challenges For You

Sinking Funds For Beginners: What You Need To Know

Store Loyalty Points

We all have various store loyalty cards as they provide us with a few points that gives us money off or can be exchanged for items.

Saving up your loyalty points is a painless way of saving a few pounds as it’s not costing you anything at all.

Exchange your loyalty points in December for either Xmas gifts or a reduction in your spending.

white 3d Christmas tree with pine cones and gold ribbon

Book Popular Christmas Activities In Advance

Many families have traditional outings over the Christmas period. The pantomime is a favorite here in the UK.

But if you wait until December to book your pantomime tickets you’ll pay more than you need to.

Tickets go on sale 6 months or more in advance and the cheaper tickets tend to sell out by October. Book them early and save yourself some money.

Super Cheap Cards And Wrapping Paper

Stores are keen to get rid of everything Christmas related very quickly once the day itself has gone.

Paying full price for Christmas cards seems pointless to me when I know I can always buy them at least half price if not even more.

Buy your cards and wrapping paper in January and pop them in the loft until your need them.

Added bonus – buy nice wrap without Christmas motif’s and you have got yourself some cheap wrapping paper for birthdays and other occasions.

Related post: Save Money When You Always Buy These 9 Things After Christmas

pile of gold and silver wrapped christmas presents

Secret Re-gifting

Not everyone’s cup of tea but if you receive Xmas gifts from more distant relatives there can be a tendency for these to not be to your taste.

If having the ‘no presents’ conversation is not appropriate and you are receiving gifts you won’t use, why not re-gift them to someone who will gain enjoyment from them?

Alternatively these gifts can save you money by forming a contribution to school fete prizes and the like.

If I can’t re-gift or give away as a prize then I re-purpose these gifts as contributions to my local charity/thrift shop.

Flash Deals

Throughout the year stores often have great deals on certain items but only for a short while.

These deals never seem to coincide with your time line for Christmas buying i.e. November onward.

Make the most of these deals by buying in advance. Mr2p loves a bottle of JD for Christmas and his birthday.

If I waited until December to buy it I would have to pay full price. I NEVER pay full price for JD as it goes on sale enough times during the year.

I know it will be at its lowest price in October so always look out for it then and buy it when it hits that price.

Related post: 9 Things I Refuse To Buy This Christmas

red Christmas baubles and berries on white background

Use Mother Nature’s Best Xmas Gifts

Use foliage and greenery from the garden to decorate the house. Small branches of ivy and holly will give your living room a lovely Christmas feel for free.

Add in some pine cones for extra pizzazz.

Grow your own vegetables for Christmas.

We grow Charlotte potatoes every year, sown in September they are ready here in the UK for December. Perfect for a lighter potato option.

We also attempt purple sprouting broccoli every year but with mixed success.

Home grown carrots, brussel sprouts, swede/rutabaga all keep well into December and beyond and are perfect for serving up for your special Christmas Day meal.

We also have raspberry canes now and frozen raspberries made into an Eton mess pudding is a great alternative to Christmas pudding which I know many people find too heavy after a big meal.

Related post: 50 frugal habits that are also eco friendly

pile of blued wrapped christmas presents

Summer Deals

Many stores have clearance sales in the summer to make way for their new Christmas stock. You can get toys and clothes and other gifts for half price or less.

If buying Xmas gifts in January is too early for you then make the most of the summer sales.

You’ve got to start thinking about Christmas at some point!

Make Your Own

Not all of us are crafty so making your own Xmas presents to gift to someone can be very daunting.

But nowadays there are so many people who share their love of crafting and handmade gifts that provide easy to follow tutorials.

These posts will inspire you to make your own:

24 Easy Recycled Gift Ideas Your Family Will Love

11 Simple And Beautiful Homemade Food Gifts For Christmas

10 Best Homemade Gifts For Christmas – No Cooking Required!

red christmas star with cherries and berries on sage background

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

I can find super savings on small random items that are perfect stocking fillers.

DD2 always has toiletries in her stocking so when I find her favorite shower gel for just 33p I snap up a bottle, even if it is April!

All these tips will not only help you spread the cost of saving for Christmas but also save you money.

To go one step further, why not get your thinking cap on and come up with some ideas for Christmas gifts that you can make for free?

Here’s 5 fabulously free gifts to get your started.

PINterest image for buying Xmas gifts on a budget
PINterest image for buying Xmas gifts on a budget
Save for Christmas by spreading the cost throughout the year. Make your Christmas money go further with these money saving and budgeting tips Christmas shopping for gifts can be stressful so manage your money and budget for Christmas. #christmassavings #christmasshopping #xmasgifts #christmasmoney #savemoney #budgeting #christmasbudget

Last Updated on 3rd March 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

12 thoughts on “How To Buy Xmas Gifts – When You’re On a Tight Budget”

  1. I do love a bit of regifting! My granny was almost a pro at it, except when she gave what we got her back to us on our birthdays… But chocolate always goes down well!

    I love homemade Christmas gifts, I’m very lucky because my wife knits and she works hard getting everyone a knitted gift at Christmas while my tablet has become a sweet tooth staple every year. Takes time but saves a lot of money and people seem to like it!
    Good tip on JD I wonder what other spirits are cheap at that time of year?

    • Hi Flint, thanks for stopping by! I’m happy to re-gift where I can but always make sure I remember who bought it! I wish I could knit but have made chilli chocolate in the past and my skittles vodka was well received by the teens this year! Baileys is usually on offer around similar time as are many of the big brands. Never buy spirits at full price in December, there’s always a deal to be had!

        • I think that is good although not sure about the blistering bit! I made the same with chillis from our allotment and additional flakes and it was hot but not overly so. We don’t grow hectic chillis though!

  2. Thanks for Sharing some great tips. I always was a last minute shopper but last year I started early and it was a great feeling not to be rushing around. Most of the gifts I got for people were at discounted prices and nobody was no the wiser.

    • So much better not to have to rush around isn’t it? I’m not a fan of shopping from mid-November onward unless it’s at 9am so the more I’ve already bought pre-November the better. Well done on getting those discounted gifts – such a great feeling – more bank for your buck 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Grow your own vegetables << wow…you are my nutritious eating hero… i would love to get some vegetables for christmas…any day really… do you still buy your adult children christmas presents?? [full judgement.] 🙂

    • Hey, I still get Christmas presents from my parents! We do presents for all immediate family without fail hence the need to budget. And there’s nothing more tasty than your own veg for a special family meal. One day maybe you’ll love a vegetable or two 🙂

  4. Excellent tips. I love buying Christmas gifts well in advance – some years I am done buying before summer has come to an end, but we always have it done by October. Using store points or even credit card points can really help you save. We did that this year and it meant our Christmas spending was drastically reduced.

    • I’m so impressed you have Christmas done by summer’s end Sarah, that is amazing. When you plan it out and use those points it really does make such a difference to your spending doesn’t it? This year I have broken every rule in my frugal book and I am staring down the road at Christmas and I am not even half way through – eek! I shall be focusing on homemade gifts to try and remedy this situation fast!


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